Are you listening?

ImageEntering the social media world with your business can be a very exciting yet scary place. While embarking on this new adventure, you may want to make your business presence known on all social media channels but at the end of the day it isn’t about quantity but quality. Think about the resources you have and how you will be able to maintain all the social channels you create. You don’t want to just join to join. You want to have an active presence and that may mean you don’t join them all. To find that quality base of customers, you have to do a lot of listening before talking.

What does it mean to listen on social media? Go out there and see what your competitors are doing and figure out how you can do it better. When you find out where your target audience hangs out, listen to what they are saying through their social channels. You want to push out compelling content that people will engage with and not just look at as another advertising ploy. These days it’s about pulling customers in with your messages instead of pushing on them what you want them to hear. Monitor the conversation happening around your brand to see what people want. Another reason why listening is important is so that you don’t miss conversations being had about your brand. If you don’t engage in that conversation, then you are allowing the customers to speak your message and it might not be the right message or a positive one.

Social media requires a strategy. You wouldn’t start any other big project without a strategy, so why should social media be any different. Know who you want to target and what social channels they use. If the demographic you are after doesn’t participate in Instagram or Pinterest, what is the use in putting your efforts into those areas? A big part of your strategy should be storytelling. It’s how humans connect. Most of the shares I see on Facebook are heartwarming stories. Find stories that can relate to your brand and tell that side of your product instead of the data. Your customers will have more to relate to with that type of post.

Your personal social brand can also play a major role in your life, for instance in obtaining a new job. More and more human resources departments and recruiters are evaluating your social media presence. Some interesting points were made in our readings about resumes being a thing of the past and your Klout score being a major factor in hiring. I don’t agree completely with what was being said. I think the resume will be around a while longer but social media will play a larger role in making or breaking you as a candidate. Job seekers are becoming more and more creative with ways to set them apart and I think short videos will replace cover letters in due time. When it comes to a Klout score being important in the hiring process, I think it has to do with the position. An accountant probably wouldn’t be judged on it like a social media manager would be.

A great way to look at start in social media is to remember Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your social media presence. Not many companies will be an overnight success. If you build it, they will slowly come.

What’s the biggest mistakes you think companies make when starting social media accounts?

Do you see Klout scores becoming more important in the hiring world across all departments or just specific ones?

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9 thoughts on “Are you listening?

  1. I can tell you from first-hand experience about a couple major mistakes companies make when starting social media accounts. About three years ago, while working for a property management company I created their first Facebook page. Because they get business from the local community as well as globally, I decided to reach out to as many people as I could all over the world. I tried to push our company page out to too many people before adding any content to our page. I got over 100 people to like our page but it came to a screeching halt after that. I needed more content and more personal interaction. As the one in charge of the page, I felt so alone, like I walked into a party and everybody was ignoring me on purpose.

    As for Klout, I agree and disagree with your example. I think it will be more important in certain industries than others. An accountant may actually need to have a high Klout score. Think about what they’re offering their clients. My husband always says, “Don’t mess with my family, my friends, or my [MF’ing] money!”. Forgive the implied explicit language but it’s true. With something that is so emotional to that target market, I don’t think people will trust you if you don’t have the Klout to back you up. Consumers will check your Klout scores. They will have learned about its importance the same way you did; your employer required it.

    • Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I’ve not ever been the one to start up a new Facebook page but I can only imagine how alone you felt. You were trying what you knew to be best and got to a point where your plan wasn’t working out the way you thought it would.

      I know consumers will check Klout scores for executives or people they see speaking about the brand but I still don’t see someone in the accounting department of a company needing to have a high klout score. They aren’t going to be pushing out brand messages so why would it matter if they were an online influencer or not. In some companies it could matter but when I think about the one I work for, it wouldn’t matter for people who are not pushing our brand messages online.

  2. I agree with Erin. I think the biggest mistake many companies make when starting a social media page is that they don’t have enough VALUABLE content to keep their followers engaged. They don’t have a clear goal when it comes to their social media strategy and are just floating aimlessly around. It is beyond important to know what you want your brand to say and if you don’t give people something to remind them of this they will quickly forget about you and move onto the next big thing.

    As for Klout, I am still learning about this one. From what I have gathered thus far Klout is to job applications as credit score is to house and car loans…if you don’t have a high score people aren’t going to trust you. In order to get consumers to buy from you they have to trust your product and trust you with their money. I think the more people become familiar with this notion the more we will see the influence it has over so many things! It will be interesting to see!

    • I definitely can see how not having enough content to share is an issue. I work for an organization that is constantly pushing out news and almost has too much to share, so I’ve not felt that. I could see a small business or a business based of a small set of products facing this issue.

      I agree that the use of a klout score in hiring will be an interesting process to watch as it becomes more popular. We recently had a social media consulting agency present to us and she hated the klout score. I’ll have to try and remember what her reasoning was. I don’t think she felt it was accurately calculated.

  3. I think the worst thing companies can do on social media is creating an account and then letting it become an “orphan” or abandoning it. What many companies, even those within my own company, don’t fully understand is how much commitment being a part of a social network takes, especially from a marketing standpoint. I think an inactive page can be seen as just as bad as not having a page at all. Who wants to see old information or irrelevant posts? That’s not going to engage anyone. Bottom line: You can’t just create a Facebook page “because everyone has one”. There needs to be strategy and planning behind that decision.

    I had honestly never heard of a Klout score before this week’s readings. But I do see how it could become more and more important in the future. This would be especially true for those of us working in the digital world or wanting to work in the digital world. If we’re not connected online and becoming “influencers” how can we be seen as leaders in online industries?

    • You are right. Social media is a huge commitment and for companies that don’t have a lot of staff to contribute to posting, it can be draining trying to keep up. Inactive pages serve no purpose and companies should’ve thought of that type of thing prior to joining the space. But a lot of companies join just to join, then can’t keep up and end up looking bad.

  4. You make an excellent point when regarding social media strategy being just like having a strategy for any other type of project. Prof B mentioned in the lecture that people start using social media and run before they crawl, which is dangerous for an individual but even more so for a company.

    It’s amazing how many student-athletes I talk to who don’t realize or fully understand the amount their social media use now impacts their future job opportunities. Many of them began using social media in high school (some even younger), and they are so set in their habits and simply interacting with friends they don’t see the possible consequences.

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