We launched the SocialCPAs 2012 Social Media Survey recently and the feedback has been fantastic! One of the survey questions asks, “What is the one question that you would like answered about social media?”
We have received some very intriguing questions and have asked a few social media experts to help us out! The post includes a question asked by one of the survey participants and the responses from our group of experts.
How is social media different or more useful than simply having a good personal/corporate website, and researching others via their website presence and "google searching" for any relevant posted information?
Andrew Rose, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Naden/Lean, LLC
It is a great tool for interacting with referral sources, both in communication and recognition. We get bonus points for clients/prospects who enjoy our content and share it with their audiences.
Rita Keller, President, Keller Advisors, LLC
Websites are certainly important and need to look up-to-date and current (too many of the old template models are still out there, especially for smaller firms). But so much more "personality" comes through via blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ - - it's a people game (public accounting) and building personal relationships is key (followers).
Eric Majchrzak, Director of Marketing, BeachFleischman PC
Social Media, by definition is a two-way dialogue. Like a phone, it’s connecting with real people, not just a brand. It’s about building trust. A ‘socialized’ website can also promote two-way communication too, if done right. Social gives a glimpse into what “real people” are like at the firm, the one’s you’re going to hire!
Becky Livingston, President & Creative Leader, Royal Apple Marketing
This question will be tackled in two parts.
1. Social media and websites, to me, are like the mouthpiece and the conversation. Social media is used more as the mechanism—the mouthpiece—to get the word out and to engage, real time, with others. While a website houses the more traditional, non-changing content that demonstrates longevity and traditionalism. Social media is meant to be “social” meaning engagement, interaction, and willingness to “put it out there.” Websites, on the other hand, are a one-way communication vehicle providing the visitor with information that restricts them from changing, interacting with, or easily sharing. When activity happens on social media, you have the opportunity to view and react to it in real time. With a website, you may receive an email or lead generation form in a database, which you respond to at a later time. Social is fast. Website’s are not.
2, Researching via Google, or any search engine, is a tried and true method. It’s excellent for research and finding content that has been on the web for a period of time. However, because search engines crawl sites and work with algorithms to generate search results, results may not be real time. For example, if you create a new page on your website, it will take several hours to a matter of days for that content to be “picked up” organically in a search engine. However, with social media, you may begin the conversation as soon as the link to that page is live; resulting in content being tagged quicker by search engines.
An example: I write blog articles and post them on my client’s website. In the past, she’s not asked me to push the content via social media channels. The result, less than a dozen hits on the content. Recently, a new article was posted. I pushed it via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In less than four days, she received over 75 hits to the content page, which also housed a lead generation form. She received a couple leads from that initiative.
When it comes to researching people, search engines may give you a high-level view of the person with links to various social media accounts they may have, but the true test is when you view what they’re posting. Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and a few other channels are the easiest way to view postings and to learn more about the person. Facebook, of course is a leader in this space; however with the privacy setting you may not be able to view too much. Search engines do not provide the in-depth insight like social platforms do. “Googling” a person today is not as in-depth as researching someone via social channels.
Tip: People’s Twitter and other social profiles offer insights into things people like. For example, I was interviewing someone recently, and in my research discovered she had a dog. I too have a dog. How do you think this tidbit helped me when I spoke with her? We talked about our dogs first, engaged on that level, and then worked our way toward the business part of the conversation.