Last Friday, 11th, Channelship were at the Dublin Chamber event at the Burlington Hotel: “Digital Media as a Profitable Business Tool” with the following speakers:
Mike Roche, Chief Architect, IBM
“Social Networking in the Workplace – The IBM Experience”
Aengus McClean, Vice President, AOL Technologies
“Social Media as a profitable Business Tool”
Rick Kelley, Head of European SMB Sales, Facebook
“Acquiring new customers & engaging existing customers through social media”
Ronan Harris, Director Online Sales & Operations, Google
“Increase revenue & generate business intelligence using Google Tools”
Richard Develan, Managing Director, McConnells Digital.
“Coping with constant change”
A few people including us were tweeting LIVE during the event with the hashtag #profittools, so you can check out all the comments HERE.
It was a good event in general, more suitable for those making their first steps into the digital arena. I have to say though, lately, these events with big names, are not covering the basic questions that 90% of the SMEs have.
For example: “How much will it cost me? How do I go about it?”
To Channelship, it was a perfect opportunity to see who was interested in the subject and listen to their feedback and queries about social media. Watch below the questions from Cathy McGennis (SPSS), Evelyn Fitzpatrick (Financial advisor) and Lynda McCracken (Innovation Employment). I’ll try to answer them below:
“What’s your main concern about social media?”
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- “Quality control of the message and bad language”: One of the first acknowledgements we need to make in social media is that we will lose control of the message.
People make comments, recommend services or say good or bad things about a brand online, exactly the same way it happens offline.
Now, what happens if someone says something negative about my company and uses bad language? First of all, it’s OK. Social media gives you an equal opportunity to join that conversation (imagine before, you would’ve never heard of that complaint, right?) an get a customer for life. Also, when you engage, ask and answer questions as a business, you’ll keep your audience always interested in your message (Hosting company, Blacknight are a good example of this).
Also, as Rick Kelley from Facebook highlighted: “Sometimes, your fans come in your defence with good feedback and stories about your product or service“. I bet many people never thought of that 🙂
When it comes to blogging for instance, you control the comments to be published. So, if someone used bad language or made an inappropriate comment you may simply not “approve” it. Ideally you will want to publish all of them, including those of people disagreeing with your company or post. It will make your company more transparent.
- “What happens with the personal information you put out there?” Years ago, the Internet was simply another spot, full of data made simpler to find by search engines. Nowadays, all this data became “sociable” and thousands of social networking platforms contribute to deliver tones of conversations and comments to the Internet everyday. This means that we need to think about our message before we “put it out there“. As a business, I would even recommend that you plan for this.
In each one of the social networking platforms, you will find “the button” that lets you edit or remove a comment immediately. The problem is when some time has passed and you can’t go back to change it.
- “How much time will it take me?” Well, this question was answered by Richard from McConnells Digital and he suggested “to invest 5 to 10 hours a week”. I would agree with Beth Kanter that those hours should be used just for LISTENING. I believe that what’s critical here is that when we answer this question, we are all on the same page: You are NOT advertising in social media, you’re trying to build a relevant community around your brand and strong, long term relationships (as anything good in life, it cannot be built overnight).
Most SMEs, literally think that by engaging in social media, they would have to drop everything else and, obviously that can’t happen.
My advise: Engaging in social media and creating that community does not differ much from the concept of building your community through traditional face-to-face networking. The main differences with social networking are that you can get to know a lot more people, even from other geographical regions, stay in touch, learn more about them, etc. In other words, take the traditional networking concept and multiply it by 1000
In order to do that well, get advise from someone that are using social media, go to a workshop or simply try it yourself and see how you get on. Then, you DO NOT need to go with every single tool, simply pick one or two and learn from those that are using them already.
When you plan your day/week, simply plan to use the platforms chosen during the periods that you will be in front of your computer ONE STEP AT A TIME. The more value you find every day, the simpler it’ll become to use these tools and the better you will be at judging the time you need to invest.
I feel that if you explain the “time investment” like these terms, everybody will take their own time and approach, instead of starting by having in mind that it’s “X” amount of hours… That’s a turn-off, especially for those that haven’t made a move yet.
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Have a look at the pics from te event here or at our Facebook page!