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Social Media Series: Where Do I Begin?

social media by Shannon Noack on July 16, 2010 | 4 Comments

socialmediaAs most people already know, the social media scene is pretty big these days. Is your business in it? If not, you may be wondering where to start and if it’s going to benefit your company.

Today starts the social media series! We’ll cover some basics and answer questions you may have about social media and getting involved. We’ll discuss how social media could benefit your company, which social media sites may be best for you, what to say and how to interact to bring about new customers and potential leads, plus more!

It’s all about interacting

Get involved! Sometimes social media sites can feel a bit like talking to yourself in the beginning, but it’s the interactions that you make with others that make it truly valuable. As a business, you can network with lots of different people. Many people are out there asking questions or requesting help. Help find a solution to their problem or point them to someone you know who can help. They may just refer you to someone in the future. Find people that do similar things, it’s always neat to learn how others run their business, and could be a great resource for you. The more interactions you make, the more potential there is.

How does it benefit me?

Social media started as a way to keep in touch with friends and has evolved into a great marketing tactic for companies. It’s a great way to reach a large audience and it’s unique because it’s often an audience that wouldn’t normally hear about your product or service. Before social media, advertising or word of mouth were the best ways to announce your services and reach new customers. Advertising can be costly and word of mouth, although it can be very effective, is not a controlled form of marketing. Social media isn’t a controlled form either, but you can make it happen on your own. Now, you can interact with your customers and reach people in further geographic areas easily or hit different audiences than you could before.

Where do I start?

Start by defining your audience. Who do you want to reach online? Then, decide which social media outlets would be best for your target audience. Each social media site allows you to do different things, so that’s something to take into consideration as well.

Facebook allows you to make longer posts that can include pictures, links, and videos. It’s the biggest social media site out there today with a pretty widespread audience.

Twitter is a great place to make short announcements. You wouldn’t think so, but you can say a lot in 140 characters if you plan it right. It’s a growing community with a lot of different audiences: designers, churches, non-profits, business owners, and many potential customers.

LinkedIn is more geared toward professional networking. You can connect with people you’ve worked at a company with, people you went to school with, and people you’ve met through business relations. You can create company profiles on there, giving you another avenue for people to find you through.

Flickr allows you to post and comment on images. It’s a great place if you have lots of images to share, people that may benefit from it are photographers, artists with work to show, or anyone that has photos of events, products, etc.

YouTube is a unique place that allows you to post and comment on videos. It’s a great place to post tips and tutorials that your audience may find valuable.

There are tons of sites out there: Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon. Some are even geared toward specific industries. Research your options and decide what will work best for your business.

Create a game plan

It’s important to think about what kinds of things you’ll post before you jump in. As a business on twitter, facebook, or any of the other sites, keep it professional but don’t forget that it’s all about getting to know each other. Add some personality, but don’t just post what you’re having for dinner or doing for the weekend. Think about what potential followers might be interested in and post on relevant topics to your company. Post about upcoming events, special announcements, and blog posts you’ve written. Search for resources to share which will be valuable for your customers, they will appreciate the extra information they can gain from you.

Getting involved is a great free way to advertise your business and gain the trust of potential customers. The more people you reach, the more potential customers you could have, which will help your business flourish.


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