So, as a little twist I just have to do an occasional theme that I try to simplify. Today I’m doing social media. I’ve written this geared mostly to businesses, because it occurred to me that as authors we really are the CEOs of our own businesses. Social media is crucial part of the picture, and while some of us may not like it very much we might be able to use it in ways that are less annoying. So even though some of these points look like they are strictly for businesses, you can modify them to fit your own needs.
What makes social media so great?
There are actually quite a few things. Social media is one of the technologies truly born of today’s world. It excels in ease of use, efficiency, and networking. Sharing is the lifeblood of social media, so any social media company that wants to be around for the long haul needs to ensure their platform is able to easily share across multiple social media platforms. Social media also allows people to engage with others they normally could not, or would not.
Some companies may believe that they have the complete social media solution, but that’s not what social media is all about. People appreciate the ability to choose whatever platform they feel like using at the time. Certain platforms also lend themselves better to specific things. You obviously aren’t going to try to blog on Instagram because that platform is all about what a picture can say to your network. Companies can’t afford to be elitist about their own social media platforms. As soon as they forget to include options for Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit or any others, customers will not stick around. At this time there really is not a one-size-fits-all social media platform. Even if that occurs in the future, not everyone is going to like it and use it, so that company would still need to acknowledge the existence of other social media companies.
Social media in its purest form is about community
We share things with those who think like us, or who share common goals and interests. How amazing that with something so simple, relationships across the world can be forged. People no longer seem so far away, and we can no longer generalize in the same way we did before the internet and social media. Our followers and those we follow may be comprised of multiple cultures, religions, economic backgrounds, and differing work and educational experiences.
Social media for businesses, entrepreneurs and authors.
From a business perspective social media should be the tool used to create a fanbase, and to provide relevant and superior customer service. It seems that many companies use it solely for sales pitching, but if you have followers, they’re already interested in your product or service. If you want customers to keep following and spread the word, you have to have something of more value. You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions.
- What is unique about the business?
- Is there anything unique about your customer base, or how the business treats customers?
- What need does your product or service fill, and are you creating a community around those needs?
- Does your social media platform make sense for the type of business you have?
- Do you need just one social media account, or additional types for the strongest customer service impact?
In order to use social media to its full extent, businesses will need to pay more attention to their customers (statistics are not tremendously helpful here but can provide some value) and think beyond just the business. Anyone can set up automated tweets to spam followers with the latest sale or newest product launch. That’s not exciting, and occasionally so infrequent that social media ceases to be effective except as an outlet for angry customers.
Social media can be the next greatest thing for a business, or a useless tool that frustrates existing customers and repels potential ones. Social media is obviously here to stay, and if businesses do not properly harness it they may as well not bother with it at all. Social media is all about community and each social media account should try to engage with that community. I’m going to go against the grain here and say that it’s less about numbers and more about people.
Social media for the win!