Social Media is something we are all hearing about more and more each day. You see
examples of it everywhere from Sears and Target to Ford and your family members who
want to follow you. Or perhaps you want to follow them! you know keeping track of
those teenagers….. Or ……
We are going to start off with an of example of social media that you are probably very
familiar with. It is YouTube.
You Tube is a web site that host’s videos of varying duration. Here is a short 4 minute
one that really demonstrates where Social Media is going and how it is effecting our lives
currently and what may be in store for the future.
After watching the previous short video how many of you feel like this? Where did this
come from? What are we supposed to be doing with it? Why is everyone talking about
it? What is Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, Blogs, ????? Who is Mark Zuckerberg
and why is 60 Minutes interviewing him? Perhaps you just figured out that Google is a
search engine the same type of tool a Bing or Yahoo? For crying out loud if I hear SEO
one more time I am gonna scream!
With all the hype, conversations, media coverage, it can be very overwhelming and
But what really is Social Media?
Lets take a look at several definitions
Mashable, a blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and Social Media news. They recently
did a survey of their readers asking what their definition of Social Media was. Here are
the top 10.
When I used Google to search for Definitions of Social Media I get even more. Again I am
only showing the first 10.
Ok – Now that you are totally inundated with small print and gobbly gook words – what
does all this say to you?
10 Minutes Of Audience Interaction
Personally I like the one created by Lon Safko. He wrote in the Social Media Bible:
Refers to activities, practices, and behaviors among communities of people
who gather on line to share information, knowledge, and opinions using
Conversation media are Web Based applications that make it possible to
create and easily transmit content in the form of words, pictures, videos and
What do you think of this definition? Does this make the concept more clear? More
Perhaps the more applicable question is
And why Do I care? What does this mean to me?
Well you might care because you want to increase or maintain your customers. The best
way I can explain the purpose and intent of Social Media is to get you to think back, for
those of you who may remember, to the days when customer service was something we
all desired and longed for but the culture was more centered around the thoughts that
“we should be happy with this wonderful product – your neighbor is why aren’t you”.
This video on You Tube demonstrates the exact message
The new Paradigm of customer relationships is all about relationships – real, honest,
straightforward, relationships! We the customer now have the power and means to have
our voices, desires, intents known to the manufacturers, developers, and owners of
businesses, products, services! That means your customers are out there talking about
your product or service. Now what are they saying? Are you listening? Do you want to
listen? Do you want to be heard? How are you communicating with your customers?
So what does this all boil down to?
A major motivator for any company or person for that matter is money. According to an article
in Gigaom, another widely read blog, a Social Media Measurement firm names Syncapse, a social
media measurement firm, the Average customer is worth about $136.38 to the seller.
Ok so lets think about that. For those that have a business fan page on Facebook how many
followers do you have? Now multiple that number by $136…. What do you get? Now lets say
that in your business is very competitive and say you only get half that amount…. Still a pretty
nice figure on the balance sheet? And what cost went into it? You time and learning curve. No
print campaigns, no direct mail campaigns, no radio air time, ….. I think you get the possibilities
In a recently published White Paper article by Coremetrics
•67% of Twitter users who become followers
of a brand are more likely to buy that brand’s
• 60% of Facebook users who become a fan
of a brand are more likely to recommend that
brand to a friend
• 74% of consumers are influenced on buying
decisions by fellow socializers after soliciting
input via social media
Now take that $136 and add in these parameters and what happens to your bottom line?
Social Media Examiner, which is another blog site devoted to discussing Social Media,
highlighted a report by R2Integrated which pointed out that ……
One major finding was that those who responded that their company had profited or
increased revenues using social media were almost twice as likely to have a formal
social media strategy.
While the whole concept can seem overwhelming, it is not as bad as it might at first
seem. In the process of creating a new business we sit down and figure out what the
marketing plan is. Who we are going to sell to, where those people are, how we are
going to reach them, etc… A Social Media Strategy is just a different piece of that
Just keep in mind that everyone is new to these tools and the learning curve is LARGE.
So take your time, figure out what you want to accomplish, then play with the tools to
figure out which one will help you with your goals, then create a strategy around that
one tool, then after that one is up and running start on another…. One step at a time….
There are a LARGE variety of tools you can use to reach and converse with your
customers. All of these sites are free to set up and maintain. And those shown here are
only a small portion of what is available. Each of them has a ready audience for you to
develop relationships with. Each of them have their own culture, purpose for being, and
advantages for the both the business and person.
As business owners you simply need to determine which or how many sites will be best
for you communicate with your intended audience. The best companies do this by
figuring out how they can add value to the community at large. Find your voice and your
audience will find you.
Are you ready to play? Are you willing to have a real conversations? How are you going
to relate to the unhappy customer? Can you spread the word about how great your
product / service is?
Are you ready to fly?
Lets now take a look at how some companies are using three of the major players in
Social Media. Perhaps their examples might give you some ideas as to how the Social
Media Tools could help you connect with your customers. They might offer you
interesting and beneficial ideas. Perhaps you will find some links or ideas for your own
Bunger Steel is a local business that uses Video on their site showing potential
customers what they can do for them, before the customer has even contacted them.
Basically their own commercial on their website. Much cheaper than TV advertising.
Steel Master is on Face Book, Twitter, Flicker & You Tube. They have over 5000 fans
(people who follow what they post) on Facebook. 5000 people are interested in Trivia
contests, information about steel vs tornadoes, and posting of job openings! And that is
just on Facebook.
Who here is in a manufacturing business? What about this Facebook Page do you find of
interest? How might something about the information or the way they connect with
their customer base help you in your business?
Idea Paint has the coolest website I have ever seen. They make a product that changes
any surface into a whiteboard. They use their website to demonstrate that in a way that
is very engaging and WOWs the potential customer. They also use Face Book & Twitter.
They have over 2000 followers (fans) on Twitter and use the tool for helping customers,
taking complaints, showing examples of local usage of their product.
What do you think of this website?
Has anyone ever heard of Lane Bryant? Did anyone hear about their viral commercial?
Lane Bryant has huge leap in their customer reach in viral video. This was basically by
accident. The big news companies refused to air Lane Bryant’s lingerie commercial
stating it was too sexy for prime time. This of course was great for Lane Bryant and they
posted it on You Tube, got some press over the issue and so every had to go see it. Over
3 MILLION views of that commercial. You can imagine what that has done for the brand
and products of Lane Bryant!.
Ford is another good example how using social media can help turn a company around.
We all remember the old saying “Ford = Fix Or Repair Daily”.
Well there aren’t too many people saying that now. With the internal company structure
& culture being revamped to create a better product they have used their customers to
help them accomplish that and to spread the word about the change. The overall
opinion of Ford now is very favorable due to a number of things – their use of social
media being one of the tools they used effectively
You notice on this site they use Flcker – A Photography tool, to show their products
You Tube with videos of how to use the features of the vehicle
And a Live Twitter Feed of conversations with customers
First A Disclaimer. You have to have a Face Book Profile / Page to look at any PRIVATE
Face Book Information!
What this means is that if you don’t have a page you will only be able to see those
commercial business pages such as Target, that are public.
Lets take a look at some details about how you might want to set up your Facebook Fan
Here is an example of Target’s Facebook page. Notice down on the left corner how many
“fans” they have. You will also notice that they offer special deals, and tools for their
They have also set up video on Facebook. Here Target puts a Tab on their page and adds
their own videos / commercials. They have also set up an area for their customers to
post their own videos. Now I am sure they have security settings so that the customer
videos' must be approved before they are posted to the actual page.
Here is an example of a very interactive competition that gets their customers involved
and engaged not only with Target but with the WHOLE Country!
There are lot of applications you can use for your Facebook page, like the ones that
Target uses, and many others.
Market Place / Store Front
Sign up forms
Please NOTE – the customer has to allow the application for them to see the store
fronts! For any of these types of views, what are called applications (or programs) inside
of Facebook the customer has to ALLOW the application for them to be able to see in
this case the store front.
The Animal Rescue site has a great example of a store front inside of Facebook. Keep in
mind this store front is in ADDITION to their website
Once you have a fan page set up this is the location where you can make changes to the
settings for different things.
Wall Settings – this is where you can change what your fans see as the first thing when
they come to your page.
Mobile – this is where you can set up your smart phone to link to your fan page so you
can update the page when you are away from the office.
As you can see there are a lot more settings you an change / adjust. This is also where
you can send a mass update to fans and a few other things such as how many people are
looking at your page.
Now lets move on to Linked In.
It is a great tool and has an entirely different culture that Facebook. It is much more
business like and conservative. It was originally known for it’s ability to connect you with
others in your work place and to make connections to other companies. It is now used
for more than just networking to find a job.
10 Ways to Use LinkedIn by Guy Kawasaki
1. Increase your visibility.
2. Improve your connect ability.
3. Improve your Google PageRank.
4. Enhance your search engine results.
5. Perform blind, 'reverse,' and company reference checks.
6. Increase the relevancy of your job search.
7. Make your interview go smoother.
8. Gauge the health of a company.
9. Gauge the health of an industry.
10. Track startups.
11. Ask for advice.
It is especially good for those individuals who have a hard time connecting with others.
Making comments on Fan Pages in Facebook or writing a blog can be very intimidating
to some people. Linked In offers a great way around that initial trepidation – that feeling
of who wants to listen to me. There is a great area called “Answer questions”. You can
post a question of your own or answer someone else's question. So you might just scan
the questions to see if you can help someone with an issue they are having or just post
You can go into the Advanced Answers Search and see what is being discussed about
your interest or business.
If you go to Answer Questions you can see the open questions and peruse them
according to industry if you want.
Interacting within the Q & A Forums also helps to move your profile up in the search
engines – not just within Linked In but also in the Web Searches like Google --
Another aspect of Linked In is Company Searches. Lets say you need some financing. You
are ready to go the traditional route and start with a major bank.
When I bring up Bank of America one of the first things you notice is some of the
employees who are on Linked In and how closely I am connected to them. You will
notice it actually tells me who I know that knows this person. I could then reach out to
the person I know and email them to find out the connection and If they would be
willing to introduce me to them or perhaps I am just shopping so I ask some probing
questions. It will also show the new hires & former employees. All of this of course helps
me to decide if I want to pursue this further and if so who in the company might be a
good fit for me.
Another feature of Linked In is Groups.
Groups is a good way to publish information about your organization or to keep track of
an organization. This is also a good way to keep in touch with a particular industry or
group. They are basically conversation forums.
It seems that Twitter is one of those tools that you either love or hate. I am not a huge
fan of it but obviously a lot of people are.
To me Twitter is like being in a crowded bar / party. There are lots of conversations going
on and most of them no one seems to be listening to & at the same time everyone is
trying very hard to be HEARD. Then you hear something, from across the room or in the
corner next to you that peaks your interest. You then zoom in on that conversation and
you are now a part of a very enjoyable evening…. And perhaps you might even get a
follow up out of it….
Twitter is in my opinion a very SHORT version of Facebook without all the bells and
whistles. Kind of like an ADHD version. You know really fast and short…. The purpose is
generally the same, being building relationships & interacting with people.
As with all the SM tools there is a Help Center to get you started in the basics.
The corporate pages you follow on twitter are usually an update about the company and
the events that are happening.
When you follow a person it can be anything from what was for breakfast to a great
article they want to share.
A lot of companies and people use twitter to “listen” to conversations that are
happening all over.
Dell Computers did this very well and have earned a good reputation and some great
loyalty from their customer base.