I always get really excited when companies and brands that I’m familiar with have a strong social media presence and utilize it well. Nothing is more aggravating than seeing a company fake their online savviness. Just because your company has a Facebook profile and follow a million people Twitter, does not mean you’re a leader in social media. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m always a little offended when a company decides to follow me on Twitter, regardless if I would actually benefit from their services or product. Shouldn’t a company engage in social media to connect with their key audience, not to the faceless masses?
I’m very passionate about two things: The Music Industry and Social Media. To feed my hunger for the Music Industry, I manage a band, Earthtone. Seeing as the band is pretty young (they’ve been together since April) and they’re the first band I’ve ever managed independently, most of our work is DIY and “grassroots” (as is the general direction of the Music Industry these days). One resource we’ve begun to utilize is Sonicbids, “a Web site that helps bands get gigs, and promoters book the right bands.” Their mission is, “To empower the artistic middle class.”
A few weeks ago, I was setting up Earthtone’s account on Sonicbids and I came across a few obstacles. My first instinct was to go to Twitter (I may or may not be obsessed…). I tweeted and asked if anyone had any experience using Sonicbids. Within the hour, I received direct messages from two Sonicbids employees, at the tune of “Hey Meghan. Saw your tweet about Sonicbids. Is there anything in particular you’re wondering? Feel free to email at ……!”
WOW! I was impressed with their response and eagerness to help. I sent an e-mail to the address, asked for some troubleshooting advice. I was still having problems (on my part, not theirs) and the fine folks at Sonicbids had me e-mail them my files, and they put together the parts of the profile that I was having trouble with. Having spent most of my summer internship on the phone with the Help Desk because I used a computer that ran Windows 98 (really, Live Nation?!), I was expecting a long and tedious process to get my problems solved, but it was fixed almost immediately.
I’m always suspect when I use a site’s anonymous “contact us” e-mail address or submission form. I want to know that my question is important and that my concern will be heard. Thanks to social media, companies and brands are able to engage with their customers, fast and more efficiently.
- Don’t just be casual; be personal. Enterprise blogging works best when a blogger is frank about what’s happening in his company. But it is generally understood that the blogger will not discuss his personal life. On Twitter, people expect to learn about you. Only then will they care about your company. The CEO of Zappos generated a sizable following for taking this philosophy to heart. He addresses Zappos employees and Zappos issues, but he also shares the things he saw while walking to the airport.
- Be responsive. When you address the CEO of Zappos, he replies to you. The sense you “know” him contributes to goodwill surrounding the brand, which many people already have strong positive feelings about. If you don’t have time for Twitter, find an employee or brand advocate who does. It will probably serve you better if people build relationships with your warm and friendly intern, versus with cold and negligent you.
- Ask for help. From time to time, ask followers what they think about a given campaign or product. Consider their advice. Tell them if you incorporate it. This lends the sense your company values them — not merely as users but as friends with sound opinions.
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What companies and brands do you engaged with that use social media effectively?
What advice would you give to a company that is breaking into social media?