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Does Social Media Really Work for Business?

Social mediums deliver an opportunity for engagement for business and for personal brands

New Media on Ulitzer

In West Texas, we have wind gust that match no other; we love our football; sunsets are at their best with no trees to block your view; oil means a lot to us and Tuesday is for  tacos!  Kent Dean, Director of Field Marketing, with Rosa’s Café recently spoke to our local chapter of the American Advertising Federation.  They are so well known for their Taco Tuesdays that when he throws out the statement, “It’s Tuesday” on their Facebook pages hundreds of responses come in immediately with fans chiming in that it’s “Taco Tuesday”. His topic focused on social media – does it really work for business?

Mexican FoodEngaging and entertaining, Kent shared how Rosa’s has capitalized with brand advocates and a loyal customer base that were fast becoming active evangelists for their brand.  He outlined some best s practices for their brand from “Rosa’s Point of View”.

This list is also great for personal brands.  Why?  As we become more and more active in the social space, personal profiles and personal fan pages become even more prolific.  Even our local newspaper’s editors and reporters have their own fan page and are understanding that social media is NOT about mass communication but more about one-on-one engagement. And, after all company’s are a culture made up of personal brands.  In fact,  a brandido (term of endearment for those who chat on the weekly #brandchat conversation on Twitter) stated it best when he said “personal brands” in companies perhaps should be called “personnel brands”.

1. Solicit responses in your posts; be authentic and approachable

#brandchat The same holds true for a personal brand.  Positioning doesn’t work. Canned answers are seen just as that – canned and fake.  And the fake it till you make it practices, went away with the typewriter.  If you have a personal page, be authentic. If you have a blog, let people make comments, let them connect with you and create conversation.

In fact, during a recent #brandchat conversation that I moderate on Twitter, Neil McKenzie shared:  Personal branding is bigger than just a career a advancement tool – a life advancement tool. And, many agreed.  It is a life advancement tool.  So, in your interactions, online and off-line, are you advancing your relationships and staying true to your own vision, purpose, values and passions?

2.  Have a normal conversation online as you would off-line and ask questions

I loved this as Kent approached the audience role-playing an online interaction in “real life”.  Would we have walked into the meeting today and just walked up to someone and just said “I like ad club.”  Or, would we walk up and say “The food is good.”  Or, even “Consider coming back.”  We would look “odd” at best, wouldn’t we?

I learned the best lesson quite some time ago and that is…the person that’s asking the questions is the one who is in control of the conversation.  The key there is that you’re having a conversation.  You’re not just barking out updates, or broadcasting information you’re having a conversation which means there’s an exchange between you and someone else.

3. Respond to criticism publicly and be sincere

That response, if someone’s criticizing you or has a complaint, could be that you are contacting them right now for a personal connection and to completely understand their concern.  That’s a valid response as others in the social space are watching.

4.  Don’t just talk about business

It’s funny how big businesses and brands work to be more human online while some people work to be more business like online.  Here’s where knowing your top five brand attributes come into play. Whether you’re talking business or personal information, if you stay within the context of your attributes and be mindful that the conversation is ‘online’ (meaning everyone’s watching) you will do well.

According to Kent, what do social mediums deliver?  They deliver an opportunity for engagement and I wholeheartedly agree – for business and for personal brands.

Cross-posted on TheBuzz101

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More Stories By Maria Elena Duron

Maria Elena Duron is chief buzz officer, coach and speaker with buzz2bucks.com. Buzz2Bucks | a word of mouth firm serves as the community manager around your personal or business brand online and offline, and coaches community managers on how to be buzz-worthy. Buzz2Bucks is known for the talk that yields profits. She is author of the book "Mouth to Mouth Marketing" and the ebook "Social I.R.A." She's been quoted as a marketing and word of mouth expert by Entrepreneur Magazine and contributes to several publications and is the creator of #brandchat, a weekly twitter conversation about all aspects of branding. She broadcasts weekly as the business coach with CBS7. Duron will speak at the 2009 Massachusetts Conference for Women

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