This morning on my Facebook timeline I see that a fellow supplier is now on a NEW social media site – Ello. Yes, there’s another one!! I don’t know how long it’s been around or whether or not it will be any good but having a profile on pretty much every other social media site I now felt compelled to join it. But this then makes it the 5th social media site that I am on, and in turn makes it a 5th site I have to watch, monitor, update, and respond to. Do I not have anything better to do with my time, and is social media taking over our lives now??
This led me on to thinking about how much time I actually do spend updating Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, websites……. it’s crazy. So much of my working day is spent checking news feeds for business updates, relevant information, ideas, inspiration, sending messages, responding to messages, advertising services……. and anything else that will help me to keep the business going or bring new ideas to my clients. To be fair the information you can get your hands on online is fantastic, and there’s no better publicity in my eyes than that of personal recommendation, so being up there in front of people wherever they are and all times of the day and night and somewhere where people can publically give you feedback and hopefully praise for your work is invaluable. Does this make the time you spend on updating these sites worthwhile then? But at what cost? What other work doesn’t get done while you’re sat at the PC? How much more productive would the day be without this task? Or would things grind to a halt because all of a sudden you didn’t have instant access to people and their lives, or because then you’d have to spend precious time and money on other forms of advertising, hoping that people see or hear it?
So then there’s the idea of not being on social media at all, but I think we’d all agree that this is business suicide! Long gone are the days of digging out the Yellow Pages when you want to find a business (in fact I can’t remember the last time I saw one!). Where does everyone go now – Google……. or Facebook! I know that I tend to look a business up on Facebook if I want to contact them, and I do this before looking anywhere else for their contact info. You send them a message, and would hope that it’s picked up pretty quickly. You look at their reviews, you look at how many ‘likes’ they have, you look at what sort of things they post and how often. You can tell much more about a company from their profiles. And what about networking? I’ve found it so important to have circles online where I can meet local suppliers, bounce ideas around, share offers and even warnings about situations, and get advice in times of need. Without these sites that would be gone and all of a sudden I’d be alone in the business world, not really in touch with the local businesses. So yes, I believe you do have to have an online presence.
At what point does your business begin to suffer because of it though? A classic example from earlier today for you: I called a large company and their automatic phone message said that there was a minimum of 30 minute wait for calls to be answered (no I’m not joking!) so I sent them a Facebook message. What do you know, it was replied to minutes later. Now is this good customer service because they’ve found an alternative way to respond to customer enquiries, or would those people working on the social media sites be better off getting off the PC and manning the phones???
I personally think that as a company it’s important to find and then carefully maintain the balance in order to provide a great service to your customers. I don’t know what the magic formula for that is, maybe it’s different for each business. If anyone finds it I’d appreciate the info!! Food for thought…….
Have a fabulous day.
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