Who still thinks Twitter is just for celebrities?

Making Waves orchestrating Social MediaTwitter is an interesting, dynamic and sometimes confusing tool. We are sometimes bombarded with information we don’t need, images we don’t want, and videos that use up the data on our smartphone faster than we can pay for it. This overload of information and a lack of understanding of social media as an effective communication tool is enough to make us throw up our arms in despair.

And what about the 140 character limit? For professionals who want to communicate complex and abstract ideas and thoughts, 140 characters may not seem like enough. The ability to write white papers on geophysical technology or the geology of a little known basin does not translate well into the constraints of a tweet, and it takes time and energy to create engaging yet succinct comments to draw customers to click links and read further.

As a marketing company we are guilty of not using social media on our own behalf. We are busy communicating the thoughts, actions and ideas of our clients, and have at times neglected to build our own “following” – a prime example of the cobbler’s children having no shoes – but are nevertheless convinced that, used correctly, social media does and will have a positive impact on any business.

We are not a traditional marketing and PR company. Our expertise is in a technology rich industry, and our focus is on articulating that technology in a way that emphasises knowledge, “thought leadership” and translating complex reports and information into readable pieces, suitable for publishing in journals around the world. Given that, it may appear that using social media doesn’t really fit with what we do, and how we can support our clients.

Perhaps surprisingly, we do use social media for our clients, and we use it very effectively. Our skill in being able to condense intricate concepts into magazine articles and website content also helps us to condense them further – making the most of the limited character counts imposed by Twitter and other outlets, driving traffic to websites and published articles, and engaging with our wide network across the industry. This provides our clients with a steady stream of outgoing information that comprehensively supplements press releases and other occasional material they might put out.

We know we are in a downturn – battening down the hatches, reducing personnel hours and cutting budgets. Unfortunately marketing budgets are often at the top of the list for cuts, and while we obviously have a vested interest in that not being the case, we also know that it is vital to keep your profile high in challenging times, to ensure you are still at the forefront of potential customer’s minds when we come out the other end. While our preference is to build strong relationships with our clients, ensuring that what we do is totally in line with their business plans and aspirations, our research demonstrates a need for companies like ours to provide more affordable, yet still effective solutions in maintaining a consistent profile.

“Free” social media can be costly in terms of time and effort. We are convinced that using it effectively can have a significant impact on your business, but that should not be achieved at the cost of your core business activities. This is one area where I would say (with no agenda at all) – hand it to an expert who knows the industry, understands the language and can communicate your business as well as, if not better than you can.