Sleet in the Face: a Late Winter Wake Up Call
March 15, 2010
How to Write an eBook in Under 4 hours—I just did it!
March 24, 2010

By Hope Bertram, Founder, Windy City Social

Do your tweets need tweaking? Wondering how to leverage Facebook to build brand or product awareness? Social Media tools are a great way to generate new relationships, defend your brand against competitors and complainers and provide customer service or support. Here are some basic tips and tricks you can use to jumpstart your social media efforts.

Invite your current audience to be part of the conversation. Leverage your current email lists and website to invite customers and visitors to follow you on twitter and become a fan of your facebook pages. Make sure to have Twitter and Facebook icons on your homepage and in every email that you send. It’s an easy way to gain a quick following which tends to have a viral effect among their friends.

Start the conversation. Social Media is all about a two way dialogue, so create a campaign that starts a conversation and rewards your group for spreading the word. If you can set an attainable goal and give a group prize, all the better.

Make sure to respond and follow. Would you go to a party and just look at someone as they asked you questions, not responding in any way? Probably not. If you are going to create a Facebook fan page or Twitter account make sure you have someone dedicated to managing the accounts. Here are the basics of good group management:

1. Follow-back

2. Answer questions directed via an @message with an @message. It publicly acknowledges the person asking the question

3. Don’t be afraid to answer the hard questions or complaints – Some of the best product improvements and ideas are generated by customer conversations (of course, if someone has a legally sensitive question or a product with lots of rules and regs, check with legal first)

4. Make sure to answer questions directly – When @APStylebook receives a tweet with a style book question, they tweet back with a link to a question submission form. It would be more on-brand if the @APStylebook acted as the expert for their brand. This would increase their RT (re-tweets) which would in turn increase their visibility on twitter

5. Be your brand – Your tweets and group messages are the voice of your brand. Send a consistent message

6. Listen, Listen, Listen!!! Your customers care about your brand and have something to say, really listen to what they have to say, respond and adjust your product if necessary

Have More Than One Twitter Handle. If you have a business that is customer service intensive, have two twitter accounts. One that promotes the brand and one that handles customer complaints and concerns. This will let the Customer Service pros focus on the issues, while the marketers focus on creating the positive buzz. It will also keep the negative noise out of the way.

Great Marketers to Follow on Twitter (These are great companies or people who tweet links to helpful articles and blog posts) @mashable, @benparr, @armondo, @themarketingguy @ shashib @windycitysocial (shameless plug) @admaven, @lizstrauss

Hope Bertram is Founder of Windy City Social.  For more information, please visit and follow them on Twitter @windycitysocial.