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Scared of social media?

You’ve put it off for long enough. You’re going to have to do it sooner or later, your business depends upon it. Considering that 72% of online adults use social media it’s high time you felt the fear, and well, got over it. Because, like it or not, these social platforms are where your clients are, and if you don’t have a presence on social media you can be sure your competitors do.

So what are you scared of?

Social media takes up too much of my time

Do you think of social media as an annoying time waster? You can give it as little or as much attention as you have, creating an active presence for just 15 minutes a day. Sticking to one or two platforms, those where your customers tend to hang out, means you need only login, scan and respond as appropriate, taking less time than it takes to make a coffee.

I don’t know what to say on social media

Contrary to what you may believe social media is not only for certain industries. If you have customers, then there’s value in it for you. Yours may not be the most glamorous of trades but as long as you show your human side and not be tempted to hide behind a corporate persona, people will want to listen. Show that your company has a personality and opinions that reflect your values and you’re on to a winner. Be informal, but be relevant, appropriate, and interesting to your audience.

Twitter is a good way of easing yourself in. Start by posting a few links to articles, market reports, etc. anything that might be interesting to customers of your industry. Link to other content that you think will be of value to your audience. Pose questions, or reply to comments.

I fear exposure on social media

Do you worry that every word you write will be misconstrued? Do you fear that your customers will realise you’re not as smart as they thought? Perhaps you fear negative comments or responses?

This is perfectly normal, particularly on social media networks like Twitter, where there is no control over what is posted. And we’ve all heard examples of big companies making major social media slip-ups. But there’s a greater risk in snubbing social media because with so much unprecedented access, it sends the wrong message to employees, consumers, and investors not to be part of it.  Also, social media is an excellent tool for showing your soft side and demonstrating transparency and honestly.

I fear negative feedback on social media

Customer feedback, even negative, is invaluable to your company’s growth. You may be giving customers a platform to be able to publically criticise your company, but you’re also showcasing your great customer service skills in real time, in front of an audience.  If you do receive negative feedback, listen and respond. Be honest, apologetic and transparent. Deal with a complaint honestly and apologetically and you’ll more likely make a friend than an enemy.

Remember that the point of social media is in the name, to be social. It’s not about pressure selling and blatant self promotion. It is about interaction, community and customer service. Be personal, authentic and approachable and focus on getting a useful message in front of your audience.

Have a look around to see how others in a similar business have made social media work for them. Ask yourself, how are savvy businesses using social media effectively to boost their reputations, find more customers and make more sales?

It may be scary if you’re not yet competent in using social media but the expectation on business to be transparent will only increase. As a business you have a choice, either get involved or get left behind.

Do you have a fear that we haven’t featured? Then let us know.

Image Credit: Shock-ed by David Goehring