The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Business

November 2, 2013

DAVID MASTOVICH | Do not miss out on social media opportunity

— “I don’t get (insert social media network, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).

“I’m not sure it’s worth the time and money.

“We’re doing a little bit of (insert social media network).”

We hear similar responses from decision makers at large corporations, medium-sized companies and small businesses.

According to Pew Research Center, 72 percent of online adults use social networking sites. MBA Online reports eight in 10 social media users in the U.S. would rather connect with companies via social media than corporate websites. More than half of the U.S. is on Facebook and more than 200 million tweets are sent each day. Yet many businesses still struggle to leverage the opportunity.

It starts, or actually doesn’t start, at the top. A CEO.com study showed less than 30 percent of Fortune 500 company CEOs have one profile on a social network and the vast majority have none.  Of the CEOs on LinkedIn, many have only one or zero connections.

While lack of CEO participation is troubling, the biggest risk for businesses is missing the social media opportunity. It’s where the customers and prospects are and they expect your company to be. You can learn market insights on customers, competitors, influencers and more, all the while increasing awareness of the company.

Six tips to improve social media:

n Leverage LinkedIn and other vehicles to prepare for major presentations, sales calls, internal meetings, strategic planning and ongoing management of your team.

n Your story needs to be told by you, not others. Increase awareness of your key message points through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other networks.

n Uncover “digital dirt” about your company and set the record straight.

n Don’t just share content, create and have conversations.

n Ask customers questions and listen to their advice.

n Promote customer sharing of experiences to solve problems and build credibility.

Remember, the bigger risk is missing the social media opportunity.

David M. Mastovich is president of MASSolutions Inc., which focuses on improving the bottom line for clients through creative selling, messaging and PR solutions.

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