Conquering Social Media
What is Social Media & Why is It Important For Businesses?
By popular definition, social media is an instrument of social communication. That’s about as clear as mud isn’t it? In order to really understand social media, we have to dig a little further and break it down again. Using the above definition, the internet itself is a kind of social media, so we need to be a bit more specific. In terms of the Web 2.0 world, social media is something that allows you to both give and receive information and interacts with you while doing so. Popular examples are social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube where you can share information, get feedback, and leave feedback for others while having a truly interactive experience.
Social media is important for businesses because it is a veritable gold-mine of information about the very people whose attention you are seeking, i.e. your target market. Save expensive panels, product testing, and focus groups you are going to have a hard time finding a resource as rich as the one offered by various social media outlets.
There are various types of social media including social networking sites (Facebook, et al.), blogs, and social bookmarking / sharing sites to name a few. Knowing the differences between these types of social media is the first step to learning their limitations and advantages, and using this information to tailor your messages to fit each platform or delivery method.
Conquering Social Media Starts Today!
Once you are aware of the different types of social media and the best way to deliver your messages to audiences there, your next step is to choose the social media sites that best fit your company. Does your target audience have a large presence on a particular site? If so, sign up for that one. If not, it’s better to leave it alone for now and focus on sites where your content will be well received.
As a business you need to have a social media policy and guidelines for interacting with your connections on various sites and blogs; the goal is to keep your communications consistent regardless of the site being used or the person doing the posting.
Another weapon in your arsenal for conquering social media just might be a scheduling tool; while automated or “canned” posts and responses are frowned upon, there is nothing wrong with using a tool such as Hootsuite to help a team manage posts and responses across multiple networks. Of course you will still need to log in to your various accounts in order to take full advantage of the features each site has to offer, but for a small business every little bit of assistance is appreciated.
Social Media – A Word of Caution
Social media is attractive and yet intimidating for many businesses. Should you sign up for every site you think you might benefit from, or should you select only a few? What if by going with fewer accounts you are missing out on interacting with potential customers?
By making the best choice for your business, you are already on the path to success. It is recommended to only have a few social media accounts and to really work hard on those few accounts than to have dozens of accounts and not be able to keep up a consistent image and presence on each of them.
Social media burnout is a very real thing and can happen to anyone (or any business) spending a lot of time and effort on keeping up with the pace of the social world.
Which sites does your business use as a part of your social media efforts?