For many small businesses out there making their first social media profile it is often assumed that they should tweet or update on Facebook under the company brand name. Whilst there are some advantages to this, I think that social media is designed to open up a more direct one to one connection between your brand and customers.
To me interacting with most company social media profiles is like talking to their PR team (who often run the profiles!). Always polished, never human. In this article I will explain why I think a company should use personal advocates (i.e employees and customers) as their social media representatives.
Direct One to One Connection
To illustrate my point, I want to talk to you about a shoe company based in Henderson, Nevada, named Zappos. They are the perfect example of a company who embraces the immediacy and transparency of social media. On their Twitter page they include all public mentions of the Zappos brand (good and bad!) and tweets from the Zappos employees.
If that scares you, you better get used to it. This data is out there whether you like it or not. Your job is to LISTEN! Of course, behind every action is a consequence. So, be sure to create real clear guidelines for employees who are representing your brand. But, at the same time, don’t limit them.
People buy from individuals they like and trust. By opening the door to customers to come and have an e-chat with your employees, it shows you really care about giving the customer the full picture of how your company functions.I think those who set up the faceless company profiles are missing out on the genuine one to one connection that can be built through using personal advocacy. It’s certainly not to say that company profiles don’t work at all.
Official Corporate Social Media Profiles
Starbucks, Comcast and Southwest Airlines are great examples of companies who use their official corporate social media profiles to help answer questions and provide updates to their networks. As I wrote in a previous guest article for Kherize5 about How 4 Technology Start-Ups Make Use of Twitter, company profiles always need to include a human element to them. I’d recommend you take a look at how @VodafoneUK includes the employees initials at the end of each tweet, this is a great way to identify the person behind the tweet.
The only point I must stress you consider carefully is how you want your social media presence to function. Personally, I would never recommend attaching your Twitter or Facebook accounts to your blog and simply spewing out links to how great you are all day long. It’s all about providing the value to your network and adding a caring, human element to those updates. Let people in to learn about know who you are.
Remember, people will buy more from those they like or trust.
Do you agree that a network should be built by personal advocates (internal or external?) or do you think that we should represent our brand on social media profiles with a more one-dimensional professional tone?
About the Author:
Josh Chandler, age 19, is a Virtual Assistant , Blogger and Video Podcaster. Making his start on the web at age 16, he produced interviews with Top Web Entrepreneurs and first time Startup owners. He has a strong passion for marketing, technology and the web.
photo credit: viewmy.tv