Thursday, January 21, 2010

Find Your Voice in Web 2.0

The business advantages of embracing social media are clear. But so are the challenges. Now that everyone has jumped on the Web 2.0 bandwagon is it too late to jump in the game? Is it still possible to find a voice above all the noise?

The social networking landscape is changing. Last year I heard statements like:

“Twitter is for teenagers.”
“Facebook is for posting drunken pictures.”
“I don’t have time for LinkedIn.”

Now these same colleagues sing a different tune. Why?

  • The marketing potential of social media is too large to ignore. Where else can you reach a mass audience with a single post? Do traditional marketing methods like advertising still work?
  • The cost of entry for social media is low. So far the cost of using social media is exponentially lower than traditional methods with comparable benefits. Job boards can cost a firm 50k per year. We still have our job board accounts but now we find about 30% of our candidates on LinkedIn.
  • The potential for finding solutions through social media is huge. When developing our new website we found a wealth of code examples and design tips on Twitter.

Remember when an attractive brochure-style website was all the corporate web presence your business needed. Now you need a dynamic website that engages your community with more than advertising. You need to interact with your customers through blogging, tweeting, groups on LinkedIn or Facebook...the options are limitless.

I think it is still possible to make your voice heard in this new reality. Web 2.0 has drastically changed the marketing landscape but it hasn’t changed the basic building blocks of business: focus, value and quality.

Your social media presence is a reflection of you business. The best way to find your voice is to focus on what’s important to your customers. Share relevant information. Make sure that everything you put out reflects the quality that you offer in your products and services.

Only a fraction of your posts should be self promotional. Don’t blast your followers with marketing or they’ll feel the same about you as they do about telemarketers. We try for a 1 to 10 ratio, with only one in 10 posts focussed on marketing.

Networking through social media is your opportunity to offer value that is above and beyond the products you sell.

Tim Collins

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