Yep, those are pretty strong words. And when it comes to your online presence—your website, your paid marketing, and your social media—I’m not kidding. Things are growing and changing in the online world at such a rapid pace, you simply cannot ignore what’s happening and hope to stay competitive.
The search engines are rapidly changing the ways in which they rank websites, and social proof, consumer engagement, and fresh content are becoming more and more relevant each year. And these are all the things that social media engagement offers your business.
But many of the CEOs I currently speak with are still in an evaluation period regarding using social media. Their question: “Should we or shouldn’t we?” I’m sure you’ve heard all the arguments already as to why you MUST engage… so what’s the hold-up?
I’ve found that both corporate legal teams as well as the older demographic among the leadership are frequently paralyzed by fear, creating inactivity that can be silently eroding your market share.
If this is where your company is at regarding using social media, you are not alone.
Let’s open that dark closet and shine a light on some of these fears, to see if they are warranted or not, and how you can safely and successfully move through them.
Do you have any of these social media fears or concerns?
Employee participation or misuse:
- How will getting involved with social media affect their productivity?
- What if our employees share something inappropriate over the net?
- What if they give away corporate intelligence, intellectual property—or worse yet, our company’s recipe for “secret sauce”?
- What happens if we open up our firewall to these social media profiles?
- Does IT know the protocols to open up those portals without jeopardizing internal databases and internal systems?
- Are we liable for anything any employee puts out there?
- What about false claims? Are we liable for those?
- What about disgruntled employees or former employees with a grudge posting on our social sites in a damaging way?
- What if our accounts are hacked, landing us in a public relations nightmare?
The Bottom Line:
- What resources will it take to build a whole new department to handle a social media program?
I’m not going to try and sweet talk you—these are legitimate concerns for any company. And we didn’t even talk about the biggie yet, reputation. What about unhappy customers sounding off online for all the world to hear? The fact is, no matter how golden your products and how sterling your customer service, you will occasionally have disgruntled customers.
You could run into “that guy,” the one who posts nasty reviews all over the net… the one who sets up a Facebook profile saying your company sucks… or that CEO nightmare in which he even launches a site called YourCompanySucks.com.
There are people who really will make it their life’s work to ruin your brand. It has happened; we’ve all heard the horror stories. But, here’s the important thing to know: avoiding social media will do nothing to solve the problem. People are already talking about your brand online—it’s a fact of the twenty first century. So do you want to engage in the conversation, and turn it to your advantage… or do you want to play ostrich, stick your head in the sand, and risk winding up as extinct as the dodo? (Pardon my mixed metaphor.)
Although using social media will not prevent unhappy customers, it can give you a proactive approach that will keep you dominating the search results under your name.
If Someone Searches Your Brand…This Is What You Want Them to See on the Search Results Page:
• Your paid ad (PPC)
• Your corporate website (OurCompany.com)
• Your blog (blog.OurCompany.com)
• Your Facebook page (Facebook.com/OurCompany)
• Your YouTube channel (YouTube.com/OurCompany)
• Your LinkedIn (Linkedin.com/OurCompany)
• Your Tweets and Twitter Account (Twitter.com/OurCompany)
Why Have All Those Sites?
Simple! You’ve now taken up almost all ten spots on the search results page of Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. In other words, you will own the page. Customers searching for you will see everything you have to offer, as opposed to any disgruntled websites trashing your organization or products.
And talk about an SEO boost, if you truly engage on these sites, providing fresh content, promotions, contests, and incentives for your fans to interact with you.
My recommendation to companies who are fearful about getting into social media is…
Embrace social media and walk through the fear. Every day you don’t set up social media (because of fear) is another day given to your competitors to be at least one step ahead of you. You are literally handing the competition the advantage!
Want an SEO roadmap, giving you the steps you need to take to bring your leadership on board, quell their fears, and show you exactly how to engage in social media the “right way?”
Check out Thumbonomics: The Essential Business Roadmap for Social Media and Mobile Marketing, available on Amazon.com.
Author, Internet Marketing Speaker, Trainer and Consultant