Social media is here to stay. It’s a fact of life. Gone are the naysayers that insisted that it was a passing fad. Social networking is now the new business network and it’s thriving! Consider this: Facebook represents one of the biggest social networks connecting people to people, people to brands and business to business. Let’s not forget to mention Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or LinkedIn, offering the same social networking possibilities. As of January 2015, the digital usage worldwide had increased exponentially.
Social networking isn’t just about dressing for the part, it’s about ‘owning it’.
Over 2 billion people on the planet are active on social media. Individuals, brands and businesses should now recognize the increasing importance of social networking and getting found – at the right time and at the right place.
But it’s not just about being there and getting found. Having an active digital footprint is imperative. As such, the importance of a brand’s or business’ social media footprint needs follow suit. Not only do brands and businesses need to have a considerable social media footprint in order to participate and be relevant within the customer journey, they need to walk the talk, which means they need to own it.
Owning the social networking for your brand or business translates into the following:
Establishing the objectives for social networking: Like any business networking opportunity, you need to define your measurement of success before heading to the event. Is it to meet new people so they know your business, target a potential client or provide an avenue to secure a follow-up meeting?
Developing a cohesive content strategy: How are you going to introduce yourself? How are you going deliver what you want to say? It’s necessary to prepare your content with flexibility based on whom you are speaking to. Create a protocol for dealing with different scenarios – even the negative ones. These could involve possible ‘faux pas’ made on the brand’s behalf or a community member with a complaint and the inevitability of just dealing with rude people (they exist in the digital space as well as the physical space).
Knowing your audience: Don’t show up in jeans when everyone else is in a suit. It’s good to stand apart, but as a business or brand, the need to stand apart is very much tied into relevancy and perception. Building credibility on their terms is key.
Following up: If you are going to take the time to embrace social networking, you need to be responsive. There is no use reaching out if you’re not going to follow up. Establish a process with a set guidelines about when and how to respond. Be sure to also include guidelines for the tone and style of responses in order to maintain consistency.
Social networking is here to stay and it will become (if it isn’t already), a considerable venue to achieve business and brand targets. Control how your business or brand is perceived in this space by making sure that every aspect of the ‘meet’ is reviewed carefully. Dress appropriately, have confidence and walk the talk!