“Social media provides an unfiltered opportunity to learn at a grassroots level what people really think about your brand, its products, or services.”

Last week we had Paul Chaney on CredibilityLIVE where he discussed how listening is the new marketing as well as how to manage your online reputation. Paul’s presentation offered a lot of valuable information and then he gave out even more great info while taking questions from the audience via Facebook Chat.

(Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.)

We hope you have time to watch the full presentation, but if you can’t, here are some highlights from the question and answer segment.

Guest: What are the biggest pitfalls or mistakes a company can make when beginning to use social media

Paul: “You don’t listen. You start by talking,” was the biggest mistake and “listening is the key to engagement,” was the proposed solution. You need to know who is talking and where they are talking so that you can respond to them in the correct medium. Paul emphasized listening as the best way to make this happen. He also noted that using social media without a strategic direction was a common mistake. This could be fixed by integrating social media into the overall marketing plan. With integrated social media marketing a business can create content that details the direction, message, and mission of a company. In doing so the business can produce higher engagement with its customers on social media.

Guest: What social network do you prefer? Facebook/Twitter/etc…?

Paul: “All of them. I prefer the ones where my customers are gathering.” Again Paul pointed out the importance of knowing where your customers are talking. With that knowledge you can select the best social network to respond and engage with those customers. He did say that most people use Facebook and Twitter but it is dependent. If no one is talking about you on Facebook your business may not need a Facebook page. Paul offered up the unique perspective of social media as a house: Twitter is the front door and foyer where you meet new people and get to know them. Facebook is the living room. Your blog is the study. LinkedIn is the home office. With this idea in mind the most important question is where your customers are hanging out.

Guest: Online reputation management companies are expensive. Are there DIY approaches to repair derogatory posted opinions?

Paul: The best way to get them out of sight is “content, content, content.” By blogging, by being active in social media, by posting photos on Flickr and videos on YouTube you can start to push down the negative comments.  As you become more active posts from good credible resources can drive criticism down. Content marketing is the key to making this happen. This content should be, “good, informative, entertaining, educational content that people will value and that they will trust.” If they trust and value the content, they will be more likely to share it. As they do the negative comments about your business or company will be pushed down.

Guest: What measures to take to convert your audience to your website and business?

Paul: If you’re engaging on social media, try to bring people back to your website. Content (videos/blogs) offered up on social media can help. Use Facebook and other social networks to push content which can result in people coming back to the website.

Guest: As a small business owner, it is hard to find time to be active on social media. What can I do?

Paul: “Maximize the value of the time.” If you can only schedule fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening, make sure you are using it. Even if it is not a lot of time, it is still helpful. Schedule 15 minutes in the morning and 15 in the evening if that is all you can do. Use the tools available like hootsuite, tweetdeck, etc… because they help to maximize time by allowing you to post exactly where you need to. If you are writing a blog, you can create an editorial calendar to help keep you on track. Most blogging websites even allow you to timestamp posts for the future. By doing so you can create content when you have time and then set it up to publish when you need it to be published. Paul also emphasizes that you focus on one aspect of social media and understand it completely instead of trying to use too many sites.

Guest: What do you think of Twitter’s new feature that allows users to follow a company directly from its website?

Paul: From a credibility standpoint, you know you’re following the company. The company is being more transparent and making a statement about how they want to be engaged in the conversation. Paul stated, “it is not just about adopting a social media tool set, it is also about embracing a social media mindset.” This mindset allows for authenticity and transparency which in turn can make you more credible.

Guest: What are some of the key nonverbals we need to be aware of when we’re communicating online?

Paul: You should be aware of imagery, pictures, and videos. Make sure you are not using all caps. It can be difficult to be aware of your nonverbal communication because you’re once removed, virtual. Paul then moved away from nonverbal communication question but gave out some absolutely fantastic information. He said to be personable and humble in your responses to customers. Even if you can’t fix the customer’s problem, you don’t have to answer in an obnoxious way. Instead take the criticism at face value and if they are serious give them a serious response. It is about being human. It is about being human. “The real power is not in the machines, or the mechanics, or the metrics, or the ROI or in all that stuff. I think the power of social media is the fact that it enables you to connect with people in a real way so that you get to know them by face and by name. And there is no other form of marketing that I know of that gives you that ability. I think there is something there that is worth paying attention to.” Paul likened it to the relationship a corner grocer would have with his customers.  He finished answering this question fittingly, “people can know that you care.”

Guest: You mentioned transparency. In terms of promoting credibility, is that the buzzword companies should keep in mind?

Paul: The terms authenticity and transparency are ballyhooed these days. Paul indicated that this is a problem. Those two words are a cornerstone of social media because it It is about being real. You should have a willingness to take it on the chin, to not spin it, and to say you’re sorry when it is your fault. By doing these things, you and your business are more authentic and transparent, which in turn make it more real.

How can you get more involved?

Our next CredibilityLIVE event will be on Thursday, June 28th with Steve Strauss. Steve’s topic will be “Get Your Business or Project Funded: Creative Ways to Get the Money You Need.” We can’t wait to hear what Steve has to say and we hope you can’t wait either. You can register for the event on the CredibilityLIVE site.

For more news on upcoming events, check out our events page!