how to use social media for business

Can you be Dr. Jekyll AND Mr. Hyde on Facebook?

By Social Media

It’s a challenge many of us face — straddling the chasm between our personal and professional lives or the personality we have among friends and the personality we have with, say, our grandmothers.

It’s not that we’re necessarily two different people altogether, it’s just that some content we want to share with friends, and some we really don’t want our grandma to see.

So who to be on Facebook, Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde? And can you successfully manage being two different people on that social network? 

My first piece of advice is this: DO NOT HAVE TWO DIFFERENT PROFILES. First of all, it’s weird. Second, it makes it really hard for people to figure out which one of you they should be friends with.

Instead, manage who sees what by developing lists. For some, that list may be “Grandma and Mom,” or “Colleagues,” or “Exes from Texas.” The other list, the one you share ALL your crazy stuff with, may be simply “Friends.”

For me, I have lists like “Besties” and “Charlottesville” — the town where I live. I have “Business Contacts” and “Family.” Separating my friends into categories serves another purpose; it keeps me from boring the pants off of the people who just don’t really care about my Pinterest pins, my social activities or my cousin’s wedding.

This means, of course, that I have to manage my posting more carefully — I have to actually select to whom any given post is visible. It takes work!

Is it worth it? Well, for those of you struggling to maintain some kind of illusion with your grandmother, I suppose it is.

To get started, click on Friends in the sidebar and Create List. Give your list a name you’ll remember so you can, at a glance, know who’s included in that distribution.

Now, when I post an update, I can select from my list to decide who gets to see that update. For example, if I want to post something relevant to my St. Louis friends, I would select only that list.

It’s a bit cumbersome, sure, but can save a few embarrassing conversations with Grandma over the Thanksgiving turkey.

Facebook has also built in a setting that defaults to the LAST LIST TO WHICH YOU POSTED. So be careful to select the right audience before you post.

Editor’s note: Seriously — go see Jekyll and Hyde at Play On Theatre in Charlottesville this week — it’s spooktacular!

New: Endorse Your Contacts on LinkedIn

By Social Media

As a LinkedIn user, you may have noticed that you’re suddenly racking up endorsements as fast as an Olympic athlete. Since you can’t seem to recall your medal-winning athleticism, you may be wondering, what the heck is going on here?

LinkedIn launched a new feature to allow its users to “endorse” — with one click — the skills people in their network claim to have. Here’s a sample from my own account:

As a bonus, LinkedIn will e-mail you to let you know who endorsed you and for what — extra points if your employees or customers endorse you out of the blue — you’re doing a good job!

I like this feature for a couple of reasons:

  1. It doesn’t require the user to request the endorsement of their contacts.
  2. You list the skills and expertise you have and others select from your list.
  3. It provides a quick and easy way to recognize others for their capabilities — we often get hung up on the crafting of the perfect testimonial recommendation — this takes that cumbersome task out of the picture.

Endorse someone today!

What Social Data Really Tells Us

By Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Uncategorized

This is a VERY interesting infographic from the geniuses at Pivot, presented by that other genius Brian Solis.  It highlights what Brian likes to call The Perception Gap, or the difference between what marketers THINK their customers want versus what the customers actually TELL us they want. It’s a fascinating link worth checking out. While I wait.

OK, now that you’ve seen it, here is what I took from it:

Businesses, regardless of how much they blab about wanting to use social platforms to really get to know their customers, still operate from a blind spot oriented towards their own best interests. 

Which is to say, they OVERESTIMATE customers’ interest in things that are easy for these businesses to provide, like “product information,” and woefully UNDERESTIMATE for things that are more difficult or expensive to provide, like discounts and rewards and exclusive content.

What’s the upshot? USE THE DATA, MR. MARKETER!!! Don’t hide in the sand, own the reality and give them what they actually say they want, not what’s easiest for you! That’s how you’ll get them to become loyal to you.

Happy marketing!

Want More Sales? Trust in Me!

By Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Media, Social Media

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about sales and how social platforms and processes have affected them. Sales, in case we’ve all forgotten, is the mother of all ROIs. No matter what marketing or business development efforts you engage in, the rubber meets the proverbial road at sales. Did all our effort generate more closed business, or didn’t it?

The social, mobile web has unleashed a torrent of attention deficit issues. There are so many “opportunities” thrown at us everywhere, so many chances to “connect” and “share” anytime that it takes a LOT to get our attention, and the usual cold call or marketing drivel just doesn’t make the grade. At all. As soon as we see an ad, we’re out. To make matters worse (for the seller), we can get most of the information we need to make a decision online these days. To rise above the crowd, companies need a serious advantage, a serious leg up. So what is that leg up?


Trust? Wow, OK. So how do you build that with perfect strangers when you’re under a lot of pressure to close new business from the higher-ups? Well, it’s not simple, but it’s well worth the effort. The good news is that one really great feature of all these amazing new social, digital and mobile platforms is that they provide an unprecedented opportunity to LISTEN and absorb conversations that may be taking place around your brand, industry, and process that were never previously available. That means that if you choose, you can start anticipating your customers’ needs by paying attention the conversations they are already having without you. It’s like 24-7 market research that helps you know when and how to interact with a potential customer so that your abilities are aligned with his needs.

Will this chair fit in my office? When’s the payback on that power purchase agreement? Do I need seven or eight generators to run my office? What’s the best way to select a delivery company? When you couple listening with a decent content development strategy, you can become the go-to thought leader in your space because you listened to these questions and created content to proactively answer them. Trust can be further established, often with people you haven’t even talked to yet.

So when you DO finally choose to engage in a sales call, you might have already provided the answers to a potential customer’s business problem via some other process like a white paper, tweet or an online referral. If you offer those solutions freely, in a consultative way, even more trust can be established. You have the proper context at the right time to sell successfully. At that point, it’s not even selling—it’s helping.

To win business these days, you have to be engaged in a lot more places, and over a longer period, to establish trust. Trust is the only way to hold a prospect’s attention in the attention deficit world.