Published on December 26th, 2013 | by Lisa Furgison2
5 Must-Have Social Media Skills
From tweets to pins and everything in between, a company’s social media responsibilities can pile up like junk in a playroom. It’s time to tidy up your social to-do list with skills that work across platforms and networks, giving you more impact for your time and energy. And what better source of advice for cutting through clutter than the experts at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Natalie Burgwin, the senior public relations manager for 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, says she knows how much time it takes to post, tweet, share and pin. On a daily basis, she utilizes social media as a customer service tool by sharing consumer tips and spreading the company message. While her efforts are time consuming, she has realized there are skills that apply to every social media site.
“It’s easy to get lost in the social media world. One hour can easily turn into three,” Burgwin says who gears the company’s efforts mainly towards Facebook and Twitter. “When you’re juggling several sites, it’s important to stick to the skills that are useful across the social media board.”
Here are the skills that Burgwin suggests focusing on to efficiently juggle social media sites:
Skill #1: Have a sense of humor
A great sense of humor tops Burgwin’s list of social media skills. Your posts should be fun and light-hearted at all times, she says. Customers want to talk to real people. “Gone is the day of canned, corporate responses. Behind us are the times of staying so perfectly p.c.,” Burgwin says. “If you’d like to engage through social media platforms, you must be engaging.”
Even a complaint can be handled with a little humor. For example, when a customer complained about a 1-800-GOT-JUNK? sign that blocked a bike rack, Burgwin replied with this comedic response:
At 1-800-GOT-JUNK? we employ magical Sign Fairies who are usually discerning about placement. Our new class of Sign Fairies that we are currently training is a bit overzealous with their sign placement. They actually escaped from their cage last week and it’s clear that one of them has visited your Starbucks bike rack in Chicago. We acknowledge that this sign placement was inconvenient. Please accept this email as a sincere apology from our corporate head office and our local franchise. We dispatched a team to remove it this morning; it is gone now.
Natalie from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Skill #2: Show common sense
You have to know how to handle a variety of interactions on social media platforms, Burgwin says. Because 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is a recognizable name, it is occasionally appropriated by customers and non-customers alike.
For example, when a tweeter complained about a controversial call during a hockey game, he used #1800GOTJUNK? in the message to emphasis the “junky” call.
“You have to know when to comment and when it’s best to leave it be,” Burgwin says. “You have to use good judgment and make sure you’re not wasting time and energy on some little prank or a comment that’s unrelated to your business.”
Skill #3: Use a filter
As you prepare messages for social media platforms, you have to use a filter, Burgwin said. In other words, you have to think about how your messages could be interpreted by others.
“Before you post anything, put it through your mental filter and make sure it won’t be misconstrued by anyone,” she says. “A 75-year-old woman will interpret a message much differently than a 15-year-old kid. You should be aware of that and make sure the message is appropriate before letting it go live.”
Skill #4: Be a stickler for grammar and style
Every message you send represents your company, so be sure there are no misspellings or grammatical errors, Burgwin says.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but even the big shots make mistakes. In an effort to boost Nielsen ratings for “Oprah’s Next Chapter” @Oprah tweeted, “Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Neilsen box.” In the tweet, Nielsen is spelled wrong.
“Take the time to proofread your message to ensure it’s flawless,” Burgwin says. “You can always type out the message in a word document first to check for errors and then copy and paste it to the site you’re using.”
Skill #5: Manage your time
Social media can be a big undertaking for any small business, which is why Burgwin says time management skills are a must. “Use your time wisely. Focus on social media sites that fit your business best,” she says. “Don’t add other sites unless you’re sure you have the time to invest.”
Remember, social media requires attention everyday. Over committing yourself to the wide variety of social media sites is one of the biggest traps a small business owner can fall into, Burgwin says.
Time management is crucial in the balancing act that is social media. It will likely be even more vital in the future as more small businesses flock to social media to get in front of their customers.
A recent survey shows 43% of small businesses devote six hours or more to social media, which is valuable time for any company. For Burgwin, these five skills are the keys to maximizing the social media sites for 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and she believes they’ll have the same positive impact on your company.
This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.
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