Social media fluency key to success

By Paul Charman

Just having a presence in social media won't add value unless it's done correctly.
Just having a presence in social media won't add value unless it's done correctly.

Social media is acknowledged to be powerful, but - like learning Mandarin - many managers and businesses owners put the task of learning how to use it correctly on a very long to-do-list.

To be fair to them, quantifiable results from being involved in social media are hard to measure.

But arguably we're now in a social media era.

Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are having an impact on personal communications comparable to the introduction of the telephone more than 100 years ago.

Probably it was difficult for early adopters of this technology to measure a resulting increase in business also.

What is obvious is that all the big players, such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks (and closer to home Air New Zealand) employ small armies of staff to monitor and take part in conversations about them on social media networks.

"Kiwi business people tend to be less savvy in this regard than their counterparts in America, or Australia," points out Jeremy Marks, a director of the social media and digital marketing agency, Mosh.

"We're a nation of do-it-yourselfers, and while we see the potential, many of us just figure that it should be no different with social media."

Jeremy and his partners update business owners on social media how it is affecting the marketplace.

They also offer organisational training - getting staff to the degree of fluency required.

It takes knowledge, time and effort to upskill to a level whereby your business is harnessing it correctly, he warns.

"Just having a presence in social media won't add much value unless it's done correctly.

"Some companies are frightened of what people might say about them on Facebook, but people are going to say things about you anyway. And when they do say negative things, you can actually capture that and use it to your advantage.

"Yes, some idiots out there are just after some free product, or just keen to have a rant.

"But increasingly, users of the social media are savvy enough to evaluate and recognise this for what it is.

"The holy grail is to build up a community for your company's goods or services. Then if somebody is out to get you, that community can actually come to your defence."

- NZ Herald

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