Social Media, scary words for a person who does not understand what it means. However, social media is a powerful-tool for those that try to grasp it. Social Media is a way to keep your business on your customers’ radars. It is important in the business world to stay in touch with your customers. If you don’t your competition will and all of a sudden you might find those customers are former-customers.
What is social media? It is a way of getting to know your customers and potential customers. It is a means of getting the word out about your product. It is a way to build your reputation. There are a lot of ways to get out there and engage in social media. Facebook and myspace are two very popular ways but also very “personal”. Quite a few people won’t accept businesses as friends as they may post personal information they don’t want the world to know about.
One of the newest sites, and very-quickly rising in popularity, is Twitter.com. Local media; marketing professionals; corporations; mom & pop shops; official Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, & Coast Guard Public Affairs officers; *plus* everyday regular folks like you and me use Twitter. It is a menagerie of people waiting to get to know you & what you have to offer.
Who can you meet on sites like ‘Twitter’?
- Current Customers;
- Potential Customers;
- Colleagues around the nation (and world);
- Experts in your industry;
- Newbies in your industry, you could be there expert!
So you create an account on Twitter… what is next? Add a profile picture, use one of their background designs or create your own with a photo, import your professional-email address book and start to ‘tweet’! Wait? What is that word ‘tweet’ mean? A ‘Tweet’ is jargon for something that you write on twitter.
What are things you could ‘Tweet”?
- Weekend events going on in your area;
- Helpful websites specific to your area;
- Did you update your partner ad on MilitaryAvenue? Let folks know!;
- Links to articles on the Internet specific to your industry;
- Blog articles that you just wrote. Peek their interest; let your customers know of your Internet presence.
An important point, I recently read that 90% of your “tweets” should not be direct-advertisement. (http://www.twitip.com/the-90-10-rule-for-successful-twitter-networking/) You need to build relationships. Get to know your customers. Ask them how their day is. Find out ways that you can help them, what are their needs? There is a fine line. You don’t want to over-due it or keep it *too* simple. Not many folks care if you are “stepping out for lunch”, but they might like to know WHERE you are going to lunch. If your audience is the military community they want to know more about their new community. They want to know what’s hot. They want to be part of it!
As Director of Research & Development at MilitaryAvenue what do I tweet?
- What I have to get done for the day, both personal to feel ‘connected’ (like an oil change at my favorite dealership) and directly related to MilitaryAvenue (like an exciting meeting about future-MilitaryAvenue changes).
- I answer questions from colleagues. @armywifenetwork is very good about asking general army-wife questions. They are fun to think about and send out an answer to. She asked, “What is an important thing to do during deployment.” I answered “@armywifenetwork Get out of the house.” By answering I show other military families that I *know* what it means to be an army wife. I may be an expert in my field, but I am also human and going through what they are too.
- When I write a new post on MilitaryAvenue’s “Our Letters to You”, I post the link to let others know about it. We have a great number of direct followers on MilitaryAvenue as well as our blog. However, we are never happy and always want more folk to know about MilitaryAvenue. Twitter has brought us an even larger audience. Even more military families know about MilitaryAvenue.com and then they don’t forget that we are out there!
- I draw attention to a new timely-article on MilitaryAvenue that my audience might find especially interesting. This sparked a conversation between myself and a military spouse; which other spouses could follow. She worked for the YMCA and the tweet I sent out was about a YMCA scholarship opportunity for military-brats. She was excited to share our site with her co-workers and how we were helping them spread the word.
- I like to get my audience thinking. By asking questions it will engage them. It will help them get to know me.
- Occasionally, I broadcast of a great MilitaryAvenue Discount: If I see a MilitaryAvenue Partner Military Discount that really catches my eye I let others know about it.
Looking for folks to start out following?
@milave_leanne – that is me! Army Wife extraordinaire and director of Research & Development at MilitaryAvenue
@milave_col_k – Air Force Veteran, blogger, MilitaryAvenue Partner expert
@militaryavenue – a direct feed of all the new articles on the site in real time; stay up to date & be informed
@milave_deborah – our Air Force Wife, blogger & wonderful administrative aid
@milave_dan – MilitaryAvenue’s president & CEO, Air Force ‘Brat’ and brand new Dad!
You can also search Twitter for things that are of interest to you. Search the installation, the city, the county, around you and see which folks are talking about it, because they might just be there or coming there soon! Search for keywords in your industry and network. Search for your local radio stations and news stations and keep up with what is happening around you. Be in the know.
I would encourage you to grab ‘Social Media’ by the reigns and enjoy the ride!
– Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com