Social media is quickly becoming ubiquitous in our lives — not only giving us news on our friends, but news of the day. We found out all about the recent birth of the newest heir to the British throne on social.

The royal baby is merely two weeks old and already doing a lot to bring the British Monarchy into the Internet age:  “The Twitter of tiny feet as William and Kate announce arrival online in historic first.”



We’re also using social media to connect with current and potential customers. It’s no longer a question of should companies use it… but how. How does a business reach who it wants to reach, stay relevant, listen to what they’re saying, and help them influence others? 

Target your audience

At Cisco, we have as many as 75 Facebook pages and more than 100 Twitter handles.  We want to reach people already interested in a particular topic, so we maintain handles such as @cisco_support, @CiscoVideo and @CiscoSocial. We also have Cisco Twitter handles such as @CiscoCanada and @CiscoItalia to send news and promotions specific to a certain part of the world and post in a country’s native language.

Be timely and topical

Tie your content into current events as much as possible. Cisco posts an image to its Facebook page three times a week that ties into a holiday or what’s trending in the news.

Here’s our take on the news from the royal family:


Check out these recent ones for Father’s Day, the 4th of July and last month’s 44th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. This Cisco blog talks more about this strategy — and what we did for Valentine’s Day.


Listen to your online audience

This is a key first step in social media. Starbucks shows its four million Twitter followers it’s listening by often responding with a coupon if you tweet @Starbucks that you’re in the mood for a coffee. Starbucks also shares promotions regularly using popular hash tags like #NowBrewing and #icedcoffee to grab the attention of those not necessarily following them.

Pay special attention to your most highly engaged followers as they are your biggest fans. Here are a few tips:  1) make sure you respond to their comments and questions, 2) connect your most loyal fans with each other, 3) become a fan of your fans (and follow them) and 4) generate content that speaks to their needs and gives them something to talk about.

Help others share your content 

Cisco likes to turn our online audiences into online communities, and we often use hash tags for an event or topic when posting. For example, we use #IoE for our Internet of Everything posts to help others engage with each other instead of them just responding to Cisco. It’s also a great way to find other influencers and thought leaders talking about a topic.

At Cisco, we like to share best practices as well as content. So please check out our social media team and several guest speakers in  last week’s Ustream broadcast (July 31st 9-9:45am PT) and hear how to use social in both online and offline events.

Share your ideas about social media in the comments below or on Twitter: @MarieHattar