Being Bruce -: Business Social Media Tip #1 - Why?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Business Social Media Tip #1 - Why?

Just like in life, if you're using social media for your business, it's always a good idea to look for The Big Why.

Simply put, if you know for sure the reasons you will use social media for the benefit of your business and you start from and make all decisions based on that perspective, your time, effort, and possibly money (if you pay someone else to actually "do" your social media setup and updates) will be better spent. Your results and satisfaction will be higher if your business social media presence is directed to a specific purpose.

There are some great reasons not to utilize social media for your business:

- Everyone else is using it so must be you should, too. Not.
- You like to shout out to your friends so social media is a great way to do it, even in a business context. Not.
- As long as you publish anything, even the mundane activities of your day (like standing in line for coffee), you're better off and people will pay attention. Not.
- Social media is a great way to sell stuff. Totally Not.
- You can put in links to your website all over the place and people will go there. Not.
- You can put down your competitors or just generally share your negative view of the world. Obviously Not.
- Just put links to news stories or other websites and people will want to know more about you and your business. Not.
- It's a good way to pass the time during the workday. Ouch. Not.

Okay, with those distasteful negatives out of the way, here are some good reasons to use social media to promote and support your business:
- To personalize your company by communicating a human side in your posts. (Marketing)
- To present yourself as an expert in your field by commenting on or participating in conversations about relevant topics and news. (Marketing)
- To engage in conversations with present and potential customers and clients. (Marketing)
- To promote others. (Marketing and P.R.)
- To track what people are saying about you and your business. (Quality control.)
- To track what your competitors are doing. (Competitive Intelligence.)
- To start a buzz and conversation about new product releases, events, or developments (if kept to a minimum ratio). (Marketing & P.R.)
- To find ways to help others. (Call it Marketing & P.R.)
- For inspiration. (Marketing and Research)
- To extend your brand. (Marketing and P.R.)
- To engage others in conversation as part of your community (with the implied but indirect opportunity to gain new clients or customers). Prospecting.

Your business needs will vary, but it's a great idea to get started today with social media if you haven't already. There is a learning curve so until you know how or why you will use social media for your business, it's a good idea to start with a personal account just to gain familiarity, comfort, and possibly mastery of the media. For best effect, don't launch your business social media presence until you have identified your Big Why.