Tapping into social mediaAs the client guy for we do communications I often talk to new clients. Once we start talking about the social web, I always ask them what their perception is of ‘social media’ and its business value.

In my experience there are two distinct categories of prospects: the ones that want to ‘tap into social media’ and the ones that want social media to tap into them.

Let me explain.

The first group sees a big marketing opportunity because of the sheer volume of people active in social media. They see social media as a new way to increase reach. They see new media channels to market their products. They want to tap into social media by doing the same stuff they have always done: promote, advertise, get noticed, make noise.

The other group recognizes that there is something different going on. They see social media as a new way to interact with their customers, prospects and stakeholders. A different kind of contact. More intense. More personal. More social. They recognise that it changes the way they communicate and do business.

So, what the deal with social? What is social media really about?

Well, if you look up the word ‘social’ on Wikipedia you get all kinds of fuzzy definitions and concepts. So, let me give you mine:

‘Social’ means to share or give something to someone else without an immediate forfeit.

The question is now: how can you make social work for your business?

The answer: add value. With everything you do. Really add value. Without an immediate forfeit.

But surely there is a pay-off somewhere at the end of the rainbow? Isn’t there?

Yes. There is:

People start liking you.

Some call it whuffie, social capital, kudos, whatever you want to call it. That’s the Holy Grail of social media.

It makes people Trust you. It makes people come to you, instead of you finding them with broadcast marketing. It makes people want to follow you, talk about you, buy from you.

And in a world with over 200 million websites; Trust is a pretty big thing. So, in my view that’s the business value of social media.

But it’s not going to come easy. You need to change the way you think. You need to think targeted. One on one. You need to start connecting with real people. Engage in conversation with them. Publish valuable content. Offer great customer service. And above all: offer great products and services.

So, get inspired. Let social media tap into you.

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