Are You A Business Wall Builder Or A Social Media Siding Hanger?

Filed in Social Media 101 by on February 19, 2010 3 Comments

Your organization may not be ready to use social media

Let’s look at social media as the vinyl siding on your newly constructed house. It will increase the value of the property, but without being attached to an actual wall it won’t keep the weather out.

Businesses and nonprofits usually break down into two categories:

  1. Many businesses and nonprofits attempt to put their “social media siding” directly on the 2×4 stud-work but don’t actually finish the walls first. They wonder why their business isn’t weatherproof. These people jumped at using social media without a strong business foundation that could handle the increase in prospects and customer feedback.
  2. The second type of business owner builds solid walls first and have a fairly decent business structure in place. But these folks are missing some “siding” that could help attract at least twice as many potential customers. They have all the fundamentals of their business in place but haven’t started using social media.

If you are the second type of business owner, then you are ready to start doubling your sales now by using social media. If you are the first type, keep reading….

Social media is a great place to reach out to your potential prospects. But you are probably jumping too fast. It’s hard for me to write this since I am so excited to help your business use social media…

BUT…

You probably don’t have the basics in place to really take advantage of social media marketing and community building.

Fundamentals

Remember that marketing is all about building trust and leading people into a relationship with you. This relationship may or may not involve buying something right away, but after time, if you lay a solid foundation, your prospects will become customers.

So before you delve into social media – how are you doing on the fundamentals of your business? I’m talking about the stuff like customer service, product creation, fulfillment, your website payment process, shipping and even your phone answering system. Without the basic business elements in place YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS using social media.

Start working on your business before you add social media

Do you have basic transaction elements on your website? Can you sell tickets effectively? If you are a nonprofit can you take online donations?

A customer service example…

A few years ago I read the book Selling the Invisible. The author, Harry Beckwith, pointed out that asĀ  a business your customer service is not only competing with businesses down the street, but is competing with Disneyworld. Disney has raised the standard of customer service so high that unless you are near their standards, your customers will be unhappy.

Take heart. There are many things you can do to improve your business. Customer service can also be helped by social media. Look at the Comcast Cares Twitter stream for a great example. Comcast is using social media to fix a fundamental customer service problem.

The important principle to remember: work on getting your fundamentals right – then use social media as a tool. Don’t assume social media will become the solution.

At the end of the day social media is a tool-set, not a business solution.

Start making your business social media ready

Spend the next one to three months finishing your walls. Sit down with your employees and craft some basic guidelines for customer service and sales processes.

A great resource to help you build systems into your business is Michael Gerber’s book The E Myth. It is full of practical advice to make your business run with or without your direct input.

Once you have your business fundamentals figured out you can start layering in social media.

Identify your biggest challenge right now

It doesn’t matter if you’ve already started using social media or not. Spend the next 10 minutes brainstorming five areas in your business that you can improve fundamentally. This will make any social media you do that much more powerful.

Now go take action and let me know your results.

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Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership and How To Use Social Media To Find A Better Job. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter or Google Buzz.

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Comments (3)

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  1. hi! i see your page i think its best for seo which is reach top lavel…ok

  2. Johnn Parker says:

    Hello,
    Vinyl siding is another popular option. It is made from PVC(polyvinyl chloride) plastic, so it won’t rot or flake like wood, but it can crack, fade, or grow dingy over time. Because it is plastic, it is also not considered an environmentally friendly option.
    ____________
    Installing vinyl siding

  3. Johnn Parker says:

    Hello,
    I agree with you. Vilely siding is one of the most important for the home appearance point of view. Secondly it have the low cost and available with in Lot of different design.I wanted to thanks for this great read…
    _________
    Installing vinyl siding

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