Social Media is Here to Stay
I’ve recently come up for air after spending four years managing a mega provincial initiative.
Although I was contracted as a private consultant to direct the initiative, its all-consuming nature meant in addition to ignoring the importance of a balanced life, I also neglected many other aspects of my consulting business.
Now that I have time to focus on, and rebuild my company, it has become increasingly clear that a more extensive use of social media is necessary.
Apparently I’m not the only small business or organization thinking along those lines.
Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google+, Pinterest…while the choices may be overwhelming, social media’s potential for growing business and organizations simply can’t be ignored.
Why use social media?
It’s free, easy to use, doesn’t have to take a lot of time, and, perhaps more importantly, your customers or stakeholders are already using it.
Social media can be leveraged to help you connect with customers or clients, increase visibility, get news out quickly, and simply stay ahead of the curve and your competition.
What is social media?
Social media is any website or mobile phone function that allows you to share content and ideas with other people. Just think of it as a variety of methods for getting in touch with like minded people from all over the world.
You can use social media to show potential customers the people behind the business and distinguish yourself from the competition, get feedback, quickly respond and address complaints, create incentives, increase word of mouth marketing, share photos, increase product awareness, promote new products and events, hold contests, and expand your mailing list.
While there is no simple answer to which ones you should use, here are a number of steps everyone may want to consider.
First make sure you have a website and a blog. And, make sure you can edit both of those on your own.
Your website and blog are your most important online assets. All your social media activities should be about growing your blog, website, and email database.
Next, set up a Facebook page.
While most people think about having an individual Facebook page, every business or community organization should also have their own. They are quite simple to set up and run.
Get ideas by researching those already out there. Add photos that show your products, services, and customers or clients. Invite your friends to get you started and start interacting with current and potential customers. You can share photos, ideas, tips—anything that will compliment your brand and create loyalty to you and your business or organization.
Once you have that under control, you need to start thinking about other social media tools that might work for your business or organization.
The most popular include Twitter, Linked In, Youtube, Google+, and Pinterest.
If Facebook is for contacting friends, Twitter is for following people you wish you knew.
Generally when someone sends a tweet in 140 characters or less they are answering the question, “What are you doing?” It is an efficient way to stay up to date with real-time news straight from those you pick and choose as having information relevant to your work—reporters, celebrities, those within your industry, elected officials etc.
Linkedin is pretty much like an online resume. It’s not as important for small businesses unless you are scouting for other work but it is a significant resource for organizations and individuals who understand the value of networking.
Youtube is of course all about video and providing content to those wanting to learn more about what you do and how you do it. Linked to your website, blog, Facebook or Twitter page, it can explain what you do, create awareness, educate, and ultimately increase customer loyalty.
Some suggest Google+ is Google’s response to concerns that Facebook is taking over. It focuses on integrating your online social media life with your search engine. You can add people to your circle of friends and then your search results change based on what those people recommend. You can now also have a business page.
Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board that lets you “pin”, organize, and share all the things you find interesting on the web.
And yes, there are many other options as well. But perhaps that, in addition to learning how to manage all of one’s social media, are topics for upcoming columns. Stay tuned or follow me at twitter: @brenda_herchmer or connect to me via LinkedIn or Facebook.Posted on 08-05-12
Nicely presented! The role of several kinds of social media is very important for our life. Thanks for the detail.•Posted by Jack anthony on 08/09/12 at 12:36 AM
The Social media has tighten its grip all over the world. People are just found of it, they loved to spend time over it.
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