All the different social media sites can be daunting places to be when you’re in business, however when used right it can generate great outcomes. Most businesses struggle to use it to their benefit as they base all their posts on products that they sell and very little focus on customer’s needs outside the scope of what they want the customer to buy. It’s a voice not just for your business and products, but also for your customers and community. In the wonderful world called social media, on the different platforms and the endless stream of social sites bidding for your attention to join and partake in a sometimes addictive environment where you can tell everybody about everything and have nothing to show for your efforts and nobody interacting with you, it can be hard to get excited. However the opposite is also true. You can talk to an engaged and interested audience about one important item that generates lots of interest and activity, both online and offline. Using social media at it’s best comes when we take the words ‘Social’ and ‘Media’ and apply the literal meaning of the words like a winning formula that can’t be any other way but successful. Think about what you’d talk about over a pint or a coffee. You keep it social and interesting. In many ways what it amounts to is good conversation by somebody who is impassioned about something that affects the masses. A great local example of this is when Jimmy Griffin from Griffins bakery started the online Facebook page: Galway City Car Parking Information from Griffins Bakery, a community page talking about Galway city car parking charges and sharing ideas and discussions about a better approach to the subject. Jimmy is harnessing the voice of the people for fair car parking charges.
On meeting Jimmy upstairs in the bakery I quickly learned why he is so good at social media. Jimmy is good at social. He’s good with customers. He knows them all by name and he takes time to connect and say hello to everybody. He is passionate about his customers, passionate about his business and passionate about getting a solution to a problem that is of no help to his business, his customers or the local community. By creating a platform and communicating to a engaged audience on that platform gives both the creator and the participants a voice that can not be ignored. Jimmy’s car park campaign has been the subject of much radio and print media (including this article), which can create discussion and evoking change. What Jimmy is doing is using his expertise online and his brand to channel the concerns of his customers and potential customers, which otherwise go unheard. Social media gives power to the people. Responses happen faster and the conversations are more heartfelt and honest. When I asked Jimmy his take on social media in business, he said “Social media offers businesses immediate one to one communication with people. It has life and is happening in real time allowing people to communicate their thoughts there and then creating more honest and direct measurable dialogue that is instant.” This is very true on Facebook and Twitter where if you don’t respond or get a response to a post while it is sitting in your newsfeed it fades away; you are only as good as yesterday’s bread. (Excuse the pun!) Jimmy added “It has the power to create anticipation and debate when used in the right way, at the right time and for the right reason when looking to get the right result.” When approaching Social Media ask how you can use the space as a voice for you and for others? How can you respond and get a response that will get people talking? Speak about the things that matter most to your customers and as much as you may like to believe they want to talk about the products you sell, more than likely it’s far from that. At the end of the day, it is all in the name: ‘Social’. Be Social. Nobody wants Spam. Another great plus ‘You get the opportunity to connect with a different audience. If you’re going to be on Facebook or any other social media site, be sure to be social and engaging, just as if you were going to go into a bakery you’d be sure to come out with something sweet!