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Dive into social media


Every time I’m in front of an audience, I ask two questions:

1. How many of you have some social media involvement? (Almost everyone’s hand goes up.)

2. How many of you wish you were better at it? (Almost everyone’s hand goes up.)

Keep in mind this is from a (supposedly) sophisticated group of people. They all have smart phones, most of them get personal Facebook notices on their phones, but for one reason or another, they have chosen not to enter the world of business social media. Many are on LinkedIn and have a few connections, almost none of them tweet, and even fewer have their own YouTube channel.

What’s your social media status?

REALITY: Some HUGE companies have gone all out in social media, while others have their heads buried in the sand or are playing ME TOO, because they woke up one morning and found their competition gaining ground through a prominent and active social media presence. Still others are claiming “regulations” are keeping them from engaging.

Here are a few examples of big companies taking BIG advantage of business social media:

• Starbucks is asking for customers’ opinions and soliciting customers’ ideas. (Where do you think the idea for that little green stopper splash stick came from?)

• The CEO of Sun Microsystems blogs daily.

• Burger King is continuing to let customers “have it their way” online with information and coupons.

• Procter & Gamble is all about Facebook and is replacing TV ads with social media presence. (WOW!)

• Comcast is tweeting individualized customer service help messages.

• And as if they weren’t customer service dominant enough, Zappos tweets its service responses and as a result receives THOUSANDS of positive tweets.

All of these companies, whether business-to-business or business-to-consumer, emphasize the same word in their philosophy and their outreach: COMMUNITY. They all recognize that their customers have a voice, and by listening and responding to them, they’re discovering benefit and profit.

How are you doing? What’s your “community” strategy? To whom are you listening? To whom are you responding? Or are you still answering your phone and “serving me better” with nine options? Pathetic.

Here are 6.5 TOUGH questions designed to make you think, plan and act:

1. What are you doing about the social media opportunity?

2. How are you attracting customers and prospects?

3. What’s your value message beyond product offerings?

4. How are you engaging customers and prospects?

5. How are you connecting with the people you engage?

6. What’s your social media doubling plan for 2011?

6.5. What policies, trust issues and lawyers are holding you back? Get rid of them.

Those are painful questions that need answering now.

REALITY: While you sit around strategizing and legalizing a business social media plan, your competition is laughing at you, hoping you’ll delay even more.

TWEET POWER: I tweeted this quotation last night, “The more you hold your people back from using social media at work, the more your competition will kick your ass.” Less than one hour after it hit the Internet, more than 50 people had re-tweeted it, and more than 100,000 were exposed to the message. And ME. FOR FREE.

REALITY: Individuals (like you) can safely set up their own value-based, value messaging BUSINESS page on Facebook INSIDE the parameters of whatever guidelines your business has. And you can do the same with Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Start today.

Jeffrey Gitomer can be reached by phone at (704) 333-1112 or by e-mail at salesman@gitomer.com. © 2011 Jeffrey H. Gitomer

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