If there was ever any doubt, the question is settled: sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have changed the face of business forever. The ability to connect with customers on an individual basis, to answer questions in real-time, and to provide a meaningful forum for brand interaction has made social media a staple for any truly comprehensive marketing strategy. But it isn’t all rose petals and sunshine. Operating social media venues requires time, talent, and strategy. Here are a few approaches industries are taking today.
Banking – Many banks today are slow in developing social media—and with good reason. Considering the negative attention the industry has received in recent years, it’s quite a chore policing message boards and walls for offensive and possibly damaging content. It’s important for banks to take the reins of new media now, however, rather than later—such as in the case of U.S. Bank and the group U.S. Bank Sucks, a Facebook group for sternly-stated complaints.
Amusement Parks – Although more of a niche industry, amusement parks are fertile ground for customrs to talk to each other and discuss favorite rides, memories, and stories. This is evidenced alone by Disney’s Facebook presence of over 22 million fans. Mascots are big business, too—before Shamu’s Feb. 2010 attack, her tweets were reaching over 10,000. After social media publicized the attack, however, Seaworld suspended the program.
Retail Establishments – Though the potential is there, many retail establishments are struggling to find a role for social media on their own. The reason they give is that there’s a large difference between a shopping experience—what customers encounter when they enter a real-world store—and a buying experience, which includes online sales. Staples and Bloomingdales are two heavy hitters in this field, accumulating millions of followers by actively searching out customer questions and providing helpful answers on Facebook and Twitter.
Signing off for now,
This week’s blog is written by Jody Robie, Executive Director Business Development at Buyer Advertising.
2011 offers many new and innovative tools to not only source candidates but to make a social connection with them. Using social media can give your organization another platform to have the important conversation, promote the benefits of your company and build brand awareness as an employer of choice. Here are a few key places to start which don’t require a large financial investment.
LinkedIn offers the ability to source candidates with both their free and recruiter license model. Additionally, there are more than 100 million members representing more than 200 countries. There are more than 1200 groups with a diversity reference, but you also can start your own group as a way to connect with your target audience. Joining a group allows you to connect with the members, make comments, start conversations and promote job openings. www.linkedin.com
YouTube has more than 1200 videos tagged under “Diversity and Inclusion”. It includes the opportunity for your own employees to share their first-hand experience working for your organization. Video is replacing the formal brochure as the most effective and efficient tool to give a candidate or an employee the chance to connect with your culture. Having a video on your own website greatly increases the optimization of your career site. Giving your employees a flip cam can also give them an opportunity to share their personal experiences, promote core values or just show the personality of your company. www.youtube.com
There are more than 250,000 monthly MeetUp groups worldwide. MeetUps are groups which extend beyond virtual connections into real life meetings. You can join a group for a particular discipline such as Bioengineers in Atlanta or Black Professionals in Boston. You can also create your own group with special features which have costs associated with each option. www.Meetup.com
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Like any good advertising strategy, it’s easy to sweep the old faithfuls under the rug. In the midst of the growing popularity of Twitter and Facebook, there are many who neglect the underdogs. LinkedIn came into being in 2003, and since then, by-the-minute media has been the flavor of choice–with flashy features such as instant tweets and a library of Facebook apps. Simply stated, to some, LinkedIn has become old hat.
However, keeping an active account is a worthwhile endeavor for nearly any organization. Even without the designer interface and the mobile media extras, LinkedIn provides a valuable “at a glance” stats about a company without a client needing to navigate individual company websites. It’s essential for SEO, where sites like Google can parse LinkedIn to see if an organization exists outside their own little webspace. And as a portal for employees-to-be or prospective clients, LinkedIn offers an attractive way to reach individual people, rather than the firstname.lastname@example.org many organizations use as a default.
But perhaps the most compelling argument to keep up with LinkedIn is that people know it and use it already. It’s found a home in the bookmarks of millions, and if you’re spending time keeping up a presence, it’s only logical that you’ll reach some potential hires or customers. After all, advertising where the people are remains one of the fundamental tenants of any successful enterprise.
Signing off for now,
Establishing a foothold in social media represents a big investment for your company—not because doing so is overly complicated or expensive, but because it takes a lot of time to maintain your presence. In terms of man-hours, you’ll need to set up appropriately-branded Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts, and organize a schedule for regular updates. Before you get started, here are a few common items of misuse and abuse. Avoid the following at all cost!
Letting things languish. You can’t count the number of corporate Facebook sites that lie fallow, unproductive for the company that created it. You’ll want to update regularly to reap the benefits: increased exposure for SEO and a dialog between you and your customers. On the flip-side, you don’t want to be posting every few hours, either—nothing sends fans running away faster than spamming their news feeds with clutter. Aim for updating a few times a week.
Being predictable. When you’re updating your new media sites, remember that you’re talking to people, not to consumers. Speak in a language that a real person would enjoy reading, and entertain rather than preach. Come off too advertise-y, and people are sure to click away.
Not posting job opportunities. Facebook and Twitter is personal, and there aren’t a lot of things more personal than your career. Posting your openings is a great way to draw on a pool of non-conventional applicants. Of course, there’s a big reason you may not be posting career openings in the first place: you have a dedicated Facebook site specifically for that purpose.
No matter how you go about using new media, getting yourself out there puts you ahead of the competition, and pushes you in the right direction to more customers and greater interest from the population at large. Good luck!
Signing off for now,
It’s a great resource for job seekers. It’s also an invaluable tool for job recruiters. Since its inception, LinkedIn has been the go-to hub for everything career related. And why not? Not only can this sensation site allow prospective candidates to share recruitment leads and help build their own career-boosting community, employers can view credentials of potential employees with only a few clicks of the mouse. But how can employers promote themselves the most effectively? Read on for some quick fixes and important tips.
Fill out EVERYTHING. Every piece of information you transcribe into LinkedIn—no matter how small—is fodder for helping your SEO rankings and providing critical data for employees-to-be. It may seem tedious, but list every piece of information you can as an employer as LinkedIn requests. Even if that includes size and location of your organization and hours of operation.
Lend a helping hand. Get proactive about your presence. Offer recommendations to former employees and send messages to like-minded companies. The more you grow your circle of contacts, the more attention you’ll gather.
Plug it in. Connect your LinkedIn site to your existing assets—think blog, Facebook, Twitter, and webpage. Not only will you provide a resource to those candidates casually learning more about you, you’ll also provide at-a-glance information that helps you disseminate critical information—information that helps a candidate base make better, more informed decisions.