Social Media Week 2011: Facebook and Twitter for Business – It’s time to get personal

by Affect Team on February 14, 2011

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How should businesses go about monitoring their Twitter or Facebook pages? Johnson King Account Executive Matthew Tubbs and Senior Account Executive Dana Hashem weighs in on a Social Media Week 2011 panel that discussed how companies should approach a new feed.

The Facebook and Twitter for businesses event at Social Media Week 2011 saw Mark Shaw and Julie Hall up on stage to discuss strategy for establishing a successful corporate presence in social media. Although the platforms are different – Twitter is a “cocktail party”, while Facebook is “an invitation into someone’s front room” – the message was broadly similar: interaction with users is key.

Mark kicked off with some interesting Twitter stats:

  • Twitter has 300,000 new joiners per day
  • There are 200 million accounts
  • 57% of FTSE 100 companies have a Twitter account
  • 72% of these have not used their account to contact customers

What is the point of a Twitter account if you are not going to interact with customers? Highlighting the importance of using a Twitter presence for communication, Mark cited the Costa Coffee page (drawing gasps from the audience).

To state “We’ve finally arrived on Twitter” and leave it at that for three years certainly comes across as more than a little bit lax. It seems that Costa have missed the brand development boat with regards to Twitter. By interacting with customers, brands have a great chance to present their corporate personality, rather than remaining as a faceless vendor of goods. A search of Twitter reveals hundreds of people currently Tweeting about Costa Coffee, a perfect opportunity for the company to interact with them, address any issues and promote brand loyalty.

So, it’s high time brands ditched the notion that social media is simply a tool for blasting their ‘fans’ with self-serving updates and flipped it on its head – it should be all about listening and it’s about giving back to your fan base.   In essence, be less pushy and more helpful.

The first step is to learn how to find out what people are saying about you out there in the digisphere.  Twittersearch.com is great place to start –just tap in your brand name to get going.  From there, the key is to respond, respond, respond!   Your fans (or critics!) are bound to feel more valued if you engage with them directly, and this will almost always generate more conversation about your brand both online and through that holy grail of PR tools – word of mouth.

You can step up your game with tools like Twitter Analyzer – basically Google Analytics for Twitter – which provides all kinds of useful data you can use to enhance your Tweeting strategy.  This blog post from @BenTremblay should point you in the right direction.

While Twitter is clearly the new digital ‘must have’ for any organisation looking to harness the power of social media, the nature of Facebook makes it generally more suited to consumer brands or generating hype around specific events.  Our advice would be to think carefully about whether it’s the right medium for you before jumping in and setting up a group.

The overall message we came away with was that it’s time to get brave with social media – the key to success is to humanise your brand’s digital persona.  So, drop the corporate language, give yourself the freedom to respond to messages instantly and don’t get hung up on perfecting everything that you post.  If you can crack this change of mentality, you’ll soon start reaping the rewards.

SURVEY ALERT!

We’re in two minds about whether or not you should delete negative content from your social media accounts.  If the content is offensive then fair enough, but what about dealing with constructive criticism?  Should your response be made publicly on you Facebook wall or Twitter feed, or is it better to switch to private messaging?  Let us know what you think by voting in this poll.

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