Getting Social in Security

Tips for using social media to your company’s advantage


LinkedIn

Too many people think LinkedIn is just for people looking for a job. While that may often be true, many look to the site for business and industry information. LinkedIn groups have become a popular way for people to connect and share information and experience with others within a similar profession.

We made sure that we kept all of our client's SMEs' (Subject Matter Experts) LinkedIn pages up to date by adding expertise, biographical information, articles, whitepapers and information on media interviews. We also made sure that the SME LinkedIn profiles included the appropriate company Twitter and blog feeds. At the same time we researched LinkedIn groups that fit the expertise and background of the SMEs and made sure that they joined those groups. Any appropriate whitepapers, blogs or articles were posted as status updates and also posted to the appropriate group pages.

LinkedIn also offers applications that allow the sharing of documents, presentation slides and files with your connections. It is a great way to make sure that these materials are being shared with a targeted audience that has already shown an interest in you and/or your industry.

Tips for using LinkedIn

  • Make sure you are using all of the applications offered.
  • Twitter and blog feeds on LinkedIn help to continue to position SMEs as experts.
  • Keep profiles updated – change out profile photos now and then.

Complaints

We have talked a little about how to handle complaints on social media sites, but it is worth going into more depth because complaints are one of the main reason companies stay away from social media. Our B2B social sites had very few negative comments. It was the B2C sites that attracted more customer attention. Social media gives customers a very public way to voice their complaints. It can be scary to have a follower on Twitter post a complaint for everyone to see about a service call or a piece of equipment. What company wants to invite that type of interaction? But, there is another way to look at candid remarks by your customers. Getting direct information from your customers is incredibly valuable. It is information that you can act upon and use. It quickly points out areas that may need improvement or that are weak spots in your system. Being afraid of what your customers will say is like sticking your head in the sand. Social media is public relations and marketing, but it is also a valuable customer service tool. While the complaints are very public, so is your response. If you handle the complaints quickly and professionally your followers will notice. People don't expect perfection. They expect that every company will have some customer service issues. It is how you deal with those issues that really shows your commitment to your customers.

Tips for handling complaints:

  • Acknowledge a complaint as quickly as possible. You might not have the right answer for the complaint, but you should comment on Facebook or Twitter as quickly as possible. Let the customer know you are working on an answer or invite them to contact you directly for more information.
  • In the terms of use for your social media platforms, make sure that you spell out what is acceptable on your site. If you don't want people using profanity make sure that is listed there. Then, if you delete a posting you can point to your terms of use as the reason for the deletion.
  • Have qualified customer service people on your social media team.

The social media program that we worked on was an integrated part of a total program that included traditional media and new media. These elements do not stand alone. They are most powerful when they are coordinated to work together. That said, it is also important not to over extend your resources. For most companies, taking on all of these elements at the same time could be overwhelming and end up sinking the entire digital campaign. Adding them one at a time and getting them established before adding another platform is usually the smart approach.