Current Trend: Should my businesses be using social media?
There has been much talk around, particularly online about whether businesses
should or should not be participating in so called social media. As PR
professionals we advise our clients on whether it is appropriate for them to
make it a big part of the PR mix.
For businesses who are trying to reach a younger audience then the answer for
them is an overwhelming yes but many of them just don't know where to start.
The first step is to separate the private and business arena. Too many business
people launch themselves into Facebook, Twitter and others with a very
'personal' approach. Sometimes this is way too personal and includes things like
family photographs and other personal information that they don't want to share
with the outside world.
A much better way to approach social media for business is just like any other
business communication tool, with a friendly but business-like approach. A
business should set up a Facebook page and Twitter handle using the business
persona rather than including photographs of themselves at a friend's party on
Social media can be a really powerful tool for reaching particularly a young
audience but beware. These 'digital natives' can smell a lack of authenticity at
20 paces. There's no point in making false or misleading claims, they'll only
sniff you out. And forget about the 'hard sell' what people are looking for is
useful information that benefits them in some way.
It's much better to provide helpful information and advice and always, always
tell them who you are and who you represent.
Take consumer electronics retailer Dick Smith on Twitter
for example, they look for people complaining about Dick Smith on Twitter and
approach them to help solve their problem. Not only are they providing a unique
and positive customer experience, they are doing it in a very visible way where
the person who complained about the problem is just as likely to tell their
followers how happy they are when the problem is fixed.
Social media is particularly important for high profile brand names like
retailers because they can intercept potential problems before they hit the
The best part about social media is that it's an ever changing environment and
there are no hard and fast rules.
Go for it.
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