Enterprise Social Media > How Businesses can use Social Media

How businesses can harness the power of this new social media machine is a hot topic and many businesses want in on the action.

This post has two parts. The first is what people far smarter than I have to say about business and social media. The second part is my thoughts.

smsketch_easter_edition_09 (by birgerking)

This is a collection of great posts revolving around the idea of how an enterprise can use Social Media properly. “EnterpriseSocialMedia” is the tag on delicious. I have been saving these under this tag  for a while.

As almost every one of my clients has expressed interest in using Social Media, I thought it may provide some meaning. This list of links will dynamically update as I add bookmarks.

Social-Media-Campaign (by Gary Hayes)

I probably can’t add much to the collective wisdom in all those links but here is my two cents about Social Media…

These tools for interaction, collaboration and sharing of content of all types, collectively called “Social Media”, can be a powerful way to disseminate information and connect with real people.

Reasons companies fail with Social Media

  • Not understanding the tools – they hop onto a network without understanding it and immediately become spammers. The goal of social media is not just pushing content at an audience, but actively engaging them in meaningful conversation.
  • Exerting little effort and expecting results – social media has been thought of as an easy solution that takes very little attention. Not so! In order for it to be effective you MUST care about your customers and listen and engage them.
  • Not taking it seriously –  by this I mean they are excited for a while but a person is never assigned the responsibility of being the community manager. Assign responsibility and set a schedule, making time for engaging.
  • It’s all about us – no it’s not, sorry. It is ALL about the consumer / customer / user / fan / audience. You need to provide value to them. Ask yourself why would they want to interact with your brand?

What value am I going to get by joining your Facebook group or following your Twitter talking about Bran Cereal?

Social Media isn’t for every business.

Some just don’t have the right audience or the right product that could benefit from these new tools.Social Media ROI (by Intersection Consulting)

Best ways to use Social Media

  • Lend me your ears… – Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all great ways you can be reachable to your customers. If they have a complaint, tip or experience to share, you want to make it very easy for them to grab your ear.
  • Reputation and good will – this is your chance to join in the conversation happening about you. You can also use it to help to form opinion about you. So often, all people know of a brand is a product and never see the culture or character of the company behind it.
  • Make them famous – if you have raving fans of what you do, give them some love. Highlight what awesome things they are doing and how they are making their life better. If people have stories or history around your product, share that. People like to see other people. It is a social proof thing but also it helps us relate.
  • Share – make it easy for customers to spread your content and links to your products.Have  “Email this” links of course but also “share on Facebook” or “share on Twitter.”

Well those are a few quick thoughts off the top of my head. This field has such opportunity that I wish more companies would wake up to how this can help them out!

Be real and human. That is the #1 rule.

5 Ways to Cultivate an Active Social Network (by Intersection Consulting)

Companies doing it right

  • Comcast Cares – Comcast guy who helps customers with their problems.
  • SouthWest Airlines – blog, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn… they are on board all over.
  • BBGeeks.com – a “non-big-brand” that gets Twitter/
  • Despair – makers of the great “demotivational” posters. They do a great job with letting their personality show.
  • YourMusicLesson – heard this guy at PodCamp3 and he is using social media really well to engage his audience.

I have to also say that the guy who understands all this best is Chris Brogan. Check out his blog for great insight into this world.

So how are you using Social Media?

When do you hate how companies are (mis)using these networks?

In what Social Media interactions with companies have you found value?

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