Wikipedia defines Social media as information content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue (one to many) into dialog (many to many) and is the democratization of information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media
Remembering that successfully building business means building relationships. Social media/online networking provides more ways for people to connect with your business who you may not have met otherwise, and people they know, and people they know. Like all other points of contact, social media should be considered an extension of your brand – how you talk about it, how you represent your company’s values and services. It’s also part of your marketing map.
There are many forms of social media ranging from real-time posting of travel reviews like on TripAdvisor, to blogs, to Flickr and YouTube. Many of these can be incorporated into your own web site and activities.
For business networking, the most popular social media comes in the form of organized spaces like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. They all have tools and functions for users to adapt, they all have pros and cons.
- Both Facebook and LinkedIn require permission to connect – ie: you search for a name and ask them to be your friend.
- Twitter may seem limited in that the information posted is in very short tweets – if you are looking for specific things.
- Facebook mixes personal and business, which isn’t always good
- Twitter allows easy connecting, starting the relationship off more naturally. Then you decide if you wish to take it to the next level.
- Twitter is a great way to touch/meet a lot of people, see what’s happening out there in small, bite-sized pieces.
- Twitter you can simply keep up with interesting people.
- Twitter is excellent for showing your brilliance and sharing information with your whole network at once, and possibly theirs if interesting enough to retweet.
- LinkedIn and Facebook include more in-depth information for searching on specific things included in profiles, like organization memberships, work history, services, etc.
Making the best use of Twitter:
Making the best use of LinkedIn:
What makes LinkedIn great is that you can reach out and connect with everyone in your network instantaneously and can also seek and reach out to people in their networks. This happens most easily by changing your profile or status. The key is to have a detailed profile and be active – regularly update your status and profile, connect with new people participate in groups and discussions. You can also give recommendations and endorsements – you may get some back! There’s ‘Answers’ that help increase your visibility, plus position you as an expert in your field. There are applications you can use to enhance your profile, like the ability to connect your WordPress blog so new posts show automatically.
Lawrence Hughes of Hughes Resources www.HUGHESRESOURCES.CA uses LinkedIn to search for specific experience requested in candidates and updates his status with what he is looking for at the moment to aid in his searches. By keeping his profile up-to-date and clear on what he offers, he has had cold contacts from people who are now clients through LinkedIn looking specifically for his expertise and help.
Mashable has tons of articles on how to use LinkedIn
Making the best of Facebook:
I personally tend to keep Facebook personal because friends and family (both have potentially embarrassing childhood photos of me) get mixed in. However, I have noticed I get a lot more attention for the things I post on Facebook than I do on LinkedIn.
There are some cool features you can use for business like starting a company page. Remember to be aware of a line in the sand if you primarily want to use Facebook for business: avoid discussing or updating on trivial things and focus on business.
Randy Tyrell uses Facebook to promote the many events he runs. It’s a perfect mix of friends and business.
Facebook seems to change the rules and features frequently, so keeping up to date is key. Mashable has many, many articles how to keep up with Facebook.
An important part of business development:
Social Media is hugely important in connecting with potential clients or people who know them. Whether you make specific marketing efforts or simply use it for networking. For any social media site:
- Take the time to learn the culture and how to use it properly.
- All of them help you stay visible. Remember you are always visible.
- Use it to build relationships, not to ask for sales.