When someone asks me if their company should be involved in social media, my answer is always the same, “Yes, but you’re asking the wrong question.”
Every company needs to be involved in social media. The right question is “How?”
There are three levels in social media involvement:
- Basic: When you are at this level, you are listening to the conversation and responding when it is about your company. In some cases this means chatting with fans. In others, it means resolving issues and/or correcting misinformation.
- Participating: Are you ready to join in the conversation? This level means that you’re starting conversations instead of simply responding. You are creating a community of people with similar interests. It opens doors for new opportunities and solidifies relationships.
- Engaged: You have an established community with interactive members. Conversations happen with or without your participation. Your fans encourage positive mentions and respond to negative ones. This is where you reap the rewards of social media juice.
The Internet is a huge soap box for people to shout out about your company. We talk about the positive stories going viral while forgetting that bad news travels faster. I recently stumbled upon a twitter account that appeared to belong to a local business. I’m a fan of their company, so I started clicking the links. Every one took me to a Ripoff Report page where a disgruntled customer rants about a bad experience. I notified their management. Fortunately they were able to have the account suspended.
All companies should have a social media presence even if it is only at the basic level. If you don’t have one, what are you missing? If you do, what have you gained? Please share your stories.