oops_istock_000008179465xsmallWhat happens these days when we get stuck in traffic, the airline loses our luggage, or the copier at work is jammed? Tweet about it, of course. Or blog. Or Facebook. Sure, we’ve all done it. Even on our business profiles.

And why not? It is social media, after all — a chance to show the personal side of business. For professionals, social media sites allow us to chat, vent, joke, commiserate, and share experiences with people who (we hope) will understand.

If a service provider gives you terrible service, it can be good to share that information (in the clearest, most constructive voice you can muster). Companies should be aware of this facet of social media and see it as an opportunity to respond and improve their service.  But it’s different when you’re sharing gripes about your clients and customers. 

While it may be tempting to jump on Twitter or Facebook when you’re irritated about a client forgetting to return your call or not listening to your excellent advice, don’t do it.  No matter how well you think you veil your comments in anonymity, you can never be sure who’s watching and reading between the lines.
 
Of course, you may not care about keeping an offending client, but what about the others? What other clients or potential clients are noticing those posts?  People don’t have to be registered with sites like Twitter to see your tweets, you know. What do they think about them?  Your complaint may be perfectly valid and worthy of a witty or scathing comment. Yet, are you absolutely sure you’re portraying the professional image you want industry leaders and potential clients to see?

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and the like are making it easier than ever to share how we’re feeling in the moment.  But never, ever forget: those tweets and posts are public and permanent.  Did you know the U.S. Library of Congress is archiving every public Tweet you send? And who knows what Facebook is going to do with all our information.  That should give us all pause. 

Always be mindful of your public persona and brand on social media.

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Have you ever attended a class or seminar that taught you everything you wanted to know about a business concept except how to apply it in real life? By the end, your head is swimming with theories. You know why you should do it. You just have no idea HOW to do it.

CMI HomeWell, if content marketing is high on your priority list to implement in your business, there’s good news. Joe Pulizzi, author of Get Content, Get Customers, and his team at the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) have purposely built their site around practical, how-to information and advice.

In their own words: “We launched the Content Marketing Institute in May 2010 as a meeting ground for the brightest minds to give you real-world how-to advice about content marketing in any venue: online, mobile, in-person and in print. No fluff, just practical insights.”

The Content Marketing Institute blog is at the top of my reading list so when Michele Linn, CMI’s Executive Editor and co-founder of Savvy B2B Marketing, asked me to become a CMI contributor, I was thrilled to say the least. What an honor to write alongside the brilliant contributors CMI has gathered. And how exciting to interact with and learn from the global professionals visiting CMI daily.

If you haven’t already discovered this gem, take a few minutes today to browse through the Content Marketing Institute blog. You won’t be disappointed.

Now, before you go, tell me:  
What are your top 3 “how-to” questions about using content marketing in your business? 

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A study by Alterian earlier this year revealed that only 16% of people surveyed in the US and UK thought companies were "genuinely interested in them." That may not surprise you. However, this might: the number more than doubled for those using social media — 33%. Then again, that shouldn't be surprising either.

As customers, we want to be heard. We want to know that our concerns matter. We want to feel as if we have some connection and influence. We like the idea of having the inside track on deals and information.

Social media — including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs — are meeting those needs in ways other marketing and communication vehicles don't, driving more and more consumers and businesses to seek online social interaction and influence when making buying decisions.

So, if you've been wavering about whether your company can benefit from social media involvement, maybe you should look at it from another point of view. Will your customers benefit from you engaging with them via social media? That question seems to have a clear answer, which means companies that use social media in smart, genuine, and engaging ways are gaining an edge.

If you're worried about biting off more than you can chew and not being able to sustain an appropriate activity level, take little bites. There's no rule that says you have to use every available social channel. Look at what others in your industry are doing. See where their customers are responding and how. Then decide what best fits your own client base.

Resources:

Hubspot has put together a useful ebook (Online Marketing Opportunity Report: Social Media, Blog and Search Engine Activity by Industry) to help you evaluate online activity within your specific industry. (Thanks to Sarah Mitchell — who, by the way, is doing fantastic things with social media — for her helpful blog article highlighting this resource.)

This in-depth article about Social CRM from Mashable is a great place to start if you want to know more about using social media for Customer Relationship Management.

Social Media B2B is, you guessed it, a wonderful resource for business-to-business (B2B) companies using social media.

Social Media Marketing Magazine is a new online publication filled with information from some of the brightest minds in social media for business.

If you're using LinkedIn, check out the Social Media Marketing group. There's a wealth of knowledge shared there daily.

Related Posts:

9 Things European B2B Professionals Should Know About Twitter

 

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