‘Practical Techie:’ Tuning in to web is good for business

Written by  //  December 11, 2013  //  Biz Views  //  No comments

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Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com.

Author Rafael Matos is professor of multimedia at a private university and director of the Caribbean Multimedia Center, a nonprofit media lab focusing on closing the digital divide. Questions should be sent to cccrafael@gmail.com.

Good business people should always have an ear to the ground.

Figuratively speaking, of course. In our day and information age, entrepreneurs must be tuned in to the Internet and its plethora of digital social platforms. An ear to the web, so to speak.

The gurus of e-commerce say that not paying attention to what happens in the dynamic sphere of social media can be detrimental for the bottom line. Much the same as not answering the phone in the old days.

That is, local enterprise must definitely adapt social communications practices all over the wide spectrum of the web to help engage your company on a global scale. Business size or type is irrelevant. Any company must plan for incremental participation in social commentary on topics relevant to its operation. One main reason is the prediction that customers will eventually ignore commercial venues that shun social media channels.

They expect that the company they do business with is privy to the ways, byways and convoluted conventions of the social networks. Specifically, make sure your business is frequently involved in the hectic dynamics of social commentary on those main social media platforms.

A vast array of channels
Simply put, one must be visible in the global dialogue that churns on and on all over the web through such main message exchange spots as Bebo, Blogster, Twitter, Foursquare, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, etc.  And particularly those geared toward women such as Cafe Mom, Delicious, Flickr or Classmates. Green social media too, such as Care2, and professionals such as Elixio, LinkedIn, Focus, Eoona and Meettheboss.

Pingsta is upmost as is Talkbiznow. Travel communities such as Exploroo, Hospitality Club or Travellerspoint are good exchanges to watch if your business is service-oriented.

And so many others, as geared to your type of business. Another tactic is that your business should define clearly who in the company will decide whether a response in social media is warranted and who should address public or client-prompted social engagements. All social media conversation should be maintained on the most positive side possible.

“If a comment is clearly inflammatory and unsolvable, it is usually best not to respond at all,” advises Carol Rozwell, an analyst at technology research firm Gartner.  “However, if a person is an existing customer logging a harsh but legitimate complaint, the issue must be addressed publicly, promptly and within the same media it was made.”

A prudent strategy is to acknowledge the issue on live social media, but then to attempt an issue closure offline. Make this so it is part of the daily business operation.

A more complicated practice is to monitor as much social media commentary as possible and cull analytics about trends, issues and fads running up and down the venues, pertinent to your business. Also, prudently, keep records of all direct engagements and interactions with clients. This will help your firm collect profile data from these web encounters with any present or potential customers.

So, the order of the day for small biz with social media is to monitor for relevancy and engagement, participate when relevant or opportune, and answer any criticism wisely. Finally, develop a sensible media engagement procedure for your company and stick to it.

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