Help for Businesses in a Twitter
Thursday, 21st January 2010 at 4:29 pm
Few businesses are using Web 2.0 technology to their advantage to reap the benefits of a successful social media strategy, according to a Queensland University of Technology communications researcher.
QUT’s Associate Professor Axel Bruns has released two reports on his social media research for the federally funded Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre to help guide businesses in making the most of social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.
Professor Bruns says businesses often have a limited understanding of social media and few businesses do it right.
He says having a social media presence is crucial in business today, but managing it poorly can be more detrimental to your brand image than having none at all.
Professor Bruns says that recent statistics showed that 70 per cent of Australian Internet users now visited social networking sites. Facebook alone is reported to have eight million Australian users, with Twitter surpassing the 1.5 million mark.
He says social media enables people to spread the word about your products and create a strong buzz, which attracts a large clientele to your brand.
By way of example he says Google, in its first few years, didn’t need to advertise, and when it released its Nexus One mobile phone recently, there was lots of social media chatter around this.
Professor Bruns says businesses should seek to understand how their online community thought as they were an excellent source for product and service ideas.
He says companies can use social media communities as market intelligence, but the community’s contribution must be acknowledged, otherwise they will be left feeling ripped off.
In his reports, Professor Bruns explains how to engage successfully with social media communities.
He says conventional corporate strategies don’t work in social media; you don’t want to overload the communities with marketing spiel. They are equal partners, who may or may not be fans of your products, and you must engage with them intelligently and consistently.
He says if things do turn sour, do not launch into denial. Speak openly with the community, acknowledge the problem, apologise and ask the community how things could be done better.
The Smart Services CRC is a $120m, commercially focussed collaborative research initiative, developing innovation, foresight and productivity improvements for the services sector. QUT is a leading research partner in the CRC.