As Seen In: Concentric Corp. Newsletter

Look who’s featured in Concentric Corporation’s May newsletter! Hint: It’s me.

Concentric is a staffing and technology company based in Omaha, NE. They asked me to write a few words on social networking and how businesses can successfully integrate social media into their marketing plans and online presence. I obliged.

Read the full article below:

Social Networking for Business

By Dawn Sailors

“In terms of value, a dynamic and relevant website is nearly incalculable. The internet has become such an integral part of our society today that it is actually detrimental to your business not to have a website. In a lot of cases, your website is your first and best tool to reach your customers, and the cool thing about the social networking of today is that it really can help your business stand out and keep your products or services on the minds of your consumers in a way that wasn’t possible even a few years ago. Integrating social media into your website can be extremely valuable for businesses, but you have to understand the do’s and don’ts for reaching customers on social platforms. Your goal should be to create a sense of friendliness and transparency that makes customers feel comfortable. While you may not want or be able to be quite as casual on your corporate website, social media can be the perfect platform for customer service and interaction, showing your customers the more personal and down to earth side of your business.

In my opinion, one of the biggest mistakes a lot of businesses make when it comes to social networking is falling into what I like to call the “look at me” trap. It’s a common mistake and easy to make.The harsh truth is that your customers don’t visit your Facebook page (or even your website) to read about how great your company is. They are primarily there to find out how your products or services can benefit them. No one wants to log onto their Facebook page to find a barrage of spamy posts from a company. They just want to interact with their friends. The companies that are most successful in the social media realm understand that and work toward a friendly interaction with their customers rather than just a business relationship.

It seems simple, but it’s easy to forget. I’ve seen countless Twitter pages with tweets such as: “We’re now offering iced coffee,” or “Our travel rates are cheaper than the competition.” It makes the point, but fails to relate the message to the consumer. Something like “Our new iced coffee is a great way to cool down when the weather heats up!” or “Could you use a vacation? Our low travel rates make getting away easy,” are much better ways to create content that is relevant to the customer. Throw in a few random-but-relevant facts or tips such as “Did you know that black coffee with no sugar contains no calories?” or “Our top fifteen must-see attractions in Chicago. What’s your favorite?” and now you’ve got your audience coming back not just to hear about your products, but to hear what interesting thing you’re going to say next. Nobody likes listening to that friend who loves to go on and on about themselves. Think of your fans and followers as friends, not dollar signs. Start asking questions and creating conversations, and suddenly you have an actual relationship with your customers on a personal level.

The basic idea to keep in mind is that integrating social media into your online presence can be an amazing way to relate to your customers, but you can’t approach it as a way to make a quick sale. Successful integration means connecting with your customers and forming a sense of friendship and trust, providing them with relevant information that helps them make a decision, affects their daily life, or broadens their knowledge. If that leads to a larger bottom line in the long run, than you have a successful social media campaign, but you can’t jump straight to the results without putting in the work. Keep it in perspective, and its easy to have a social media integration that really benefits your customers and your business.”

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