Social Media for Better Business

Article by:
Dave Kerpen ,EO New York
Conor Neill
EO Spain-Barcelona

Dave Kerpen is CEO of Likeable.com. E-mail Dave at [email protected].

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of socia media, you’ve seen “Follow us on Twitter” everywhere and you, like 500 million others, have a Facebook profile. As a savvy entrepreneur, you realize how big social media is becoming, but what can it actually do for your company? Here’s how I leverage social media for better business:

Generate Inbound Leads
Your future customers are waiting for you online. You can either join the conversation or let them talk about you without responding. Don’t believe me? Go to http://search.twitter.com and search your name, your company’s name and your competitors’ names. It’s amazing what you’ll uncover! You can also go to the Google Blog search page and look for keywords describing what you do. By engaging the people who visit your site, you can attract plenty of new clients. These people visited your site for a reason; a casual conversation may yield a promising prospect. We’ve landed dozens of clients by simply answering people’s questions on Twitter and Facebook.

Listen to Real-Time Feedback and Focus Groups
There’s a fine line between online customer service and marketing, and leveraging your Web base achieves both. Who better to help your business than your current customers and those who know you? Listen to what they’re saying, help solve their problems, and if they’re not saying anything yet, ask them. You’ll be surprised to know what your Web site visitors can contribute to your business.

Leverage the Web for Hiring
Long gone are the days in which you learned about a prospective hire from a resume. We advise our clients to use Facebook, LinkedIn, and my personal favorite, Pipl.com, to screen candidates. It’s a quick, cheap and easy way to engage prospective employees without the hassle or stress or scheduling. More important, you can quickly determine whether or not someone would be a good fit through a few simple clicks of the mouse.

Enhance Internal Communications
The same technologies that millions of people use to connect publicly online can be used privately among your team to collaborate more efficiently. Two tools we use are Yammer and GoogleWave. Yammer is a lot like Twitter, only private, soemployees can share short messages. If someone wants to know where a file is, for instance,she can post on Yammer and anyone on staff can answer her question. GoogleWave is an application for real-time communication that is, in Google’s words, “equal parts conversation and document.” This software lets you communicate and collaborate in real time.

Cut Operational Costs
At a time when most entrepreneurs are concerned about spending, it is understandable to have concerns about how much time and money you should spend on social media. The good news is that a lot can be done with careful use of your time and your team’s time. By leveraging free software online and embracing your existing Web base, you can cut down on the money you spend for traditional marketing, public relations and sales.

These lessons are just the tip of the iceberg. I believe that social media will be nothing short of revolutionary in changing the way organizations do business, and it will afford all of us new ways to land clients, obtain feedback, hire, improve communication, cut costs and more.


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