October 14, 2012

"Social or Successful? Yes, You Are"

Remember "back in the day" when you met business peers and connections through the good old fashioned general membership meeting?  How about when your business contacts learned about you through face to face conversation or hearsay? Extended contact? Emails and never changing websites. Our marketing universe has gone supernova in making an impression and extending a relationship through the online world. In fact, the world is alot smaller these days.
Today's guest blogger, known as "The Visionary Diva," is Dianne D. Beaton from New Hampshire. Dianne is opening another path towards becoming a building industry sales professional, a path that if learned and applied correctly, can give you, your product and your company a powerful marketing arsenal.

Dianne D. Beaton
"Social or Successful? Yes, You Are"

                         by Dianne D. Beaton, CGA, CAPS
                              2DiFore Marketing Solutions

Are you just “fitting in” your social media strategy or do you have a plan?

Social media….. You’ve heard about it, but you may not really understand how it works. You probably participate on Twitter and Facebook, but what about some of the others like Google+? Oh no…now, Pinterest? What’s a company to do? 

First of all calm down. You don't have to be on every social media platform. In fact, one of the worst things you can do for your company’s brand is to join a new platform and then give up on it because, either you don’t have the time or your message goes out to the wrong audience.
Look at each of the social media platforms, what they have to offer, and then decide if they will work for you. Do you want your customers to comment or engage in discussion? Then Twitter and Facebook might be the best avenues for you to pursue. Does your business have a niche? Technology seems to flock to Google+ while those businesses that rely on visuals and graphics seem to be doing well with Pinterest
Understand your audience and then use that information to target your message by only joining social networking sites that are relevant and natural for your organization’s message. When you start participating in social media, understand that your goal is to become a valued member of the community. Embrace the culture, jump in, and start sharing, communicating and giving your audience constant value. 

Whichever platform you decide to use, bone up on the platform’s protocol, for example, Twitter uses 140 characters per message – make them count and don’t just cut up a longer message and send it out as separate tweets. Nothing, and I mean nothing, makes you look more like the awkward elephant in the playground than acting like one
Familiarize yourself with each of the platforms – enough that you get a good grasp of the lingo used and its landscape and culture. There are enough free e-books written on each of the platforms to help you understand how they work.
Next, take a look at what your competition is doing in these social media spaces. Where are they hanging out? What are they using each platform for (publication, promotion, conversation)? You can get a quick sense of what's working for them by paying attention to where they spend their time and effort.
Lastly, be clear about your social media goals. Not to be zen on you, but if you want to participate in social media, then you have to participate in social media. A tweet once or twice a day announcing a new blog post is not engaging in social media. A tweet on a new blog post, followed by a question, followed by pointers to additional information, followed by replies to any responses you may get – now that’s engaging in social media. You should establish set times and frequencies for your social media. You shouldn’t be spending your entire day responding to various posts, but you should be checking in on a regular basis and your customers should get the impression that you are actively engaged in the conversation. 

It’s not about you
Social media is like any other networking exercise.  You have to go into it saying, "What can I contribute?" rather than, "What can I get?"  If your social media strategy, either personally or as a company, is just about spamming your message outward, it will not be effective.  However, if you use social media as a way to listen to your customers, market, and respond in a helpful way, then you can positively impact your personal and professional brand in a way that will benefit your customers and get you noticed.

If you have any suggestions for articles in the future, or you would like to be a guest blogger, click on my name below and contact me. Posts must somehow be relevant to our NAHB membership and not a commercial for your product or service. 

Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP  
NAHB 2nd Vice Chairman Membership Committee
Past NAHB Associate Members Committee Chairman
Past NAHB National Associate Chairman 
(click here) NAHB Advocacy - The Passion of an Industry podcast

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