The world is submerged in a sea of useless crap. Messaging of all sorts are streaming constantly to our desktops, filling our inboxes with junk and distracting us from doing what is important. Social Media is now contributing to this barrage of useless and even useful noise online today. Sure you can elect to simply turn off all these services but did you know hidden deep in the shadows are nuggets of knowledge, gems of corporate intelligence and scores of ideas your business can use right now. Maybe someone is saying something about your business online right now, can you hear it? How does the average person filter out the wheat from the chaff?
It is no secret, social media is simply full of crap. However mixed in the shameless self promoters, status updates, and useless tweets, there is a diamond in the rough just waiting for you. What can your small business professionals, sales executives or even your Director of Marketing do to help find that critical white paper, sales article or news report that is masked amongst all this online noise? Maybe it is even a satisfied client leaving a review online even worse, a client who just had a bad experience.
You must start by determining what strategies you can employ in your business right now. Strategies which will enable your business to leverage social media and decrease your frustration and confusion because of this unnecessary noise. Strategy is essential, plus filtering out the noise is crucial. In Chris Anderson’s “The Long Tail” he shares insight on the importance of filters when it comes to finding information in our globally connected world and abundance of products and services available. This same filtering strategy will allow your business to communicate online using all the social media technologies but where do you start?
- Change your focus – Social Media is not just for your Sales and Marketing department nor is it a swear word in our modern business culture. Social Media effects all parts of your business including public relations, corporate communications, marketing and sales, business development, product support, technical services and any other area of your business where communications either internally or externally occur.
- Who is responsible – Who is responsible for your overall corporate communication strategy? Which people in your business will manage what? Who will determine the message? Who will respond? There are many questions to ask yourselves. Social Media touches everyone in the business, is your business communication strategy in place to support your efforts? In short, who owns it!
- What services – After everything else is in place then you can determine which services you want to employ. Do your customers monitor your Twitter feed? Are they reading a blog? Would they join your fan page? Many of today’s communications occur across the five mainstream social media services. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and of course blogs. Determining which of these services fits best into your overall corporate communication strategy is the first step.
- Monitoring – Who own your social media activity? We will respond when your business, products or services are mentioned in the online community? Who will react to competitive focuses online? How does your business respond to emergencies? Who is responsible for the proactive monitoring? With the right team, people and monitoring tools, you will be able to keep on top of your brand and company reputation without eating up all your cycles. Can you hear what is said, especially when everyone is speaking through a megaphone?
- Time – The last critical component is time. How much time do you spend online? Looking in from the outside and observing the volume of chatter happening with social media is enough to scare off the well seasoned communication professional. Without effective strategies in place, you will eat up your entire work day and get nothing done. There are tools available to help manage the volume and help you hear what you need too.