Yes, the title to this post is ridiculously long. But, I really wanted to be clear about what I planned on writing about and some gaps in knowledge that I’m observing in business owners as I look for opportunities to collaborate with businesses virtually.
The first thing that I’ve noticed is that business owners are still struggling to understand the role of social media and how it impacts their business. The consumption market is changing and that change is accelerating-not slowing down. Whether you own a large business or smaller business, or a multi-national company social media will touch your business’s life sooner or later.
You may be reviewed on a site that aggregates responses by number of stars and collects comments such as the site Yelp.com. You may decide to offer coupons via Groupon.com or LivingSocialDeals.com and people may have a positive or negative experience with your service or good and leave a comment…somewhere.
People talk about word of mouth as the way to grow their business and that they don’t have to be concerned with social media. I would say the following:
Social Media is Word of Mouth x100
Let’s be very clear. Social media is the way that people are engaging with one another, with brands/travel locations/and entities.
Why then do businesses not understand this? Why are they deferring to their teenage children to craft their business’s voice or looking for people to work for free for 15 hours a week creating the voice of their business.
Why are relatively young business owners (I’m thinking under 60) disconnected from how these tools work?
It doesn’t make sense.
People are abandoning malls, Amazon.com’s numbers are growing by leaps and bounds, and Cyber Monday is huge. The writing is on the wall whether we like it or not.
I’m not asking business owners to know how to use every social media tool. That would be exhausting and unnecessary. I am making the point that people need to familiarize themselves with the big 6 of these tools (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube.com, and Twitter). Then, work with someone skilled in crafting messaging on the behalf of businesses and work with them on one of the most important things that you can do:
Craft your business’s voice AND drive the conversation about your business.
When you look for teenagers, free help, and pay as little as possible for the service you are undermining the opportunity for people to connect with your brand.
Here are some wonderful examples of social engagement and brand awareness.
- Every time Target launches a new collaboration with a big named designer they launch a fantastic series of commercials, and other types of engagement. I actually wait with baited breath for each roll out. Currently, Lily Pulitzer is collaborating with Target and I can’t wait to see what the collection looks like.
- Perrier-Yes, it’s bottled water! But, I love it. I routinely share the videos that they share on their Facebook site and share it on my Facebook page.
- Victoria’s Secret-They are unstoppable. Vicky’s has millions, and I mean, millions of followers on all of their social media feeds. They are so popular that they have a 1 hour television extravaganza once a year watched by millions.
The thing is, all three of these companies have had negative press. Target had the credit card breach, Perrier bottles aren’t exactly great for the environment, and Victoria’s Secret could be considered size-est. In fact, Lane Bryant started a campaign that capitalized on the perception that Victoria’s Secret celebrates unrealistic body images.
Despite all of those issues, these companies are still very much in charge of their company’s voice. So, when you consider the role of social media-remember that commerce has already changed. Start the conversation concerning your brand. Don’t let someone else craft it.
Place value on the role of social media and its role in your business. You might not like it, understand it, or want to deal with it…but, it’s here to stay. Control your message.
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