I know we’ve discussed social media tools like Twitter here before. We’ve even got a blog post on intermediate tweeting from our Director of Viral Marketing, Josh Tauber, in this month’s issue of The Wprogram.
But the more I think about it, I realize there is a lot more to say!
While the meaning and implications of Web 2.0 have been discussed at length, and some will even say the mere mention of the term is cause to be tarred and feathered, the business world is only beginning to harness the power of social media – and some brands are reluctant to harness it at all.
I’m not sure they get it.
I know many of us reading this may scoff. ‘What do you mean,’ you may say, ‘I’ve been tweeting since 2004?’ and I get that. But you are tech-savvy. And while some who follow business trends may argue social media has entered the mainstream of corporate communications, there are corporate giants who have yet to take advantage of all that social media has to offer, and others still who missed the boat on claiming their brand name on influential sites like Twitter (brands like Coke, for example).
The brands who fear the transparency (read: accountability) that social media tools like Twitter bring to the party are living in a simpler and far more private time. In a market where competition is fierce and communication is a commodity, consumers require more information than they have in the past. If brands are lazy about building relationships or less than forthcoming, their reputation will likely suffer, with their profit margin next in line.
But I won’t be banging down any doors to convince anyone otherwise.
In 2009 when transparency is the name of the game, anyone who refuses to take part is shooting themselves in the foot. In the meantime, brands who understand are out there getting naked and taking advantage of new opportunities to improve their bottom line.
Want proof that social media is valuable? Need an example of how transparency can open new doors for your business, maybe even help sales? No problem. I’ve got four. Read on.
1 – Twitter Makes It Easy To Identify Partnership Opportunities (And Act on Them)
Since becoming active on Twitter, I’ve quickly discovered that 15-20 minutes per day spent on the site tweeting, reading tweets of people I follow, or (my favorite) searching Twitter for research purposes can translate into huge benefits. In just a few weeks, I’ve connected with key influencers in my industry with considerably less effort than it would take to send an email, make a (cold) call, ask for a referral, or attend an industry event. Smart tweeting has expanded my professional network exponentially and made it unbelievably easy to get in touch with fellow bloggers and industry experts to forge mutually beneficial partnerships.
2 – Transparency Paves the Way for Potential Customers to Find You
If you’ve read our blog, worked with Wpromote, or become acquainted with me in some other capacity, you probably know I’m a woman who wears many hats – copywriter, online marketer, filmmaker, DJ, and activist – and makes no effort to hide this fact. While such candor may have been professionally risky in the past, authenticity is what matters in the present, and being transparent can lead to valuable connections when you manage your interactions to reflect the way you want to be seen. Being open about my identity personally and professionally has created opportunities for those two worlds to merge: personal contacts have become prospective Wpromote clients and coworkers have become lifelong friends.
3 – Social Media (Done Well) Leads to Better Exposure and Hotter Prospects
We’re not saying you can sign-up for a Facebook profile, pretend to be Joe Shmoe, and invite people to taste test your new product that tastes like Coke but with half the calories. We can almost guarantee this will not work. What we are saying is that social media executed in a savvy way can bring pre-qualified prospects directly to your door, which is precisely what happened when one of the members of Wpromote’s SEO team showed her friends our vlog channel on YouTube. They watched a candid interview with a key member of our company, were taken with the obvious lack of pretense, and decided they wanted to work with us.
4 – Authentic Tweeting Draws Potential Clients and Customers to Follow You
I tweet for mostly for professional reasons. Even though I have friends who aren’t in the Internet game following me on Twitter, I rarely hear from them, and vice versa. I tweet mostly blog posts, business advice, and industry news, and despite my friends’ disinterest, my tweeting has drawn entrepreneurs and small business owners to my list of followers. Not all of them have marketing in place and some are looking. The next step? Make a list of these folks and hand it over to our sales team. If they find some interesting prospects, they won’t have to cold call. I’ll simply tweet.
In the end, the value of transparency in today’s climate is clear, and the power of social media tools like Twitter and YouTube should not be overlooked. There is incredible potential to drive business once you get comfortable engaging with the public. What are you waiting for?