Social Media For Corporates : Part One
Social Media is a headache for most corporates and digital media executives for many reasons. One of course being sometimes the people at the top know nothing about social media and still hope to control how it is run. Hiring a competent driver and barking orders from the back left yet you have no idea how to drive so to speak.
If you are one such person, press ALT+F4 to learn something magical about social media.
In a nutshell, that will just close the browser because you have nothing to learn here anyway.
Moving on swiftly.
For a while now, people have been approaching me to give them insight on how to use social media to boost their businesses and for the longest time, my answer has been simple. No.
And people hate being told no. People have no problem with the letter N and the letter O. They appear in the word ON and no one gets bothered by that word. However, there is something about those two letters when said in the N,O order that generates a begging urge in most humans.
So they kept pushing...
And pushing more....
And pushing even more....
And finally, I have bowed to pressure and I have decided to put it out there. I dont want to be stalked. I may want to be stalked for looks (slim chance here) or money (even slimmer chance there) but I dont want to be stalked for information.
This I should most possibly be charging an arm and a leg for but I will give it out for free in an array of ten posts. If you feel the deep urge to pay me, please note that I do not accept body parts as a form of payment so please keep your arm and leg to yourself.
Lets begin ...
First of all, I am not a social media expert. I am VERY FAR from one. Whenever I say this, most people point out that I have over 140,000 fans on facebook and over 14,000 followers on twitter. Believe me, that hardly makes me an expert no more than being a pastor assures you entry to heaven. It just makes me the guy who knows just a little bit more than most people where use of social media is concerned.
I have been studying internet marketing since 2004 (Kibaki was still popular then, Justin Beiber had not grown any boobs yet and Hague was just a spot on the map) and the one thing I have learnt is, NO ONE is an expert in matters internet. There are no actual experts in this field, less so in Social Media. What works today possibly will fail tomorrow. What works with product A may very well be a disaster for product B. These tutorials are thus a skeleton. You will need to learn more and figure out how to fill up the skeleton to make your business be a force to reckon with online.
Social Media For Corporates :: Part One - Get down to the basics
You may be shocked but you already know how to handle Social Media for your business for up to about 75% of what you think I will tell you. I know, that is a good thing to hear. Its actually not such a good thing sometimes as you will learn in later posts but for now that is more than sufficient.
If you have a functioning facebook, twitter, linkedin or 4square account, then you are technically well equipped to handle social media for your business. The only thing you lack might actually be the realization that you know how to do it.
May be you are asking what am talking about (or totally lost and which again can be explained by pressing ALT+F4) but let me explain. Look carefully at these three scenarios.
1) A lady in a skimpy mini skirt entering a church an hour late with her stilletos echoing all through the archways. Everyone stares and almost immediately disapproves.
2) A person entering a club in a pastor's collar and saying bless you to any person who stares. Everyone will obviously stand and stare.
3) A 50 year old man sitting in a kindergaten class coloring away at shapes. The children will most possibly think it is a joke, or he is a madman.
Based on the three scenarios above, you can pinpoint the basics of soceity. And because you can, you obviously know how society operates because you are part of it. The rules of engagement in society are mainly unwritten and you are expected to know them by default. However the moment you break them, society will shun you.
Society has different rules for different places. The rules are accepted and followed. Those who follow them blend in and those who dont look outright weird. And that right there is the main main reason that makes social media such a headache for corporate entities is actually just that. Being corporate - plain and simple. Being serious or as I like to call it, being up-tight.
Looking out of place generates more negative reactions than positive, and there is hardly any positives to be generated from any of the three scenarioes above if you ask me. In the same respect, you need to remember the basic idea behind social media.
Social media is created primarily for people to connect with old friends and family, and make new friends while sharing experiences with them.
When you decide to take your business to Social Media it has to fit into one of these sections otherwise failure will be your only outcome. It has to look the part, act the part and play the part.
You are a part of the society and you are a social media user and that is all the knowledge you need to make your business gain headway online. The basics can be summarized in three simple points
A) Social media has the word social for a reason.
Social media is actually a social gathering.
Different social gatherings have different dress codes and different attendees. Weddings and workshops are very different just like twitter and facebook are. You need to dress your business up to fit the gathering you are going to. Learn how people communicate there. If anything, you already know this if you are a user of these networks.
You obviously realize there is nothing as boring as a timeline or facebook page full of corporate rhetoric. You are forgetting the basic reason why people go to social media.
To get AWAY from work.
Trying to talk business makes you look like those hawkers who sell their wares in Kenyan bars. You need to be very clever about how you go about it and I'll be sharing this in coming posts.
B) Make your business human.
This is by far the most important. Make your business as close to a human being as possible in terms of attitude and responses to people. This is fairly simple to implement. It is basically what you do in social media yourself. Say good morning to people, laugh at jokes, retweet other people's tweets, like people's status messages and follow people who interest you.
Give advice on your area of expertise free of charge and respond to people's questions whenever you can even if you may not have been directly asked. It will make people like your business as they would a person. You will create a lasting connection with people who will automatically become your sales people. They will recommend your business the instance anyone asks for services they know you can offer or goods they know you can supply.
C) Maintain your professionalism
When I say shed the corporate lingo and manner of doing things online, I did not say behave like a mad person. Remember, human beings will judge you very quickly and very harshly if you cross the line.
This therefore means you can have fun while still maintaining your corporate image. Avoid getting into online controversies, arguments and negative engagements. At the same time, participate in healthy conversations and discussions to further deepen your connections with the users of social media. It is also important to use good English or Kiswahili in your posts.
If you mispell a word or use bad grammar, people will wonder whether your services are equally sloppy, thus be very careful.
As you can clearly see, you are already very well equipped to handle Social Media in a corporate environment. But now, how do you get returns from it that justify everything? Watch this space for part two.