Further Adventures in Social Media

Picture of man using laptop for FacebookSince I last wrote about this topic, the social media field has continued to develop at a great rate.

With all the new possibilities springing up, you could easily spend all your working day being “social”.  So what to choose?  How to keep everything up to date?

Inevitably as this field develops, there are more people concentrating on building expertise in this section of the internet.  I’m working with one of them on a project at the moment and it’s going to be fascinating to see what effect it’ll have on my client’s business.

Briefly though, for people who just want a quick overview, here’s what seems to have changed in the last few months:-

Facebook continues to grow and grow. Not only for friends and family to interact (and yes, sometimes in my house that’s the way the kids talk to each other!) but also for businesses to get involved with their customer base. No doubt because of this wide appeal, Facebook is growing but MySpace is cutting back on staff. Myspace seems to have settled more into a role as publicity for musicians, bands and creative types.

Twitter is still going strong but its role in terms of a business tool is becoming more focused on either again keeping in touch with customers (especially on the move since it lends itself to mobile/smartphone use) or checking on hot topics.

YouTube is a great way of putting a personal touch on a business, and of course for sharing and hosting advertising videos. Another way also of getting links back to your main website.

Becoming more useful are blogging platforms such as Blogger and Tumblr. More of this in future posts I’m sure.

And finally, LinkedIn continues to grow in importance, especially to anyone who is providing any kind of consultancy service. In addition to developing connections, it’s a good way of displaying recommendations to the wider community. If you have time to get involved, you can use the Answers (and of course questions) feature to share your expertise – great for building credibility and more links back to your site or blogs.

Adventures in Social Media

This topic will certainly pop up again.

For now though, just a few comments.

There is no doubt that social media are a popular topic, and many gurus are writing about the merits of the various systems available. At the time of writing, a  brief summary of their uses is as follows:

Facebook – great for engaging with your target market and particularly for finding out what makes them tick. Facebook’s Keyword system allows you to see a fascinating range of subjects that might interest your target group. With Facebook you have to remember that it’s a fairly captive and static group that will be looking at any adverts you place, so you need to refresh them often.

When setting out to use Facebook, think carefully if you want a personal page that your friends and customers will all see; or a Group – small but targetted and you can send out active messages to everyone in the group; or a business page – more like a website for your business, no limit to how many people can become a fan.

Twitter demands regular attention if you are to maintain a presence. There is a fine balance here between regular messages to keep your followers engaged, and so many in a day that they become irritated and switch you off. Think carefully about how much time you will have to keep this going.  Twitter does have another use, which is as a source of information on what people are talking about, what their concerns are, and even possibly who some of your competitors are and what they are up to. A tweet of a question such as “who knows a good way to xxxx” is likely to pull in a few useful answers.

LinkedIn is developing rapidly. Whilst it has an obvious role in displaying your cv and current activities to other users, it is becoming a place to advertise, and certainly is being used more and more as a source of employment leads – to hire people and to canvas for business opportunities.

MySpace is currently looking like the essential place for anyone in the popular music business to have a presence but has less of a role for other businesses.

Even if you don’t want to have an active presence on these systems, it is a good idea to set up an account with your business name, if only to stop anyone else doing so. If you want to go into social media actively, think carefully about how you will dovetail with your website and/or blog. And don’t underestimate the time it will take you to manage your social media presence, particularly if you manage to develop an active and engaged community.