Thursday, April 18, 2013

Digital Direction – Social Media du Jour

Did you know the U.S. Securities and Exchange Committee recently approved using Facebook and Twitter for company disclosures? Yes, you read that right, social media is now an acceptable form of communicating with investors. Of course, there are more stipulations which you can read about on Bloomberg. More importantly, what does this mean to you? If you’re one of those small business owners or individuals who are still on the fence about the relevance of social media for business, this recent SEC announcement should prompt you to get in gear. It’s time to begin integrating social media into your PR and marketing efforts.

Taking the social media plunge is not easy, especially not knowing where to start with so many social media applications to choose from. With a new one popping up every week from Google+ to Instagram to Vine, how do you choose? 

Our advice to clients? “There will always be a ‘social media du jour.’” With endless new and improved social media applications, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying out everything you hear about. But being strategic is important. Evaluate which social media application fits best with your business model and where you audience is “hanging out” online. 

The number one reason C. Pharr’s clients are on social media is because it drives engagement and forms meaningful connections with  other influencers. Think of social media as one big room of current and prospective clients. Such an online, virtual room will help expand your network while creating an online extension of your brand. It can also help build overall awareness of your expertise, service and/or products.  As you engage with those connections, you build a group of thought leaders, accelerate brand awareness and learn from each other. Connections are able to share articles and exchange information about facts, trends and products. They may even make good referrals. Social media also can make it easier for you to maintain current client contacts. Remember, even current clients and customers need periodic reminders of your business expertise, helping your business stay top-of-mind. 

This thought leadership conversation is already taking place online in numerous groups and community pages on social media sites like LinkedIn. Why not increase your share of voice and start contributing to this conversation if it makes sense for your business? The wider your span of connections and overall awareness, the more effective you’ll be in the market.

The one take away after reading this: DO get started on finding the social media application that is right for your business, but DON’T feel pressured to order the “social media du jour.” Not every social media tool will be right for your brand and inevitably you will be disappointed with the ROI if you take a fragmented approach.  Remember, when it comes to social media, it’s quality not quantity that counts. It’s all about engagement and building online, meaningful connections with other thought leaders. Social media is filling a new niche, helping supplement your business development and networking efforts. The longer you wait to take the plunge, the farther behind you will be. Start experimenting now! If the SEC is finally catching up to the 21st century, it’s time you did too! 

This post was contributed by Leah Ekmark Williams. @leahcpc


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