I have never doubted the power of social media, but personal experience over the past 24 hours has provided more than adequate proof that there is an enormous latent force waiting for business communicators to tap into.
In yesterday’s blog post (see below) I encouraged the use of Twitter for gathering business information, as well as disseminating it. I posted links to the blog on Twitter and LinkedIn, to alert my followers and contacts.
I’d also mentioned a Twitter service provider in the text, so I sent a personal courtesy message to its founder. He generously Tweeted his huge following with a link to my blog.
The effect of this expanded social media exposure (plus any other links that may have been posted without my knowledge) was to produce the largest number of hits my website has seen in a single day so far. It also led to some very positive comments, public and private.
This confirms the view that social media hold the key to increased website traffic. I believe people generally search for and visit websites to satisfy their immediate needs, but they can be tempted to click elsewhere if a sufficiently strong artificial need is created – in this case, an ‘authority’s’ suggestion that they could benefit from reading my blog.
Many companies spend large sums to maintain a presence on the web, even if their business is not dependent on e-commerce. A website is a ‘must’ these days – as is optimising it for better performance on the search engines. Even if the site is only there to showcase the company and its expertise it can be a costly drain unless there is an all-out effort to drive people to it.
A good social media following of customers and prospects is the solution – coupled with enticing Tweets linking to fresh, informative and thought-provoking content. And once they’re on your site, invite people to bookmark it and view the rest of your content.
Now, please feel free to interact via the comment and share facilities below. Use the links on the left to navigate the rest of this site and please remember to add it to your favourites for visits in the future. And don’t forget to follow me (@davidgoddin) on Twitter!
Are you living on a one-way Tweet – or are you responding to Twitter traffic in the opposite direction?
This question is primarily directed at companies that Tweet a fair amount and are happy to welcome followers – but don’t generally follow back. Ironically, those like this among the companies that I’m following may never read this post, because they won’t have seen the promotional Tweet (unless they are following somebody who happens to Retweet it).
As I have said in the past, I’m flattered to receive new followers on Twitter, but I am selective about following back because I don’t want my incoming stream clogged with Tweets that are irrelevant to my needs. I might add that my interpretation of ‘relevance’ is fairly generous, so rest assured I don’t lightly take a decision not to follow back .
Judging from the results recently when I once again invoked TwitCleaner* to scan the Twitter accounts that I’ve been following, there’s a lot of companies that routinely don’t follow back – and I’m not complaining about the ‘Breaking News’ and similar accounts that are obviously one-way.
Companies that don’t follow others are at risk of missing out on important sources of news, advice and – most significantly – business intelligence. There’s much superfluous information in Twitter, but there’s also much of potentially great value. And this is why I urge businesses to see Twitter as a two-way street.
Many companies, I suspect, have launched wildly into Twitter and other social media because it’s the thing to do, the place to be seen in. Many managers have grudgingly bowed to the advice of others and reluctantly allowed social media to become part of the corporate communication arsenal.
Sadly, the responsibility for maintaining the social media presence is often delegated to junior employees with insufficient time to do the job properly, and possibly not enough skill to recognise potentially valuable incoming information. Small companies might find it particularly difficult for any staff member to devote time to the Twitter account – but ignoring it could be to their cost.
Admittedly, Twitter can be addictive, but with disciplined use it can also be a powerful tool for sending and receiving messages. Make sure you are on a two-way Tweet!
*TwitCleaner categorises the less-than-perfect accounts you have been following, and enables you to selectively unfollow those that are no longer adding value. For more, click thetwitcleaner.com
How well does your business communicate? Before you answer, think carefully about every aspect of your communication with customers, suppliers, staff and any others you interact with on a regular basis. Then ask yourself: Can we communicate more effectively?
The answer is always ‘yes’ because communication is not a precise science and there is always scope for improvement. Opportunities for communicating are constantly evolving – and even the channels through which we communicate are in ongoing development.
Companies that merely survive need to make communication their top priority. Those that succeed are probably communicating reasonably well – but even they could do better. At the other end of the scale, businesses that do not communicate externally will lose their customers, while those that ignore internal communication are well on the way to becoming ‘sick’ organisations.
So what can you do to claim a place on the success ladder?
David Goddin was born in the UK and educated in South Africa. He began his career on daily newspapers and trade journals, before moving into public relations consulting. He produced award-winning writing and became an Accredited PR Practitioner, the highest qualification of the Public Relations Institute of South Africa. Since his return to the UK 17 years ago he has also contributed to a number of highly successful PR and marketing communications campaigns for major national and multinational clients. He is currently also President of the Haslemere & District Chamber of Trade & Commerce.