Author: Melanie Baker

5 Key Questions

The last while I’ve been working with folks whose day to day business focus and expertise are a fair bit less tech-centric than I’m used to. It’s a good mental exercise for me, seeing how the other half lives, and adapting what seems obvious to me about online business development, social strategy, and community building to companies that are not software-centric, for example. You mean you sell actual… stuff? What I found, however, in working out social strategy for these organizations, was a consistent core. Five key questions the folks at these companies (or any company) need to ask themselves and answer before embarking on creating profiles, establishing groups, tweeting, uploading video, or setting up boards of pins. It’s certainly possible that the order of importance may shift a bit depending on the company, but so far this order has served well both in terms of what has to be decided when (because the answers to the first questions inform all the others), as well as order of importance to getting social right. So, where to begin? Who is our audience? Audience here refers both to those whose attention you already have, like existing customers or those considering becoming customers, and those to whom social media can help introduce you, like people who are only just starting to have a problem or challenge you can help with, community members,...

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Play nicely

“Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” It still boggles my mind how many people seem to think that, online, no one is looking. Being behind a screen makes people invisible, and thus they can (and will) act in ways they never would face to face. No one knows you’re a dog, and all that… Except that who is naive enough to believe that anymore? A few seconds of googling, the myriad social networks out there (with their oft-ignored or inaccurately used privacy settings) and you can find out just about anything you might — or might not — want to know. Now, this isn’t a soapbox delivery to The Kids These Days about being careful with their “pics or it didn’t happen” indiscretions. (Though, seriously, people.) This is about something I find even more odd and ill-advised. About people bringing their virtual bad manners back into the real world. I dunno if the grandmas are slacking off and letting folks out the door without clean undies and common courtesy or what, but I’ve been privy to rather a lot of behaviour that just leaves a lingering bad impression, and, as I’ll illustrate, tends to have rather longer-lasting results than I think a lot of people realize. So, the disclaimer: some of this stuff I’ve experienced first hand, some friends and colleagues have...

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