“Like it or not, your web presence plays a key role in your organization. Your customers (present and potential), employees (current and future), volunteers, board members, sponsors, vendors, bankers and insurers all look to your website and social media presence for information, resources and community. If they don’t find these things quickly there are many other venues for them to defect to.” – Phillippa Gamse, 42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins
It isn’t a question of if your business has a web presence. If you have a business and any of your customers use social media you have a web presence. The question is who is running your online presence? Do you know what your customers both satisfied and dissatisfied are posting in their social media about your business?
Opting out simply is not an option in this age. To run a successful business in the current market place you must take charge of your online presence. This is true for the mom and pop shop all the way up to the largest cooperation.
Social media is the digital age’s version of gossiping over the fence. By sharing, liking, commenting, and checking in people refer your business to their friends and family. The easier you make it for them to do this, the easier you are making it for them to recommend your business.
Most business owners don’t realize the impact social media can have on their bottom line. Many customers post their opinions, both good and bad online. Negative comments not responded to can drive away other business and do serious damage to the brand name. Conversely a well managed online presence can be both a source of revenue generation and cost savings.
I come to this field through an unusual route…
In my first lifetime I taught special education for 16 years. You might be surprised at how directly the expertise I learned there applies in social media. Or not, because what is social media but a giant online playground?
3000 Foot View - You won’t see many “Top Ten Tips” kinds of posts on my social media blog. I prefer the bigger picture perspective on social media. What is the pattern of engagement here? What is the trend? How are people engaging? What can one do to tap into that? It’s a perspective that comes from thousands of hours of watching kids engaging on the playground (usually in the freezing cold) and helping them learn how to engage more effectively.
No Silver Bullet - As a teacher I didn’t follow any of the latest “silver bullet” formulas for teaching kids to read. With every new program I diligently learned it and the closed my classroom door, pulled it apart, combined the effective parts of the new magic formula with the effective parts of the now out of style method and invented whatever else was needed to design a lesson specifically for the student in front of me. I don’t have any slick packages or magic formulas and I don’t believe every person needs to be on every social media platform. I work with the person in front of me to design the strategy that is right for them and their business.
Break it Down - One of the biggest obstacles I see for most people in utilizing social media – either for their business or their personal brand – is feeling overwhelmed by it. You think figuring out Twitter is scary? Imagine being a 5th grader with dyslexia faced with your first real textbook! Probably the most important skill my students taught me was how to break down complex subjects into the appropriate sized steps for the person I’m working with. Not too big to be overwhelming & not to small to be eyerollingly “Duh, I’m not stupid you know”. As well as knowing when to stop for the day