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I need to briefly explain the difference between social media and social networking as the terms are most commonly used. Social networking is what takes place when you share, collaborate and have discussions with people in your online community. It's the human one-to-one interaction that takes place in a digital world. Social media on the other hand, is both the broadcast medium that you used and the strategy that the company uses to build their brand and get their message out.
The difference between the two is important because when it comes to participating in your company's social media efforts you want to be sure that you are reinforcing its goals and objectives. Personally I believe all employees should participate as much as possible in their company's social media campaign, it adds a more human personal element to it. However, you will need to research your company's policy regarding social media. Some companies limit social media interaction to just a few people and some are very protective about how much you can say or do.
With that in mind, I would like to share with you a few basic do's and don'ts when it comes to participating in social media. First, the do's, number one make it about the customer. In other words give first, use social media to find out what your customers and your connections want. You want to use social media to get to know them to promote them and their successes and the things that they love. By keeping the conversation about them, they will actually be more interested in your company.
Number two is provide value. Provide links, videos, stories and pictures that your target market will find meaningful if you need some ideas, consider the three ha's principle I discussed in an earlier video, people enjoy things that are either enlightening or a ha heartwarming haa or humorous ha ha. Number three respond quickly when people say good things about your company respond quickly and thank them, when people say bad things about your company respond quickly and apologize or work to make it right, doing this will show people who are not your customers yet that you care.
now three don'ts first do not hide a few companies do not believe the social media is necessary or it is a fad, also some companies are afraid of putting themselves out in the public forum of social media hoping to avoid a public display of negative feedback. Understand that people will talk about your company in the public forum whether you like it or not. However if you control the venue where that conversation takes place, you can keep the conversation positive and helpful even in tough situations.
So, participate, be a part of social media and embrace it. Number two do not hard sell this is trying to push people into making decisions quickly in a very public setting. No one likes the pressure of feeling that they are being sold to, particularly when others are watching. Social media is like a stage where you are having a conversation in front of everyone else. If you offer helpful suggestions, rather than push for action you will be perceived by the social media audience as a hero rather than a villain.
And finally, do not spam. Spam has traditionally referred to sending people unsolicited e-mail constantly, it's taken on a different meaning now with social media, often you'll see people blanket various social media sites with their links in an effort to entice people into clicking. Even if your intentions are honorable randomly plastering links everywhere will get you in trouble on many social sites and may give you a reputation as someone who is trying to take advantage of others.
Following your company policy and these simple do's and don'ts will help you have greater success using social media to connect with your customers.
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