Debbie Curtis Magley (@DebCM) is “Chief Tweeter” and public relations manager at UPS (@UPS, blog) here in Atlanta. She is also a consultant and speaker at the upcoming SMB Social Media Makeover Forum on November 8th in Atlanta.
At UPS, Debbie leads their social media strategy, policies, and practices. In her role, Debbie oversees online monitoring, guides reporting and conversation outreach, and helps drive collaboration across the enterprise. Over the past few years, she has directed UPS’s social media response to a variety of issues and news events including FedEx’s “Brown Bailout” campaign, the Haiti earthquake, and the crash of UPS Flight 6 in Dubai.
In preparation for the Forum, I asked Debbie for her perspective about social media and small business.
What can small companies learn from a big company about how to use social media — given that smaller companies have fewer resources at their disposal?
At UPS, we want our social media channels to serve as helpful resources for our audiences. We’ll often share information from other sources, knowing that it will be viewed as useful. Regardless of size, there are ways that small businesses can compete with the “big guys” in social media. Small businesses are more likely connected to the culture and happenings in their local community. By using social media to connect with customers, share news and promote upcoming events, small businesses can be seen as a “go to” local resource. It can be as simple as retweeting links for events or sharing a Facebook post or video.
What is the biggest social media mistake you see newbies committing?
One of the biggest mistake any company can make in social media is to use it strictly as a broadcasting channel rather than a place to listen and engage in conversations. Social media is often compared to a cocktail or networking party, where people are sharing stories, viewpoints and information. Listen to what people are saying and jump in the conversation when you have something useful to share.
What is your best makeover tip for a small company looking to get more fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter?
Rather than focus on size, I suggest businesses spend time developing quality engagement. While it may be nice to have 100,000 Facebook fans or Twitter followers, you don’t gain anything if they don’t represent your target audience. Consider ways to promote your customers. Look (or listen) for stories that celebrate customer successes. Also, showcase your personality in social media. Have fun and use humor … doing so will make you a natural draw.