Social Media is an ever evolving tool for business. Keeping up can be challenging but not as challenging as not participating at all. Are you using social media as part of your business plan? If you are then you know how much work it can be. The work it takes to engage your clients socially is absolutely worth it if you do it right and are consistent, responsive and playing in the right arena for your target audience. If you aren’t using social media, why not? If you are looking for a good place to find and engage with prospects, overlooking social sites is a big mistake. Here are some of the top reasons NOT to pass up social media as a business tool and some do’s and don’t s when using it.
There are some people on twitter who are animation power users. Every Tweet and blog that get published include fun little snippets of animation that skyrocket their commentary and catch the eye of everyone in cyberspace who follows. It’s a tactic that gets much attention and draws readers to follow, share and comment on. If you’ve wondered how they insert those humorous and poignant animated snippets, wonder no more!
GIF’s are a relatively new feature on Twitter for 2016 that most assuredly catches the attention of many. To some, these have always just been a picture file type that have their use in certain situations but mostly get ignored. Not anymore.
Now, whenever you’re composing a Tweet or Direct Message, you can search and browse the GIF library. If you’re looking for the perfect OMG or funny dance move to express exactly how you feel, just click the new GIF button. You can then search by keyword, or categories of reactions or whatever is appropriate. The returned grouping leaves nothing out and gives you many options that will give your tweets the perfect touch. If you have been looking for a new way to reach out and engage with your followers or attract new ones this is a great update that you should try out.
In the world of science, a Flashpoint is the lowest temperature at which a given liquid will ignite. There are two basic types of flash point measurements: open cup and closed cup. In open cup devices the sample is contained in an open cup which is heated, and at intervals a flame is brought over the surface. In closed cup testers the samples are in the cups which are sealed with a lid through which the ignition source can be introduced.
In social media a Flashpoint can be considered the point at which your follower engagement takes off. What is the catalyst that you can employ to drive engagement? Video? Graphics? SME interviews? Podcasts? What medium are you using to get people talking? Is it working? Have you compared yourself to your competitors and what are they doing better than you? Perhaps you should add another resource to your social arsenal such as this relatively new posting feature on LinkedIn. Content is key as @RyanHanley_com will tell you any day of the week. What you need to then ask yourself is: are you measuring engagement or randomly pushing out material? Do you actually know what your Flashpoint is? If not, why? If you don’t have one, be bold and brave and try something new because success comes through failure.
Social media is probably a bit second nature to me at this point. I have managed it for a long time in relation to its inception and introduction to the great internet. One of the things I like most about it is that there is a lot of freedom in connecting with people and engaging new followers. The options of what you can share are limited seemingly only by your imagination. With some creativity, willing participants and moderate effort you can create amazing and compelling collateral that will be shared, re-tweeted, commented on and liked by many. Everyone wants you to share their information from vendors, partners and colleagues which keeps your asset vault chock full. As with any endeavor we take on there are the basics we must adhere to that are rooted to those lessons we learned back on the swingset at recess.
Always try to make new friends. Having moved many times in my life, I heard this often which may have contributed to my outgoing nature. There are a few basic rules learned back in elementary school that can guide our online interactions as we are share material and try to shout above the loudest voice on the internet. In your effort to be a thought leader in the pool of knowledge that keeps getting more and more crowded you must always be on the lookout for who you aren’t reaching. What groups can you reach out to and how? When would be the best time / day to connect and what nuggets of knowledge are the right ones to cast into the pool to gain the attention of those you seek to make a connection with. This is something that should always be top of mind.
You have to share. Give to get which simply translates to the basic fact that in order to have others share your material, you must be willing to share theirs just as often. No one likes the used car salesman who is obviously only interested in getting in your pocketbook but the guy who doesn’t hover, answers the questions you ask of him and takes you for as many test drives that you want is usually the guy who gets the business. WHY? Because it isn’t all about him. Share and you will get noticed.
No one likes a potty mouth. Period. Be professional and courteous in every word you write and take great care to read what you share. What you share is a reflection of you regardless of whether or not you actually wrote the words. This is not rocket science but the principals and guidelines are important. Follow the basics and you can achieve great things.
I read recently that one celebrity is leaving social media because of some epically mean comments and rants she read about herself all having to do with body image. Why people do things like this is beyond me. Public figure or not she is human and has feelings. Since when does what you look like have anything to do with your ability to sing and entertain. What are we saying to future generations? We are setting a crazy standard and why? Because we don’t want to look at or listen to someone who isn’t Barbie-like? Terrible at best and a conversation for another time. I find her decision sad but understandable. As a celebrity the backlash one can encounter can be fierce and cutting. Of course no one wants to be the brunt of this kind of attention because it spreads like a virus and just brings you down. Gossiping is nothing new. It has gone on for ages and sometimes we know about it, sometimes we don’t. The fact is that it isn’t always in our faces.
Social media on the other hand drives the gossip right to our front door and drops it off. We are engaged socially for a ridiculous number of hours each day. It’s on our computers, TV’s, phones & tablets. Being a public figure or organization harnessing the power of social media to engage with our respective audiences, means monitoring these spaces. It is our responsibility to ensure brand reputation and know what is being conveyed by the public that we serve to the rest of the world. Using social media means we will see it all: the good, the bad and the really ugly and irrelevant. Being in tune means we must know the difference between what needs a response and what can be ignored. It does not mean you must indulge the mean people who revel in nonsense or focus on irrelevant issues just to stir the pot or to try and steal your business. They negative Nellies looking for attention. It is one thing when someone complains about a product for a valid reason or bad customer service or even a bad concert for that matter. Those are relevant concerns and should be addressed because they are the concerns that keep the lights on and may in fact, when left unaddressed, put you out of business. These are the fights that need fighting.
When bullies and gossipers attack us in life we can address them, disassociate with them or both. We protect ourselves which is a natural instinct. When cyber bullies begin spreading poison in our arenas it is is in our face like it or not. The beauty of it being in our social media arena is that we can block and unfollow, taking it out of our line of sight and our audience’s. This does not mean we shut out all the negative comments. Those, when handled properly, actually become a testament to who we really are. The nonsense however, we don’t have to put up with. There is no need to unplug, hang our heads and disappear since that abandons the 99% of the rest of our public who support and engage with us. Disappearing sends wrong messages and can ultimately be fatal.
Everything may not always be perfect but life isn’t perfect and neither are we as people, public figures and organizations. We live in a world where we make mistakes and decisions daily. We take actions that have positive and negative effects on our next set of decisions and actions. This is called engagement. It means being a leader and understanding and addressing what needs to be addressed and discarding what doesn’t. You can’t control everything but you can and should control your world, your pages, your website and your brand. You have a choice.