The Risk of Social Media Marketing for Executives

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You’ve more than likely known for some time now that social sites and social networking aren’t just for chit-chatting. Used wisely, they’re a gold mine for businesses: for sales and marketing, as well as for managing customer relationships and company reputation.

Like many business leaders, however, it’s confusing to know just how to participate successfully in places like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

  • How do you optimize your time and messages to get great business results?
  • How do you avoid the pitfalls of poor content and wasted time?
  • How do you minimize the potential for PR disasters?

The biggest risk of social media for businesses, however, is to sit on the sidelines and leave social connections to your competitors. Your customers are there, linking, sharing, and tweeting. It’s up to you to be there when they need you.

The biggest benefits come when a customer shares a complaint. They aren’t happy about a service or a product. If it’s one of yours, you need to manage this conversation — right away. But if you’re not monitoring keywords, using tools like HootSuite, Radio6 or HubSpot  then it can grow into a PR nightmare before you can step in.

In the same example, if it’s not your product or service, you have an opportunity to help out by offering a solution to their problem. A lead can show up as a complaint on Twitter, a question on LinkedIn, or a discussion on a Facebook page.

Surprisingly, however, most sales managers are slow to recognize social media’s potential. In a survey of marketers by BtoB Magazine, here’s how social media was being used:

  • 5% said social media marketing was a “well optimized part of their mix”
  • 58% admitted to being in the early stages of using it
  • 17% said they didn’t use social media at all

In some companies, use of social sites is even forbidden during work time. Yet, that’s where most customers are. More people do online research for products and services than ever before. Here’s what’s being reported about that on Wikipedia:

  • Social networking now accounts for 22% of all time spent online in the US.
  • Twitter processed more than one billion tweets in December 2009 and averages almost 40 million tweets per day.
  • Over 25% of U.S. internet page views occurred at one of the top social networking sites in December 2009, up from 13.8% a year before.
  • The number of social media users age 65 and older grew 100 percent throughout 2010, so that one in four people in that age group are now part of a social networking site.

The highest-performing organizations have outlined a clear process for using social media. A social media plan shows how it can be used by employees and top executives in a smart, disciplined way.

Want to get started? First, download this informative paper here: How to Enhance Your Internet Presence with Social Media. Then, figure out how this applies to you and your business. It’s not rocket science, but it certainly can be confusing if you’re new to all this. Sometimes it helps to talk it over, so give me a call:  703-728-1336.