Saturday, April 14, 2012

Social Media for Entrepreneurs: Tips from Zappos, Match.com, and Method Founders

This Wall Street Journal video features an interview with Gary Kremen, founder of Match.com, Eric Ryan, co-founder of Method, and Nick Swinmum, founder of Zappos.com, where they shared some advice on using social media for small business (mainly on Facebook or Twitter). I agree on some of their suggestions but not the other.

Tips I Feel Useful
  • In-house social media staff is very important. Whoever manages a company’s social media activities must know the company, including the organizational culture, services and products offered, and the operational procedures. Otherwise, a company can repeat Chrysler’s mistake on Twitter
  • Be consistent in feeding new content.
  • Carry on an on-going conversation on social media. Social media is more than just sales and marketing. Content creators also need to consider “WIIFM” (what’s in it for me?) and “IDNK” (I don’t know that) for the audience when posting updates and news.
  • Companies must have clear objectives when implementing social media strategies. Otherwise, social media can be very counterproductive for business.

Tips I Disagree
  • Will social media become less important if a company does not need to interact with consumers directly? I don’t think so. I believe that social media, if used appropriately, can be very effective in B2B, B2C, and C2C communications. Even if a company’ business model does not rely on B2C communications as much as the others do, they should still use social media, including Facebook Page and Twitter, to promote B2B and C2C communications. Additionally, recent research indicates that blogging can have a positive impact on a company’s performance in the stock market because companies often share positive information on their blogs.  
  • Is social media optional for senior executive members? It may work for Nick Swinmurn at Zappos.com, but I don’t think it will work for others. My question is: How can an executive make viable decisions on a company’s social media strategy if s/he does not even use the tools? Let’s use e-mail marketing as an example, if one does not even use e-mails, s/he may not know how to send or receive e-mails anyway. How can this person make good decisions on e-mail marketing?

Do you see my points? What are your thoughts on the advice provided by these three entrepreneurs?