I was invited to present in the Leading Edge Class with the Boulder Small Business Development Center last night… it was so fun! There were many great questions asked, so I figured I would dedicate a blog post to my topic (and perhaps expand a little.)
Here is an overview of my presentation:
Social Media: Getting Social in a Digital World
And, why it matters to your business!
We are social beings… think about it, old style markets where people would buy supplies and gather for conversation, Sunday church, community events and more. I think we’re all just hard-wired to stay connected. It’s no surprise that social media (the online version) has evolved.
WHAT is social media? Social media is a collection of platforms in which users can produce and share content online, therefore turning communication into dialogue between entities. OR…. Quite simply …
A conversation supported by online tools.
Did you know that there are over 100 thriving social media sites? It’s easy to get confused and be overwhelmed by all the options out there. And, let me tell you something … you do NOT have to have a presence on every site (of course, that would be impossible), or even on the top four! You should find one or two places that are the best fit for your business and do well in those.
I like to compare various online social media sites to “real world” situations. Here is what I have come up with:
Facebook is like the backyard BBQ. You invite your friends, family and maybe even a few acquaintances. People talk about favorite books, movies, tv shows, brands. They show off photos and brag.
Before you can set up a business page – and get into these conversations! – you must first have a personal page. Once you have a personal account, and set up a page through Facebook Pages, you will be considered an ‘admin.’ There can be an unlimited number of admins who may post AS your business page.
Please do not use your personal account as your business account! Consumers do not want to personally connect with you (because you’ll be able to see their posts, and I’m sure there are privacy issues there) but will most likely want to ‘follow’ your brand.
Twitter is like an event on the National Mall! There are a few friends, but it’s mostly strangers. There are a lot of brands and causes. People talk about EVERYTHING; events, brands, causes, trending topics. It’s a tidal wave of information! BUT, tweeps (users of Twitter) are voracious followers, contributors and megaphones for the brands they love.
LinkedIn is like a business networking event. There are colleagues, ex-colleagues, fellow professional group members, some friends. A lot of businesses have a business page and many companies have created relevant topic groups. (Join your industry groups! They are a gold mine of opportunity) People talk about … well, business.
Pinterest is like an art opening at a gallery. It’s VISUAL. You see something you like, and you pin it on your board. It’s so new that it’s hard to pinpoint (no pun intended!) the audience. Your connections do not have to be people you know and brands can connect with you, as well. Data has shown, however, that Pinterest drives more traffic back to websites than any other social media site.
The Rules of Social Media (a few of them, anyway.)
Social media channels allow you to have an open line of communication with your current and potential clients. But, remember, social media is only a PART of the marketing equation, albeit a big part in your overall inbound marketing strategy. Figure out your overall goals, then incorporate these channels.