Friday, September 9, 2011

A Sympathetic and Strong Shoulder

     Have you noticed it's been busy out in the real world lately?  Hurricanes...tropical storms...wildfires...earthquakes.    Makes you wonder....makes you wonder how you can apply these current events to your business social media?
     At the risk of sounding incredibly crass, you CAN do these applications - but you've got to tread very, very lightly.  No heavy handed stuff here; think of walking on eggshells that are filled with nitroglycerine.
    The key, as Jesse Stanchak reports in SmartBlog on Social Media, is to find "organic, relevant connections" to your audience.
     The full report can be read here:    The salient points are as follows:

     1)  Give people a gentle reminder as to why these events matter - to you and to them, as well.    Gently explain.  Don't adopt a patronizing attitude.  You've got to leave your audience feeling that they have more information on the subject - not that you're some great authority informing them of what happened.
     2)  Give your audience a viable second opinion.  Maybe everyone is endorsing one opinion - but there's nothing wrong with giving them a well thought out alternative;  well thought out being the operative phrase here.
     3)  Give your audience a tiny push.   Remind them of why your business or organization is in business, what you do, and why you do it.  Stanchak says the trick here is to make sure your customers believe you are helping them, instead of trying to sell them something.
     4)  Don't take everything so seriously!  You can use a current event as an analogy to explain something, but don't go overboard with it.   However, NEVER make an analogy out of a sad story, and like the song goes, "you've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em."  Don't stretch a point to the point of distortion.
     5)  Build it up.   If you missed jumping on the bandwagon when the event happened, don't worry about it too much.  Take the approach of feeding ongoing information to your audience, and keep building on that cornerstone.
     6)  Involve your audience.   Maybe you're running out of topics, but you can bet your bottom dollar your audience isn't!  Encourage conversation and feedback.

     Sharing your opinion can, of course, boomerang on you.  You've got to be very careful of how you proceed.  In major events, people's emotions are all over the place.  Position yourself and your company as an entity that's  ready to help and ready to listen.  Position yourself as a source of positive information.
     Most importantly, position yourself as a sympathetic and strong shoulder that can be relied on during a time of crisis - and you'll certainly find you'll be the go-to business when things get better!