SCORE Small Business Blog

Web: How to Use Social Media

Is it Right for My Business?

Some of the biggest issues that we find on the subject of Social Media is “What is it?”  “How important is it to me in my business?”

People today think of the term Social Media as the tools of Twitter and Facebook as differentiated from thinking of it in terms as a new way of communicating.  In essence, however, it really isn’t that different from what we did before, we are just using different tools and the method is faster and more personal.

All of this “new stuff” has been caused by the age of the computer and its new generation of offshoots – iPhones and BlackBerrys — which have arrived in our pockets and have permanently changed our world and the way we communicate.

Our customers and clients today – no matter our business – demand and expect a personal, instant response to requests, complaints, observations, returns and questions.  The younger the person – the less time they are willing to wait for a response.

So how important is this new personal way of communicating?  It is imperative that a business learn how to use the tools of social media and integrate them into their already existing systems.  Email, Twitter, your website – they must all work together – and function within your advertising, your print material and your radio or TV spots.  Hand in glove is the rule, and if it is not – then your business will not receive the benefit.

And what is the benefit?  Greater retention – a bigger customer base – greater cash flow – a bigger bottom line – steady growth – all of the foregoing can be achieved with a good, sound social media program that is placed within a company and integrated into its systems.

Maryanne Weiss, SCORE Guest Blogger
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Discussion (6) Comment

  1. The combination of direct and social media communication is an orchestration consisting of various instruments arranged to the particular needs of the user.

    As a leadership and transition coach I have clients I meet with personally or work with them via the telephone/email. There was a time most of client work was strictly face-to-face in many professions, but technology offered new possibilities in reaching desired outcomes.

    Being open and exploring new opportunities to obtain the success one seeks provides a bigger range to work from. Just because something is new doesn’t mean it will work, but how will one know unless one investigates?

    We live in a fast paced world. It is important to keep pace with it in a manner that serves clients and providers of services/products.

    Theresa-Maria Napa, CPCC LOACC
    President – Right Track Coaching

  2. Maryanne WeissVisitor

    Dear Liane –

    Your comments on face-to-face follow-up meetings after contact from your on-line introduction to your customer are very apt — for your business. You have a particular kind of business where this is necessary.

    But you are also using a personal, touching, engaging form of social media to bring them to that face-to-face, so that they can experience your body language — and you are obviously doing it quite successfully.

    Someone else, who doesn’t have your type of buisness hopefully will have your skill and be able to use the social media tools that you are using so effectively. Their business might never allow them to meet or greet their customer face-to-face and their business will depend on this newer medium.

    Learning the effective use of this new tool is what this is all about and while it may not be for you — your most critical element — for another business, it could certainly be the difference between their making it or not making it in today’s culture.

    Over the course of the next months and years, it is certain that the style and the structure of the tools will alter. But the basic concept of the customer being consistently present before us and constantly in touch, is not going to change and so we will have to learn to make the adjustments in our business systems and change our business culture to reflect our customer demand.

    Maryanne Weiss
    Gustare Ltd.

  3. Maryanne,
    Although it seems that the new social media vehicles are more personal, they aren’t. Instead, they add a new dimension and kind of relationship–not supplanting the kind of relationships we needed before. Lost are face-to-face exploratory meetings. As a graphic designer, my whole portfolio is online. So a prospect knows how they react to the work, but they don’t know if there is rapport between us without meeting. I can’t create the most insightful or distinctive designs for someone I haven’t met. Influenced by personality, office decor, body language, and answers to questions built from observing, the exploratory meeting can tell me more in ten minutes than in ten hours of online discussion.
    Social media is a world in itself with multiple initiatives and expectations, used as a:
    1. marketing tool for research and targeting
    2. presentation medium to tie capabilities with needs
    3. community for sharing advice and resources
    4. networking with prospects and customres
    5. providing customer services
    6. selling products
    7. social connection for friends and family
    8. way of branding and pulling together a consistent publication entity
    There are goals for each of these uses. But one thing they don’t do: they don’t take the place of face-to-face. When prepared people get together, the best ideas happen. Liane Sebastian

  4. Maryanne,

    As always you are at the forefront of current topics. Social media is one of them and your knowledge shows. I am looking forward to SCORE’s January Social Media event to learn more.

    Thank you for all you do.

  5. Steven GrovesVisitor

    Maryanne, who knew you were so knowledgeable on social media! We really enjoyed the event last evening at EVIT and look forward to working more with SCORE in the coming year. Thank you again and kudos on a job well done!

  6. Great info Maryanne!
    Agreed, social media is a tool. Whether branding or relationship building, the tools leverage technology to increase your “mind share” WRT your prospects, business colleagues and customers.

    As a custom media provider, we often find small and mid-sized business owners neglect to create a viable social media plan; as well as written policies for the company overall.

    In terms of business, social media is “marketing.” And, a line item in the budget for the technical (graphics, IT, etc.) and marketing (copy writing, campaigns, etc.). In a nutshell, human resources are required and time is money. A well planned and managed strategy can make all the difference to your success.


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