The Relevance of Social Media

By Deb Krier, CWCC Member

“What do you do?” I attend several networking events every week, so I hear this question quite a bit.

I respond something along the lines of: “I show people how to use social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter in their marketing efforts.” I typically receive a variety of responses, including rolled eyes, raised eyebrows, a snicker or two…or an outright laugh, “You’re kidding!”, “No, what do you really do?” and my favorite: “You actually make money doing that?”

Unfortunately, this shows that many people still think that social media can’t be taken seriously as a marketing tool. They are missing the boat. According to a recent report by Burson-Marsteller, 77% of the Fortune Global 100 are on Twitter, while 61% have a Facebook Page.

Social media levels the playing field. Your company—no matter what size or product—has the ability to reach just as many people as a Fortune Global 100—or your competitors—can, without the expense of a major marketing campaign.

In his best-selling book, Engage: The Complete Guide for Brands and Businesses to Build, Cultivate, and Measure Success in the New Web, Brian Solis talks about the fact that businesses must “Engage…or die.” Businesses who aren’t using social media to reach consumers will fall behind—and possibly even fail.

However, what is absolutely critical for success is how you use social media to communicate. While you should use the platforms where your target audience is, it’s vital to remember that you’re not communicating with a target, a market, a potential customer or a client…you absolutely must remember that you’re communicating with people!

At networking events, think how you feel when you get someone’s “canned” 30 second elevator presentation about what they do—especially when you hear them give the exact same spiel to another person. Doesn’t make you very interested in them, does it?

The same thing goes for social media: don’t just repeat the words from your website, brochure or other marketing materials. Personalize what you are saying! No matter how many people you’re connected with, remember that it’s an actual person who will be reading your post and write like you’re communicating with just one person at a time.

Engaging means that online communications are no longer a monologue; they’re a dialogue. Ask questions—and respond when someone asks you a question! THANK people for their input and comment on their posts.

We work with people we know and like—and it’s all about building relationships with people, whether online or in the real world.

Who are you connected with who excel in two-way online communications? Why do you like them?

Deb Krier is a social media adviser, professional speaker, and trainer. With nearly 20 years as a marketing and public relations professional, she’s passionate about helping people use social media to promote themselves and their businesses! For more info, go to www.debkrier.com.

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