If you're sick of hearing about social networking, "tweets" and "friending", we understand (read our idiot's guide to social media). If you think it's just a gimmick that doesn't apply to your business, you may be right. Like any tool, social networking has to be appropriate. Done wrong, it's a waste of time that makes your business look unprofessional and out of date. Done right, it's an amazing (and free) way to connect with your customers.
Stay in contact with your customers
Social networking is an invaluable 'soft contact' option. It's for all the people who aren't interested in what you're selling right now, and for the customers who might come back next year. For our own business, using Twitter and LinkedIn is a way to stay in touch with our customers (and potential customers), so that when they - or someone they know - needs our service, they remember who we are. And it's easy for people to pass our content onto new audiences by 're-tweeting' with Twitter or submitting to bookmarking sites like Digg and StumbleUpon.
Project your personality and approach
Updating social media accounts or your blog is also a way to be more personal and natural with your customers. Whatever you sell, people buy from people and sales decisions are emotional as well as practical. Buying is not just about price or features, but also your approach, your values, what makes you tick, and your personality. A quick 'Tweet', status update or blog entry is less formal than a press release or case study. It's real, and your customers will respond to that.
The most important factors for social media content are to be interesting, useful and real. If you're just going to mention client wins and new employees, people probably won't be interested. But talk about how you solved a particular problem, a recommended resource, or free tips that your customers can really use, and people have a reason to keep reading. It's just like a sales meeting where the presentation sets the tone, but it's the conversation afterwards that makes your new client decide to use you.
Save your time
Time is often the problem with social media, and it can actually be more harmful to have a "latest news" headline that's a year old, or a Twitter account that hasn't been updated for months. We can make updating social media very quick and very easy. If you've got changing news, blog entries, events or even products, we can create a raw data feed using the RSS standard. Your customers can subscribe to an RSS feed in email applications like Outlook or online tools like Google Reader. And more importantly, you can link this RSS feed to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and a number of other social media services.
This means if you just update your blog, events, news or other content regularly, your social media accounts will be automatically updated at the same time. With no effort from you.
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