Approach Social Media the Right Way – Insights from a Social Media Expert

social mediaSo many people have mixed feelings about social media.  Many people ask  themselves, “why should I be doing social media?  What’s the ROI in it?”  But a lot of business owners forget to measure ROI on different levels for social media campaigns.

One of my favorite social media cases is JasonSilvestri.com. For starters, Jason is genuine and real when it comes to his social media efforts. He is not doing hard selling nor is trying to deceive anyone with deceptive marketing practices.  Rather, Jason is just being himself as his own brand and reaching many  milestones through his social media efforts.  I did a Q&A session with Jason Silvestri on how he develops his personal brand through social media on his website.

Social media allows you to really connect with your customers
Sana: “Jason, for those business owners who are frightened by social media, what are some things you’d like to tell them?”

Jason: “There is no concrete ROI in social media. Yes, you can sell that $19.95 product to the average consumer, but it is really all about users keeping in contact with their friends – and the World. ‘What is Happening?’, is  often answered by a social network called, Twitter. What is happening is that people have turned to the Internet as their full-on-access-pool with how we interact with one another today. If your product sucks, you can bet Tommy and Suzy are going to know about it before you have the time to pull it off the shelf. That is just it. It is about using social  media as one, giant, customer service board. Use social media and the ever growing chain of social networks to interact with your consumers. Use these tools as the ultimate demographic platform.”

Avoid self-promotion on social media, Go for an empathic approach instead
Sana: “What  does social media mean to you?  I know the reason why I follow your brand is that you keep a very humanized element to your social media. It’s always YOU connecting directly with PEOPLE.  Most people get scared and feel that becomes an undertaking.  But how have you managed it?”

Jason: “Terms like, ”What’s the ROI in Social Media?” and “The Humanization of Brands” sounds more like Gary Vaynerchuk to me than anything else, and that is fine of course. Gary V has been an inspiration to many people, including myself, competitor or not. I just think about those terms a little differently is all. Given I am a software engineer, I have always felt technology  would connect the ‘humans’ to the machines more and more. The perks in it all are the ways in which we, the ‘humans’, have mastered the actual technologies so quickly. It is dazzling to say the least. These technologies – these networks – have made it so we can take an empathic  approach to business with our consumers. It is that empathic approach you will learn to understand with regards to connecting with the other ‘humans’ on these networks that will have you wake up one day and say, ‘I got it!’

“I feel it is very hard for newbies (individuals and businesses) just arriving on the social media scene to keep up. For me with 40,000+  followers on Twitter alone, I manage to provide a minimum of 15-30 minutes a day to my loyal following to answer questions, re-tweet their brand using my Twitter account (no matter how big or small of a brand they are), and talk about the latest buzz. You spend that amount of time at lunch or working out. It is in that time, it is those kind of connections I keep up with, that you must be faithful to in the scheme of all things as well.

“The truth is, most people on these social networks are promoting their personal brands. Some quit their job or lost it in the recession and are now trying to use these outlets to become the next successful entrepreneur based on what some birdies told them. For those of you out there, know that social media is not the [first] answer. Half of these social media experts and  technology buffs were born into life with a silver spoon. The purchasing of that camera, those Google ads, that website, and the list goes on,  were all cake walks to them. You quite simply need to become the  absolute best at what you do to survive. The rest – the social networks –  the news buzz – that next break – comes after.  I am not talking about passion either. Passion is there to ensure you love what you do. I am  talking about becoming an expert at something whether you like it or not. It will be that very expertise that will guide you to revenue and  also to your dream career.”

Don’t let someone speak for you—be your own voice in social media
Sana: “How have you used Twitter in a way that’s different from all those other popular marketers out there?  Most of these public figures hand over their Twitter handles to others and admit to giving up their e-identities to their assistants.  When doing social media, should a  person be a distracted marketer who gives up their personal connection to their audience, or be honest?”

Jason: “If you are an A-level celebrity it seems to generally not matter. However, if you are a brand that is representing yourself and you allow your assistant to be your voice just know that is what you will get. I myself have witnessed some of the best motivators fall to their knees because of what was said, or was not responded to in time by the true voice of their brand.”

Sana: “Isn’t social media supposed to be about the direct relationship between the brand to the audience?  Why put all this funny business into trying to be something you’re not? Social media is about humanized business, no?”

Jason: “Social Media is about connecting. Relationships are about caring.”

Social video is booming…get in front of the camera!
Sana: “You use video in an effective way.  Is it because you’re trying to maintain direct dialogue with your audience? I appreciate this aspect of your  business.”

Jason: “Absolutely. Video is just such a good information delivery system these days. It is so widely accessible now because of high speed Internet. The use of it, even in 2011, is booming! It is also the most empathetic approach I have found to reach out to my audience. I encourage every talented individual in front of a camera to speak your mind in a way that is yourself, but is also professional as it can be in the process, respectively.

Looks are important too: custom design your social media page
Sana: “As for the ‘design’ of your social media, how did you go about designing everything?  What advice do you give to others? ”

Jason: “The  importance of a good Twitterback (for example) could be what converts a user to your brand. I created mine myself via LightGate Studios, but  there are plenty of free services out there, like www.twitrbackgrounds.com, that can give you a better look than a plain Twitterback. But at the same time, however, custom is key.”

An important thing to walk away with is understanding social media is a distribution channel.  Before businesses begin to invest in social media, they must take the time to fine-tune their product so that it stands a chance in the competitive markets.  Once any business owner develops their product and is crystal clear on its target audience, then social media strategies become more fruitful and make way for more ROI.

 

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Formerly at Mashable, Sana Ahmed is a Social Technology Consultant who streamlines technology strategies for business, learning, and personal productivity. She trains digital users on how to take back their technology and get down to business! Sana also contributes to AppAdvice.com, and works on her startups in her spare time.

4 thoughts on “Approach Social Media the Right Way – Insights from a Social Media Expert

  1. Whitney

    Very true, Sana
    and Jason. There is no concrete ROI in social media and undertaking the
    responsibility of actually “connecting” with people can be a challenge. It’s
    easy to reach out when you know what you’re grasping for, but if you have
    nothing to go on (people discussing your brand, others retweeting your
    content)—it can be challenging. We’ve made it easy to connect with others, through
    video. As you’ve mentioned, it gets the message out there and invites another
    opportunity to connect. Beema.com has a good way of creating decent video
    content, http://www.beema.com/video_social_media_marketing.aspx
    Becoming the very best at what you do is essential in order to survive. You
    become an expert in your field and undoubtedly, the “go-to” person concerning
    that thing. Every one wants that.

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Thanks for your feedback Whitney! 

    Beema does look interesting!

    Yes, being the best at what you do is the best self-improvement advice anyone can give. That’s the first step before any social media marketing begins!
    -Sana

    Reply
  3. PughEvelyn

    Lots of specialists argue that loan help people to live their own way, just because they are able to feel free to buy needed stuff. Furthermore, some banks give small business loan for different persons.

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