The key with social media is a bit like your holidays vs. work days. A nice balance can make a world of difference. Too much will keep you hiding behind a computer and too little – well chances are you won’t know what you are missing out on!
As a marketer, I find this topic overwhelms and confuses many business owners. Quite frankly, even in the marketing world – the jury is still out on the trends. But rest assured – social media is not going away. As our children grow up and take over corporate North America, the names of the tools may change, but the overall usage will only become more and more in use.
To start, let’s look at what Social Media really is. According to Wikipedia (which is itself a social media tool, by the way):
Social Media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate:
Technology + Human interaction = the construction of ideas (text), pictures (graphics), videos and/or audio.
2 Key Ways Social Media can help your business.
1. So people can find you and your business more readily on the internet. Such optimization includes adding links to services such as Digg, Reddit and Del.icio.us so that pages can be easily ‘saved and submitted’ to and for these services.
2. To position yourself and/or your company as an expert or leader in your industry. This includes writing content that is remarkable, unique, and newsworthy. This content can then be marketed by popularizing it or even by creating a “viral” video on YouTube and other video sites.
Examples of Social Media
Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Facebook (social networking), Youmeo (social network aggregation), Last.fm (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Avatars United (social networking), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing), Twitter (social networking and microblogging) and other microblogs such as Jaiku and Pownce. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.
Beginner Steps #1
Set up a LinkedIn account and possibly a Facebook account. LinkedIn is a social site geared to business. Facebook tends to be more personal, though some people have certainly used it for business as well. It is free to set up both accounts. At a bare minimum, include your company web address and contact details. Try to use key search terms in your descriptions.
Invite Your Existing and Ongoing Prospects to link up with you.
Bigger Steps #1
LinkedIn has an Answers function where you can ask and answer questions. Answer at least one question a week in your area of expertise. When your answer is chosen by the questioner it helps you to earn Expert status in your industry.
Start Your Own Groups.
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