I almost hate to start another multipart post after the last epic series, but social media has my attention these days. Everybody has become a marketer! Companies that have no business being “social” have become social and many niche technology companies who should be a little social are definitely anti-social. A recent Huffington Post article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dov-seidman/are-you-a-social-media-na_b_3351946.html) titled “Are You a Social Media Narcissist?” made some great observations for individuals that companies should also keep in mind.
First, let me state that I am not a social media expert, I am an electrical engineer by training, a profession sometimes considered the opposite of social, but after over 15 years managing sales and marketing groups, I have picked up a few social skills. Along the way, it became clear how afraid niche tech companies were of “conversation.” Sure, a press release here, a seminar series there, then webinars, then a website redesign or two with white papers, but rarely a conversation. The Huffington Post article above summarized some of the reasons well: it’s exhausting, transparent, and not controllable. However, if social media is used creatively as part of a multi-faceted strategy, it can help improve your visibility, stature, and success in your market area.
This series will be about simple social media tools, but context is important. Social media does not replace the basics of good sales and marketing. The needs of key accounts should still be met by appropriate “personal” interactions such as face to face meetings, teleconferences, etc.. Larger groups of customers with similar interests can be addressed through webinars. A good website with a webstore can reach prospective new accounts and streamline certain types of purchases. Seminars and users’ group meetings can also play an important role in developing a community. You get the idea. So social media is a bit of a different beast allowing a third type of interaction, customer to customer. This may be a frightening thought to some companies, but the payoffs can be significant. The next part of this series will begin to introduce a few tools that will help you start this process in a safe, low risk environment.