Getting your feet wet in social media
With social media, as with many things, it is best to wade in slowly and get used to the water rather than just heading straight for the high dive and hoping for the best. There are many places where you can get your feet wet and it is best to just choose one or two to start and see where it takes you as you begin to develop your full social media plan.
One of the biggest booms in Internet development recently is blogging. One of the reasons for this boom is accessibility. There are a number of FREE platforms out there including WordPress, Blogger, TypePad and more) just waiting for you to decide to post but the real trick is how to make the most of it. There are many ways to start blogging. Some experts suggest that having both a personal and a corporate blog is the way to go but that can be a bit overwhelming for a novice user (or even an experienced one for that matter). I would recommend starting small and work your way up. The trick with blogging is the content. You don’t want to use it as a platform simple to push your products or recent press. The best use for a corporate blog is to use it as a forum to establish thought leadership for your company in your industry. If you start talking about things that holds both yours and others interests, it becomes a win-win. You will have a place to discuss things that are important to you and while you are at it you can begin to develop a following that sees you as an authority on the topics you discuss which can lead to great things for your company.
Twitter has bust into the scene was the place to go to learn about just about everything 140 characters at a time. If you asked any grow of people you run across you are likely to get widely varying opinions that run the gamut from “who cares what you had for dinner last night” to “this is the best thing to happen to me in years” and everything in between. But what the nay Sayers neglect to see is that as with many things in life, Twitter is what you make if it. If the only people you follow are home bound relatives, then your experience is likely to be poor, but if you follow people you find interesting, your experience will drastically change. Twitter offers the ability to mix a little more business with pleasure. You can follow industry luminaries while at the same time being able to hear what happened at that party you missed. It is a great platform for sharing blog postings (like this one @GraphicTechniq for those who are interested), PR for all the great new happenings with your company, product information, personal observations and you can even “re-tweet” interesting things put out by the people you follow.
Facebook is the ultimate online social gathering. Where else can you connect with family and catch up with people you have not even thought about in 20 years? But Facebook offers a great deal for business as well. Companies can set up “public” profiles that allow you update your “fans” about what is happening with your company (you can check out the <a href=”http://www.facebook.com/pages/Graphic-Technique/80536624725″ target=”_new”>Graphic Technique</a> page as an example). At the same time, Facebook provides a perfect platform for customer interaction that fortune 500 companies pay big bucks to get. Interactivity is the key here. Facebook is the best example of a place where social media should be a two-way street. Offer valuable information to your fans and take their comments and use them to help you improve your products or business as a whole.
Pod casting is a good way to distribute additional audio and video content such as interviews, presentations, product demonstrations, conference panels and more. And if you have regular content like a radio show or the like, you could get your audio content added to iTunes so it is very easy for your followers to find, and even synchronize you to their iPod. For video content you could set up your own channel on YouTube for easy access and these are all things that you can cross promote with other social media avenues.
There are many more social media outlets out there beyond these basics. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to determine which of these individual options (or combination there of) makes the most sense to your business. And once you figure that out, unlace those shoes, peel off those socks and come on in…the water is fine.