If we reduce social life to the smallest possible unit we will find that there is no social life in the company of one. Jerzy Kosinski
What is social media for businesses? If we break it down, a business is now required to be social in the market place. Social media is engaging, conversing, and developing a relationship with the consumer in real-time.
Think Twitter, Facebook, RebelMouse, LinkedIn, blogs, and anything other platform using the internet. The benefit of social media is engaging the audience immediately and often. The message does not need months of development, testing, and trials. A quick tweet keeps the customer engaged. A “like” or “follow” makes the receiver feel included and motivates a conversation.
These are some of the benefits but not all of them. So many opportunities exist in the social media world.
Where to Start
Open a Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, or other media platform with your BUSINESS name. Open these accounts as business accounts if required. You will be sending out communications to represent your business and should keep your personal profiles and accounts separate (just like your money 🙂 ). Let’s go over just a few of the options.
I like to tweet a couple of times a day. Typically it is a product from my jewelry shop, link to a YouTube video I found interesting, a news story I would like to share. Remember, it is a CONVERSATION so keep it interesting and not just about you. Sure, you want to share what your business has to offer but you also want to keep your audience engaged. Your audience doesn’t want to just read about your shop. They want information, tips, links, humor, etc.
Also, follow back and retweet your followers tweets. This is paying it forward. Your followers will return the favor and this grows your network and footprint.
Facebook allows you to add a business page to your personal profile. Some times this is a convenient feature and some times it is not. Be mindful when posting links from outside Facebook to add them to your business page. Don’t just update your business information; post a quote, helpful tip, funny story, business update. Like what your follower have to offer. And like other businesses.
The new phenom in social media. Users love it; businesses love it; it is loved! Like a bulletin board “pin” visuals for other users to repin and share. This is a great platform for businesses because the photos link back to your website, blog, shop, wherever you specify. They also live on forever! I have found pins from 3 years ago still active and strong.
The key is to pin engaging, good visuals be it a photo or graphic. Follow other “pinners”, create specific “boards” — yummy food, cute dogs, pretty gardens, etc. Remember to repin other users pins too. This continues the conversations, makes it about them, and grows the circle of interest.
Open a business account with Pinterest and save yourself the time in “converting” later. You will have access to business features “pin it” buttons etc.
This is a very interesting platform. I’ve played with it a bit and like it but haven’s spent enough time to become an expert. To me it is similar to the most popular media outlets – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. It is very engaging featuring circles of friends, associates, family, etc. Google+ is visual so great photos and graphics to share are a must.
These two services are similar in that photos are uploaded and shared with followers. You can like the photos of others, comment, etc. The difference is Instagram photos are shared from a mobile device — kind of “on-the-go” while Flickr is a Yahoo sharing program allowing uploads from different devices (including PC).
A business social outlet that connects business people. It is a great tool for networking without an early morning breakfast meeting! Business people does not just mean business owners. Anyone with a job, small business, large business, career, or business endeavor / outlet — past and present — participates. Again, I have not spent as much time as I should on LinkedIn and it is one of my 2014 goals to take part more. I think it has great breadth of opportunities and social reach.
The above are a few of the more popular social media outlets. So many more exist and are worth trying. However, pace yourself. Don’t start accounts for all the social media sites available if you are unable to support them.
It is critical to engage on your social medial sites daily or at least every other day. The goal is to create relationships and share information. Social media is fickle and if the user is not constantly engaged they will stop following you and most likely never return.
Most importantly — have fun. An audience can feel if you are enjoying the shared message and will be more inclined to have a relationship if it seems you are having fun.
Human beings are born solitary, but everywhere they are in chains – daisy chains – of interactivity. Social actions are makeshift forms, often courageous, sometimes ridiculous, always strange. And in a way, every social action is a negotiation, a compromise between ‘his’, ‘her’, or ‘their’ wish and yours. Andy Warhol
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