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Facebook Phobia, Say What?

By Annie George

Posted on 12 Jun 13 by Annie George

When speaking with customers or friends with their own businesses, or those establishing start-ups or selling a new product or service, in mentioning social media and setting up LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, and Facebook accounts, I get a pause in the conversation (if over the phone) or a glazed look that’s saying, “really, must I?” This is especially true when it comes to Facebook. They all understand having a personal Facebook account (and of course many of them do), posting photos, writing the occasional missive about where they went over the weekend or what they did…but a company Facebook page, well, that’s another story all together.

“What would I post?” “How often should I post?” “Would people [that is potential clients and existing customers?] be interested in what I have to say?” “I wouldn’t know where to begin.” “I don’t have the time?” “Does this really work?” A barrage of questions is launched, all under the guise of “I don’t really want to do this.”

And I get it. It’s new, for some it’s scary. Others feel it will take away from what they need to do – run a business, launch a product, write a book, provide services, etc. Of course, those who don’t want to spend the time on social media expanding their network and presence through the various different platforms available but see the value in it, can hire social media experts to do it for them. For those reacting out of fear, look at it as a new adventure that once undertaken will eventually fold into your daily activities. They key is to embrace social media as an integral part of your marketing strategy. Think about what you want to convey about your business, your products, and your services.

For instance, when I spoke to my cousin who just started a human resources company in the U.K. about social media, I explained what she already knew -- that individuals want to know about employment trends and which industries are “hot” and companies want to know about finding and keeping good talent, for example. So post things you read, including your own insights, and begin a conversation. The recent buzz about Yahoo’s CEO changing the company’s work-from-home policy is a perfect employment and HR issue to post about. Or, talk about the recent trend in which job applicants are using Twitter to post CVs (resume). Is that possible in 140 characters or less?

In our own industry, insurance agents increasingly are using social media platforms, including Facebook, as a way of reaching customers and prospects. Facebook (and Twitter) is perfect for providing storm warnings, tips, claims information after an event such as a hurricane, flood, etc. It’s also a great way to promote an agency’s charity work, new employee hires, employee accomplishments, etc., new services and coverages. And if you have a blog as part of your website, it’s ideal to promote that blog and drive additional traffic to a recent article on a topical issue.

It takes time, of course, to build a network, connect, engage and influence buying decisions. But with consistency, social media marketing, including Facebook, will garner results. (And, we’re not even talking about Facebook ads). What’s more, like everything else, once you start, you’ll wonder what you were afraid of or reluctant about in the first place.