Using social media in business

With Facebook on the verge of going public this week, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to avoid social media in today’s world. In business, it’s almost unconscionable to not be engaged digitally. But, not everyone knows how to take advantage of the power of social.

Fortunately, TweetSmarter is a blog that offers advice on using social media for business. One of today’s advices is how to respond to customers on social media.

The advice is in the form of a graphical chart from Dell Computers, but it can easily be applied to any business. For a large corporation like Dell, it’s prudent to have a social media policy, even more so since statistics show that customers are using social media more and more as a platform for communication (as of Fall 2011, more than half of all customers reach out to companies via social media). For small to midsize companies, leveraging the reach of social media could do wonders. It could help create, refine and extend your brand. It could get your message across faster, more efficiently, and at a low cost. In addition, it could be used to clear up misconceptions, refute misinformation and debunk outright lies.

While the social graph can benefit all companies across all industries, it is probably a better fit for certain fields. I would think that for collectibles, it’s a match made in heaven. For one, collectors are eager, resourceful and relentless. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are tailor-made for collectors. This community is, if not tight-knit, definitely well-acquainted with one another and word can spread like wildfire.

One of the tips offered in the Dell chart is, “Get to know the community.” A corollary to this point could be, “Don’t ignore the community.” With all things going the way of social, not engaging the public could prove to be a cardinal sin.