You may have thought the BeeGees had three members (OK, four if you include Andy). But our social media BeeGees are actually five in number.
Lately we’ve been asked by some pretty smart folks about what our social media strategy is and how we’ve been using social media to help our small business grow. In thinking about the answer to this question, I’ve come up with what really is at the heart of what we as a company strive to do. It’s not as much of a strategy as it is a philosophy. And because we’re BatchBlue, there had to be some disco involved just to keep it fun.
“B.G.” in this case stands for “Be Good“. These five principles drive everything we do, from late-night work sessions, to customer feature request reviews at staff meetings, to raising money for local food shelters. So crank up the hi-fi, put your earphones on and settle back to enjoy the high-pitched melodic stylings of the BeeGees of Social Media:
1. Be Good at your product or service. There’s no sense in trying to sell a product that you don’t believe in. It’s a waste of your time and your potential customers’ time. Make your product or service awesome. If you make widgets, they should be the best darn widgets out there. If you polish widgets, they should end up really, really shiny. And, more importantly, help make your customers be awesome in using your great, shiny widgets. They will love you for it.
2. Be Good at customer service. Customers should always have a good experience with your company, even if they decide not to use your product or service. Who wants to have a bad experience when trying to get something done? Nobody, that’s who. The new numbers floating around indicate that a happy customer will tell three people, but now thanks to the power of social media, an unhappy customer can reach an average of 3,000. You want happy customers — the numbers prove it.
And, not only do customers give you a chance to get valid feedback on your product or service, they often have suggestions that will wildly improve it. Therefore, you should also…
3. Be Good at listening. Like it or not, people are out there talking about your company. A social media-savvy company will be all ears, listening what people love or hate about them and responding where appropriate. Have a blog? Open comments and respond to each one. If you have folks who are passionate about your product or company, look at hosting a forum where they can talk to you and to each other. Ning is a great, free networking site where like-minded people can come together to discuss things, and you need virtually no technical knowledge to set it up.
Monitor your brand on Twitter using Twitter search to see what folks are saying there. Type in your company’s name and “sucks” in Google search to see if anyone is damaging your brand without you knowing it. Again, the conversations are happening out there – and no one likes it when people talk behind their back, right?
4. Be Good at sharing. In his new book Outliers, writer and social theorist Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at something. You might not be an expert, but whatever it is you do, you probably know more about it than most people. Write a paper or a blog post and share what’s worked for you. Someone is bound to find it helpful.
Many folks are giving away great, relevant content via their blogs. Chris Brogan gives away daily advice on social media on his blog and often publishes free eBooks. Todd Defren writes smartly about PR over at PR Squared. And Anita Campbell’s SmallBizTrends is chock full of advice for, you guessed it, small business owners.
Last, if a customer has given you a great suggestion that you’ve ended up using, tell the world! It will be good, free publicity for them and give you some of that whuffie that the Internet folks are so crazy about these days. We run a series on our blog featuring customers suggestions we’ve implemented called Our Users are So Smart because, well, they are! We wouldn’t be here if they weren’t.
5. Be Good. This one is Very Important. If you own your own business or have a job working for someone else, you’re better off than a lot of folks in the world. Give of your time, give of your money, give of your service. Only good will come of it.