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How to embrace Social Media without killing yourself

by Amaya Marichal

The outbreak of social media. What a topic! You have undoubtedly come across people talking about this subject all the time. I bet some of you are fed up with the concept. Some of you maybe just hate it and don’t want to know anything about it.

However, even if you don’t like it, you should consider that social media is already here. It provides the way people share ideas, content, thoughts, and relationships online. If you are clever enough, you must have noticed that this is the perfect place for companies to connect with their customers and learn more about them.

Until now, companies have been very cautious about social media but they have realized that it is very important to integrate and listen to feedback for a better understanding of how the audience is relating to their brand.

Consumers are looking for value that goes beyond just a discount. They are active users of social media. They talk. They engage. They suggest. They criticize. They promote. They share.  They judge. They are not just customers. They’ve become Social Customers.

As companies move forward in this new terrain, they should motivate their own people to embrace the process with a smile. Clearly, one of the most interesting features of social media is that people talk about you (yes, they do!), your company, and its products and services. Most of the time, you can’t control these conversations. However, it isn’t impossible to guide the conversation if you’re a bit creative.  And believe or not, you can get a lot from these discussions.

At the end of the day, companies do get involved in the social media world for many reasons, ranging from the feeling that they’re on the cutting edge of marketing to increase revenue to a genuine interest in creating better relationships with clients.  Whatever  the reason to embrace social media, we have some words of advice on how to do it without going crazy:

  • Find the social media site for you. It doesn’t matter if it happens to be Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Digg, YouTube or Tumblr. You can even try two or three channels at the same time. Just be constant!
  • Find your own voice. Sometimes, companies (as well as politicians) have a hard time trying to  connect to the community because they use an “institutional” voice that doesn’t help at all. Most companies don’t know how to find their own voice and feel confortable with it. It takes a lot of practice, go for it!
  • Be a good listener. It’s fine if you’ve got lots of interesting content to publish but you must LISTEN to your customers and let them know you are doing it. If you listen to them, they’ll begin to trust you.
  • Be patient. This takes a long time because you are going to be transforming your company, one person at a time.
  • Be a teacher. Share your knowledge. Share your expertise. Share other’s users interesting content. Eventually, people will come to you to be informed.
  • Be opportunistic. Try to take advantage of popular topics, influencers, applications, and interesting publications that may help your company to get an impulse.
  • Be flexible. You never know what’s going to happen so you have to adjust  your strategy if you notice something is not going right.
  • Be collaborative. You never know when you’ll need someone else’s help. Furthermore, your community will be thankful if you show a disposition to cooperate.
  • Be funny. You don’t have always to be businesslike. You can try a couple of catchy phrases or even personal anecdotes on your content.
  • Be efficient. There are many free tools for social media that will help you to get the most out of it. You can use, for instance, HootSuite to manage your different accounts or Google Analytics to measure the traffic to your site.
  • Most importantly, be humble. Remember that social media sites come and go, but the connection you establish with your customers is your best asset.

Remember that success comes from being bold. Smart companies succeed just by trying. Be a part of the action! Embrace social media today! How to embrace Social Media without killing yourself.