Social Media Foundations – Step ZERO

Social Media Foundations - Charley Carlin
Foundation Is First

Social Media Foundations

 

With the catchphrase of Social Media circulating wildly about, I find definitions vary all over the map. Rather than tie anything down or take anyone on about the best definition, I like to think of Social Media as simply communication. Communication with friends, prospects, customers, clients, vendors, suppliers and family. Social Media has been around for thousands of years, just under a few different names. Sitting around the campfire, people would tell stories about what was important to them. Whether it was their family, the local hunting grounds, their history, the weather or the encounters of the day it was Social and it was Communication.

Early Socail Media - Charley Carlin
Early Social media

Moving forward in time travelers were a source of stories and communications from far away places that most would never visit. Social Media in a later era is the newspapers that were inhaled from front to back to see what else might be happening in the town and other far away places.  Move to another era and the radio was a key source of the communications about happenings and prospects for the future. Magazines, newspapers, television, satellite, and internet now bombard many with so much communications that people are completely overwhelmed and often freaked out by the volume and the constant pinging. So what is one to do?

Work on the basics first. As simple as that statement sounds over and over again I encounter people ignoring the basics.

Announce your intentions. Tell everyone you know, encounter, run into, or do business with of your intentions. For the small business this is so critical, especially since your customers may be only in your town, or neighborhood, depending upon your business.

Simple Encounter One:

I tell the story of one fellow who upon simply telling his Facebook friends a tiny bit (a single posting) about his business to be sure they all knew. Well his business had been a bit slow, and then . . . a small flood of requests for work poured in. He got several comments – ‘I did not know you did that’ – concerning his service. Note this was an auto detailer. Since that initial single posting, He has had a nice increase in business. Oh was that simple and easy. Looking for a piece of instant upgrade and no cost. That one is hard to beat.

Simple Encounter Two:

 While I was working with an insurance salesman who was desiring more business and he knew he needed this ‘Social Media’ thing and he wanted work done upon his Facebook and twitter accounts. He had set up accounts over a year before, and they have only languished. I had encountered him before and asked if he had my card. He said yes and started looking through a giant piles of business cards. Are those leads I asked? Yes they are he replied. I said call them all first and add them to you address book properly grouped and get back to me if you still need help.

Woman-with-a-Broom-100x

An old Russian proverb is:

If you want a clean world, clean your own doorstep.

To translate this into social media lingo, clean up your connections, tell people you are in business and follow up with all your current leads first, meanwhile lets start to build your digital footprint. Lets install your Social Media Foundations!  See you in my next posting on Starting Your Social Media Profile.

As Always, Charley Carlin

Author - Charley Carlin
Charley

About the Author: As a Social Media Guide empowering others on the Internet is a passion. Charley lives in beautiful San Luis Obispo County on the central coast of California. Charley is regularly seen every December in a full red suit and hat.  Clear Thought, Clear Vision, and Consistent Action are his mantra. He and his wife, Anet,  travel the southwest extensively.

How Does Your Business Rank?

What Customers Say Can Affect you Business
Want to Find Out How Your Business Rated ? One of the oldest adages is ‘The Customer is always right.’ Is it still true in the context of todays’ social media? Lets take a look at the effect of what customers say can have on your online profile. Lets further look as to how this can have an effect on your business.

When chatting with your customers, it goes without saying to listen to what they have to tell you. If they are raving about your service or product the it is the right time to simply tell them you are on YELP, and TripAdvisor. They already know what to do! You don’t have to ask and some of the fine print in the social websites discourages fishing for ratings.  So, encouraging them to rate your business on YELP.comTripAdvisor.com,  and Google.com is really not necessary.  When you ask customers directly about how you are doing, or did, be prepared for feedback. there are always some customers who will only tell you what is wrong, and some who will carry on until they find something that they can tell you to fix. All of the feedback you receive can be digested and used to improve your operation. Often it is just continuing to do what you are doing! Look for those customers who tell you you did a great job. It seems that the questions you ask and the tenor in which you inquire can be very helpful.

First ask your client if you did a five star job. If they say yes, thank them and tell them you can be found on the web. They know what to do! Thank them.

If the customers says it was not a five star encounter, then ask them what steps you need to make to create a five star experience. You do not have to ask them to rate you on the internet. Instead ask them how you can improve, take notes (even if you are going to throw them away), thank them and make whatever adjustments you think need to be made.

The ratings on these site is important to your business. Trip Advisor is very important if you have international customers (especially Hotels, Restaurants and Bars). They are scoured by people outside the United States and affect their decisions where to stop, what to see and what to eat when traveling in the USA.

A note on Yelp Ratings, Google Ratings, TripAdvisor  ratings for you. You will over time collect ratings for your business. Hopefully they will all be good, however, some people use these sites as a place to post complaints. As business owner you can respond to the complaints and this shows you care and are responsive. Be Creative.  You can find a way to say something nice the the complainer and be able to show the others who read this that you are and engaged business person. Some business people use this as an excuse or reason not to use these site. Whether you use them or not, they are there and the world is using them. With this in mind you must leverage these sites to your business advantage. If your have 99 wonderful ratings and 1 garbage rating, don’t worry too much as people tend to see that the complainer has usually only done one rating and has no friends on the given website. Additionally the 99 wonderful ratings will leave your overall average very very high. If you only have 3 ratings and some are up and some are down, your overall rating will suffer. On most of these sites the business owner can sometimes respond to the rating and give it an answer the problem and respond to it straightforward and compassionate fashion can actually shows true concern for all customers. So check your ratings often, respond to any perceived problems, and move forward. Likewise you can thank people who rate you highly, as this help encourage them to do more good ratings.

Now in the town where you live and do business (whether the same or different) there are businesses you deal with and some you like, maybe some you don’t like as well. Here is an important tip. Sometimes people think it is important to complain about competitors, or other people you may not care about. My take is simple. Rate the ones you like. Rate the ones you want to stay in business. Say something good or move on. As the old adage goes, ‘If you can’s say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’ or in the words of Dale Carnegie from “How to win friends and Influence People” ‘Don’t criticize condemn or complain.’ Help the businesses you love, like, and want to stay operational. Your ratings count and we all need to do our part of the rating system as well. The world and other businesses needs our opinions too! More to come.

Following many of these tip and your answer to How is Your Business Rated ? will surely be looking up.

Author - Charley Carlin
Charley

About the Author: As a Social Media Guide empowering others on the Internet is a passion. Charley lives in beautiful San Luis Obispo County on the central coast of California. Charley is regularly seen every December in a full red suit and hat.  Clear Thought, Clear Vision, and Consistent Action are his mantra. He and his wife, Anet,  travel the southwest extensively.