Get Sociable! Succeeding with Social Media | October 18th, 2010

Social MediaWhat is social media?

Social media describes websites that allow users to share content. Common examples are the popular social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Social media also includes other sites aimed at photo and video sharing, such as YouTube. Blogs such as this one are also considered social media.

Why the hype about social networking?

Walmart is doing it. So is the local Hannaford Supermarket. Dunkin Donuts, too.

Take a look at the next website you’re on, and you’ll likely find a link to their Facebook and/or Twitter page.

You may have heard that using social media is a good idea for business, but is it really necessary? Absolutely.

If you’ve ever had a conversation with me about Facebook, you know that I’m not really fond of it. I dislike setting aside time to maintain my business page. That being said, I highly recommend having a professional presence on Facebook. I can account for at least a half dozen business connections I’ve made that would not have happened otherwise. The results speak for themselves.

Each day, millions of people turn on their computers for an instant update on what their friends posted on the social-networking sites. Businesses and non-profits can learn to  take advantage of this popular trend to promote their organization. Many business owners are already logging in and maintaining Facebook pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts, as well as making appearances on professional networks such as LinkedIn.

Although it is hard to truly measure the impact these sites have on business, they undoubtedly establish a friendly dialogue with customers. Social media may be increasingly recognized as a worthwhile advertising technique, but more importantly, it is a way to connect with people so they feel like they have a relationship with your organization and the people behind it.

What is the best way to get started?

Here are a three tips to help you succeed at social networking:

1. Choose your social media carefully. Don’t make the mistake of joining fifty social networking sites and getting a few followers on each. You are better off having more quality subscribers on just two or three networks.

2. Offer quality content. Your subscribers don’t want to know what you had for breakfast, nor do they want to be endlessly assaulted with your self-serving promotions. It’s Ok to let your clients know what you are doing with your business, but keep it interesting and mix it up. Post information that will benefit your customers. Own a hotel? List area events that might be of interest. In the healthcare business? You can offer healthy recipes. If you can’t find time to write compelling articles, do a little online research. There are plenty of resources available on the internet that you can provide links to.

3. Commit. If you are going to take advantage of the social media trend, you need to commit to it long term. You can’t make a few posts and then forget about it. Social media is social. It is an ongoing conversation with clients and potential clients. Be sure to set aside time each week to post something worthwhile, and don’t forget to reply to comments, too. If a customer has taken time to positively comment on your recent post, it deserves at least a “thank you”.

3 comments

  1. Adriane says:

    When I read this I told my husband that it sounded like he wrote it. As web designers we really don’t have a lot of time to spend on social media, but we are keenly aware of it’s networking power and advise all of our clients to be active in social media. So much, that we’ve started our own social media management service. Your tips above are spot on and we plan to post this article on our fan page and Twitter to make sure people are reading them!

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