You've heard the hype about social media for years now. Everyone is
talking about it, and companies of all sizes are launching blogs and
Facebook pages, and joining Twitter. You've heard enough and are ready
to take the plunge into the social media waters.
But there's one question left to answer; How do you know that social media is right for YOUR business?
Unfortunately, this is the question that many businesses aren't asking before they decide to start their blog or join Twitter. So what's the best way for the average business to decide if they should be using social media? The logical first step is to start monitoring what your current and potential customers are saying NOW, and track WHERE they are saying it
Launching a blog might seem like a great idea, but what if none of your customers are reading blogs? That Facebook fan page might seem like a no-brainer, unless all your customers are instead on Twitter.
But by doing some very simple monitoring, you can get a very good idea of what your customers are saying online, and where they are saying it. Free tools like Technorati
, Google Blog Search
, and Twitter Search
will let you track relevant business and industry terms to track what is being said via social media channels.
Once you have an idea of what your customers (or potential customers) are saying via social media tools/sites, then you will have a MUCH better idea of whether or not you should be using these tools to connect with them. Again, if your current and potential customers are actively using a certain social media site/tool to discuss your business and/or industry, then you should probably be using that site/tool as well.
Monitoring lets you find out where the social media conversations are happening, and then you can decide if you should be using social media in the same way that your customers are. But please don't blindly buy into the hype about social media. It is NOT right for EVERY business, and avoid anyone that tries to sell you on the idea that every business should be using social media. These people aren't interested in seeing you use social media, they are interested in you hiring them to launch a social media project for you that you may or may not need. Just like in school homework helps, do yours, and you'll be in good shape.
One final word; if you decide that you do need to hire a social media consultant or agency to help you, please promise me that you insist on having them TEACH you how to use the tools that they will be implementing. If you are going to hire someone to create a blog for you, make sure that they are also willing to train you on how to properly blog, how to build community on your blog with your readers, and how to use the blog as a tool to raise awareness and build your business. I offer social media training
as part of or separately from larger consulting projects, as do several SEG authors, such as Jennifer Laycock
and Beth Harte
Social media isn't right for every business, but it may just be right for yours. Do your homework beforehand by monitoring social media conversations, and you'll be ahead of the game.
January 11, 2009
Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.
His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post, MSNBC.com, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.
Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.
You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.
Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.