The proliferation of social media has opened a whole new world for business owners, potential employees and customers. Used correctly, it can also open new avenues for you and your brand.
Matt Sweetwood is not a fellow who ever gets caught napping. He doesn’t sleep much anyway, so when an irate customer contacted him in the middle of the night to report a problem with an order, Matt was Johnny on the spot.
Although he knew he couldn’t provide an answer at that hour, he tweeted back an apology, said he was already checking into it, and would get back to the customer first thing in the morning.
“When customers see a tweet from a company president like that, it transforms them into loyalists, who will talk about you forever,” Sweetwood says.
Later that morning, after the issue was solved to the customer’s satisfaction, Sweetwood copied his staff on the previous night’s correspondence. “It sent a message that moved customer priority to the top of the list, even in off hours, and set the standard for what’s going on in our company,” he said.
A leading social media guru and business consultant, Sweetwood is a frequent contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and the Huffington Post. As former president of Unique Photo, he was credited for the reinvention of the modern camera store. Matt is also the president and chairman of the Aish Center, and on a recent edition of Mind Your Business on 77WABC, Matt walked us through the social media tangle to give us clarity on which combination is right for each of us.
LinkedIn serves two purposes for a company. Recruiting talent and following customers. Almost 6 in 10 companies hire after having spotted new talent on LinkedIn. It’s also a place where potential employees can find you. Connecting with customers on LinkedIn gives them another vehicle through which they can contact you, so it’s a great way of bonding with a customer. And before utilizing LinkedIn, design a professional banner and logo that’s crystal clear.
Sweetwood advocates a “two brand strategy.” Every business owner should create a complete personal and business profile and make certain there are no inconsistencies between them. Never post something for your own gratification. Put yourself in the place of your audience. Post only items that contribute to building your brand and enhancing your image.
The real secret to Twitter is working it all the time. Matt has 86,000 followers which he built through natural interaction and tweeting out his magazine articles and blogs. Don’t use Twitter to sell a product. It will turn followers off. It’s a tool to build a following, not to build revenues.
Instagram is a picture sharing platform so it’s only right for certain businesses. It’s a marketing, not a sales tool. If you have a brand new product, take a beautiful photo of it and by all means post it on Instagram in all of its glory, but no sales pitches or price tags, please.
“The general rule of social media is that you never know who is looking,” Matt says. “So if you follow that rule, don’t post anything you can’t show your mother.”
You should always assume your next post will be seen by someone who’s important to you, beside your mother. It could be somebody you’re trying to sell, or someone who’s trying to sell to you. Or someone you’re trying to hire or someone who’s might want to hire you.
Nearly 20% of companies use Facebook to check references, so to speak. So don’t post pictures of yourself that could embarrass you or tarnish your professional image.
Even if you’re not looking for a job and have your own business, bear in mind that someone who’s interested in doing business with you is also going to see your picture. So always put your best face forward, literally. Go to a professional photographer who can take a great head shot. It might cost you a few hundred dollars, but the right image could land you that next sale or big customer you’ve been working on.
Bottom Line Action Step: Use social media to build your brand and your professional reputation.