It's undeniable that we are in the era of social media. It's no longer a bonus for companies to have an active presence on Twitter and Facebook - it's become a necessity. If you can't interact with your followers in an effective way via social media, you're a step behind the competition.
And it's all about connection, relevance, and preserving your reputation.
That's the message from consultant, angel investor and HARO founder Peter Shankman. He spoke at the BlogWorld Expo about maintaining your reputation as a business in the era of social media.
His first point is that the customer controls the direction of your company.
"You don't control the direction of your company. The direction of your company is controlled by your customers. If you don't listen to your customers you will be out of business. Shut the hell up and listen, everyone."
He went on to talk about Twitter, and how the concept of Twitter is what's important. The connection with customers needs to exist elsewhere, however.
"Understand that twitter is a tool. Embrace the concept, not the brand. Twitter is pets.com waiting to happen"
Controlling your reputation is very important.
“Your reputation is all you got,” and it’s no one’s fault but yours if it’s bad, he said. “I’ve never in my life seen a security setting that protects you from stupid.”
That's why he says he never takes his camera phone out when he's drinking. People need to be aware of what they do in public and know that it can blow back on you. Everyone has cameras on their phones now, and in the world of social media, everyone is just one upload away from a screwup.
He says that being relevant with your audience is key. And that relevance will translate into loyalty:
"Relevance is the only way you can get in touch with your audience. Having an audience is a privilege not a right - spandex is a privilege not a right. If you're relevant your audience will stand up for you when you screw up. Listen to your audience and they will tell you what they want."
When using social media, make sure you use it properly. That means spelling, grammar, word usage. This stuff really hurts your reputation when you get it wrong. This point really hit home with the audience, as you can see from the Twitter chatter:
Peter Shankman- "bad writing is killing America. learn how to write. " Amen!
In the end, it's about having fun. And working. Or having fun while your work, according to Shankman.
"If you don't stop and smell the roses, it's all bullshit."
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