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Professional Uses of Social Media Recap

Laurie Dillon Schalk did a seminar Dec 3, 09 for the Rapport community at the National Yacht Club in Toronto, on professional uses of social media. It started with an educating introduction into the rise of social media, the different types of platforms like social networking vs media sites, vs social bookmarking, vs blogs and podcasts, wikis and communities.

Where the Magic Happens.

Laurie talked about the idea of your visible network (friends and colleagues) and your invisible network (their friends and colleagues). This is often where the magic lies in social networking – the hidden opportunities for business, jobs, friends and ideas happen become much easier to find. Just by sharing information on a social media platform, you have much more opportunity for being heard by this invisible network.

Laurie then went on to talk about the major advances in the internet and software development that has lead to this fairly recent explosion, but what’s most interesting to me is how I can help my clients use it to expand their reach, build their brand and sales.

Where to Focus Your Social Media Efforts

The vehicle you use depends on business and marketing objectives, customer experience, purchasing decision cycle or criteria, where your target market hangs out and your organizational readiness. Though social media is often touted as ‘free’ it is a marketing effort and takes someone’s time. If you are going to use one, choose which and make a real go of it – just like networking in real life. Pick the venue you like best and be willing to devote time and effort to it, to build a presence and relationships.

The numbers and demographics of people getting involved are changing daily and staggering. Keep in mind when you are generating content that 24% of social media users are creators with 73% being spectators with critics, collectors, joiners and inactives in between. That means there’s a lot of room to become known as an expert.

Remember, it’s More Than Just Twitter

When most people hear the words ‘social media’ they automatically think of the big three: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and Laurie gave tips on optimizing them. But, remember that social media includes things like blogs, wikipedia, web-based collaboration and YouTube – anywhere people can share information/media with the masses. There’s a lot available to help you manage and analyze the effectiveness of all this, like MailChimp and Google Analytics – to really build your business.

Social Media as Part of All-inclusive Marketing

One of the most important things to remember is that engaging in any kind of social media on a professional level is an extension of your brand. It should be considered as an integrated part of your marketing efforts, and held to the same standards of consistency and continual experience we encourage with our marketing maps. Where you have the opportunity to decorate (like a Twitter background) make sure it fits in with your brand colours, imagery, etc. If it’s mostly around information sharing, decide on your voice and stay loyal to your brand character. Your approach, your purpose should be considered before diving in. Any weak link in your marketing map detracts from the rest.

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