Thousands of consultants, analysts and community managers offer access to social media's tantalizing powers for you to engage in the online conversation, to listen and talk with your customers and prospects wherever, whenever, the conversation occurs.
The metrics, until very recently, that measured the impact of social media on a business or a brand tended to focus on the metrics that its experts found interesting.
Conversations and comments, links and clicks, the viral spread of a story, views of videos were coin of the realm. Just recently, these metrics have started to include metrics important to their clients' CEOs and CFOs. These are revenues, profits and cash-flows, the ultimate measure of a brand's success in making customers happy. I say ultimate, because their performance in delivering a meaningful solution will be ultimately measured in these metrics.
Below, I have listed 4 social media applications that can have a direct affect a company's cash-flows. These are 4 I have used or have seen other companies use to generate a direct and positive affect their cash-flows. And, I discuss, albeit, briefly, why each of these are able to directly affect a company's cash-flows.
Disclaimer: This is the start of the conversation. I am biased. I have not reviewed every possible obscure social media resource. Feel free to help us all and improve this list with suggestions of your own. Small business will drive us out of this recession. So, let's help each other.
These 4 social media resources can, should, directly affect your company's cash-flows:
BizSugar is a social news and bookmarking site, much like Digg, StumbleUpon and del.icio.us. BizSugar's mission is to serve the small and medium-sized businesses by sharing solutions to our most pressing challenges. New business applications that let us do more for less, tips to generate more revenues from existing customers, ways to generate more leads or higher quality leads, programs to generate a higher conversion ratio, ways to save on taxes and more are shared daily by members.
I have never visited BizSugar without finding at least one top article to either increase revenues or cut costs or both. And, members designate the most helpful articles with a simple vote button with each article. That helps drive the most useful articles to the top of the site's front-page. The Top 10 most useful articles each week are sent to members in an email. You can easily view the profile of and connect with each BizSugar member. This expands your source of partners, resources and solutions.
Execution separates the companies with good ideas from the companies with good ideas and positive cash-flows. BizSugar gives you the tips, resources and ideas you can execute to generate that positive cash-flow. It's free, too.
What's Jott? Ok. So what? Our ideas don’t queue up for the sound of our notebook rustling, our keyboard clacking or our computer starting. Too often, they surprise us while we're driving, going to sleep, taking a shower…anywhere but at our desk.
Now, with JOTT you can speak that idea immediately into your cellphone. And, that idea will be waiting in your email for when you're back at your desk. So what? What if you’ve waited days for a solution that could drive your company to record revenues? Or, maybe it's the solution that brings significant cost savings. And, that idea arrives while you're stuck in commuter traffic. Before JOTT, you likely would lose that idea. Now, with JOTT, it's waiting for you in your own words when you get to your office.
No company today survives without a steady stream of new ideas, innovations and solutions. Solutions are valuable for your personal cash-flows, too. Judge for yourself the incomes of those, persons or companies, who deliver innovative solutions vs those who merely implement or copy them. I love Jott. You will, too.
First off, what is a Google News Alerts? According to Wikipedia:
“Google News Alerts are an email that lets the user know if new articles make it into the top ten results of his/her Google News search.”
Companies use Google News Alert to stay current with online news for their company: their employees, customers, executives, brand, industry. So, what? Is there a connection between your company's online reputation and your company's cash-flows?
Would your company's cash-flows change if a customer vigilante blasted their bad experience (real or perceived) through the blogosphere? And, then left unanswered, their rant went viral…all over your reputation? Would any of that change your cash-flows? Would your stream of prospects dry up? Would you customers abandon you? What if your company could respond immediately, on the same sites, in the same forums and comments and communities, to this vigilante? What if you could answer their claims, talk to them personally, solve their problems …all in front of the blogosphere.
What if THAT story went viral …all over your reputation? Would that change your company's reputation? Would that effect your cash-flows? To coin a phrase: you betcha. ( And I'm not winking when I say that.) Note: Google offers six types of alerts including web pages, blogs, comprehensive, video and groups.
Twitter is a tweener here. Twitter can directly affect your cashflows. However, first ask yourself: Does your audience use Twitter? Do your prospects or customers use twitter? Twitter is a wonderful social media resource. It's simple, fast, clean. Writing must be clean with only 140 characters, including spaces, to share a thought. Sometimes, the topic can include your company and their experiences with your company.
However, not every company's community lives on Twitter, or even knows it exists. If you're a small company, primarily a bricks and mortar company, Twitter's best used to broaden your network of experts and peers. However, if your company is a global or national brand, or your brand involves social media, digital media, innovation …Twitter is where the conversations are happening increasingly.
Ask Frank Eliason whose Twitter username is ComcastCares. His single-handed initiative using Twitter to connect with Comcast customers has changed the conversation about Comcast from very negative to fairly positive. Ask Jackie Huba from SwomFest08 where their attendees (customers) and nonattendees (audience of prospects) tweeted/twittered about the panels, presentations and networking at the event. Anyone could follow this conversation with the # tag convention: #swomfest.
Ask the ad agency for Motrin what happens when they ignore that conversation on Twitter. Check yourself. Twitter search #motrinmom. Or, Google that term.
If your customers and prospects use Twitter, then you should use Twitter to connect, engage with them where they talk, how they talk, when they talk. The impact will be direct and positive for your company's cash-flows.
There you have it: Four social media applications you can use to have a direct and positive affect your company's cash-flows. Personal cash-flows, too. Tell me what I missed. (Blogs, yes.) Help us all know which social media resources can directly affect our company's cash-flows.
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About the Author: Zane Safrit’s passion is small business and the operations’ excellence required to deliver a product that creates word-of-mouth, customer referrals and instills pride in those whose passion created it. He previously served as CEO of Conference Calls Unlimited. Zane's blog can be found at Zane Safrit.