Thursday, May 2, 2013

Networking on social sites

Lots of companies have social profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  The problem with social profiles is that they are a lot of work to maintain and often produce very little value to your bottom line.  

Most companies think they can use their social profiles to generate interest and traffic to their site.  While this is possible for some companies that have a vast reach or "share-able" product, it doesn't work for the large majority.  The primary reason it doesn't work is because specialized products need a specialized audience.  Sharing specialized content to my 800 friends isn't a natural use of Facebook.

Many other companies try to provide customer support.  The idea is that you monitor the social websites for any mention of you and when something good or bad shows up, you respond.  Customer support, especially the extremely transparent social sort, is never a bad thing, but it takes a lot of time and effort.  Some companies have found wild success through creatively solving their customers' problems with YouTube videos etc. but they are the exception.

If you don't really have the time to keep up with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, et al. but think your business should have a presence, I suggest you use them as they were designed, to network.  Every company can benefit from being connected to leaders and passionate individuals in their industry.  Connect with rock star employees from other companies, avid bloggers, and anyone you meet at a conference.  

Having a network of industry specific "friends" is invaluable.  Your profiles become low maintenance because  your network doesn't expect or want you to spam them with 30 tweets a day or 10 pictures of new products.  Rather, it's the modern day Rolodex.  When you have an opportunity or infographic you want to share, you have the perfect network to distribute it to the right people.

How do you use social?