Short-termism in Business really frustrates me. I have been quite used to the fact that many wrongly see that what I do for a living as cheap and simple. Well, so is riding a bike, but did you take part in the Tour de France this year?
Online gets such bad PR inside Business because we all know a nephew out of college who can put a web site together. Or that guy in the warehouse that has a really cool Facebook page.
And, e-commerce, isn’t that IT’s responsibility? Not only that, Business, like a toddler, wants it all now!
Online is Part of your Business
Online is no different to any other part of your business, it should be part of your overall plan, your long term strategy. You didn’t go into business to make a quick profit, I hope! You went into business because you had a dream, with a long term aim of solving a problem, providing a solution. Where you, and your customers were both winners.
Social Media should also be part of that long term view. Not a quick fix, tick box job.
Effective Social Media
When implemented effectively Social Media can provide a fantastic experience for staff and customers. It can lead to interactions that were just not cost effective before. Just don’t expect instant results.
An investment is required in time. Time to find which platforms work best for your company. In how to use them efficiently and there is a cost in monitoring what is going on.
You may not need a custom Facebook application or a heavy duty tool such as Radian6. Using Twitter via mobile does not mean your whole company needs to be equipped with iPhones. Just as videos for YouTube don’t require a film crew. But even using the most straight forward of equipment takes time to learn to use it well.
People Need Training
Invest in staff training, at least find an internal champion, one who can ideally mentor as well. Just because staff can use Facebook it doesn’t mean they are ready to represent your company online. If you do want to speed things up, hire an experienced consultant to help plan your strategy and get training programs in place.
Engagement has it’s Rewards
The engagement and conversation will still take time to mature, whatever your companies size and whoever you hire. In fact the larger your company the more difficult it can be to get started. As once you start engaging online the flood gates are open and you’ll be expected to respond.
But respond well and the returns will show; not obvious at first, usually seen as an increased reach in your monitoring tools. Engage effectively and you will start to see monetary returns if your are selling a product or service. You may even see reduced costs and increased customer satisfaction by providing customer support through Social Media.
One of the most noticeable benefits can be increased staff interaction with customers, leading to a more satisfied workforce.
Give the online side of your business the time it deserves to succeed, especially Social Media. Don’t treat it as a stand alone function, but as an asset, and you’ll be glad you invested in it.