June 12, 2009

How Can Social Media Help You?

Connecting to Followers thru' Friends

Okay, here we go with the sexy topic on many minds right now. Will social media help grow your business? The answer is very simple: it depends on your commitment.

To think that if you sign up a Twitter account, get a Facebook profile and post your resume on LinkedIn will make you successful is less sound than hoping the $10 you just dropped on this weekend’s lottery will make you wealthy.

Pick your analogy but somewhere will be something about seeds and a garden.

Social Media 101

I will assume you know something about social media, you dabble a bit, but you want to know how it may help your business. I have decided to focus only on the social media big four, unfair perhaps but let’s fish where the proverbial fish reside. This is a potential audience of over half a billion.

And important to note, none of these companies are clients though one could always dream.

MySpace

Although we know social networking is 100,000 or more years old, MySpace is the grandfather of social media. Before the other biggies, MySpace was a place to be expressive and share, gain friends and discover new music. It has evolved into an artistic marketing and thriving community of musicians, fans, film, comedy, design and more.

Customization and freedom are the backbone of this space. As far as being involved with MySpace on a business level, this is were you can go crazy. Experiment, post your latest and newest and ask for opinions. (And wait for answers!)

Many of the social media early adopters dropped MySpace a couple of years ago, but if you haven't been in a while - it's worth a visit.

Facebook

Facebook is an excellent social networking site to establish relationships between your company and individuals. It can create an evangelist network of similar thinking people.

If you have good stuff to share, great products to use, then it can be a good place for you to allow the conversation to continue. Remember, branding only happens between customers. But you need to be a part of the conversation.

Facebook has more than 200 million active users and more than 100 million of them log on at least once a day. The fastest growing demographic is 35yrs plus.

With the creation of a company Facebook Group, you can correspond with like-minded people with a vested interest in what you offer. A personal and company profile or group should be developed as solutions-based to benefit the visitors.

Twitter

Twitter is a channel that demands interaction and contribution. This is where the conversation continues and anyone or any company that tries to “sell” their wares is not received in a positive way.

There are currently more than 10 million people sharing this space and it is growing at a current rate of 1400% a year. This does not mean they are all paying attention. The downside is that attrition is running at over 50%. That means that more than half of those signing up drop it quickly. But still, the community is growing.

Twitter is a place where you can also interact with your potential customers in real-time. In order to engage, you must participate – and you must mean it.

Some companies have successfully embraced Twitter as a part of their personality campaign.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the business social networking leader. This is where your company can establish business-to-business, business-to-industry and business-to-customer relationships.

With their integrated search tools, you can quickly find out how many groups are dedicated to your industry or specialty. You can also start your own group and search for others to join. Maintenance, commitment and regular contribution is also mandatory to best access LinkedIn’s potential.

Integrate Everything

Those are the social media big four. And there are other ways to integrate your name, company and message online through feedburner, rss feed, blogs, podcasts, friendfeed, and numerous other social media websites.

And one very important point here - diversify because like the auto industry, you cannot assume any company or web portal will be around forever.

Easy Peasy

And your own site should be easy to navigate and should include links to all of your sites. You should also have search engine optimization and everything wired with Google Analytics. All of your online activity must be streamlined, integrated and aggrated to maximize your impact.

Some or all of this may sound like algebra to you, because it is. It takes time to navigate and most of all it takes commitment to participate.

To butcher the cliché, your social media presence won’t be built in a day.

How can Social Media help your business?

@knealemann
knealemann at gmail dot com

photo credit: ceoworld.biz

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