Posts tagged social media
There is so much nonsense on the web about social media!
There, I said it.
I feel a little bit better.
Seems like with every “hot new thing”, one half are totally
confused and the other half are experts.
And it’s funny how this deluge of experts only seems to make things worse.
So this quick overview is designed to put social media in perspective and conclude by answering the question: “How should I be using social media now?”
Part I: The Fax Machine
The fax machine era lasted roughly 20 years and it’s sometimes hard to remember how “cool” faxes used to be. But no major cultural transformations here.
Part II: The Internet
Twenty-five years ago, the internet was the cool new thing. The first shock was that anyone could broadcast his or her opinion far and wide. There was a lot of quirky stuff, a lot of individuality – kind of like YouTube without the video.
Initially, there was no huge pressure on individuals and companies to do anything particular besides try to understand this game-changer. From the outset, one thing was clear: the web was going to change the ways in which people came together to share interests and exchange information.
Part III: Static Websites
Pretty soon it became clear that you had to have a website. And man, were most of them terrible! Unfortunately, most still are. But even with the best websites, it soon became clear that no matter how pretty or informative they are, users needed a reason to come back. Unless it was a store that you returned to in order to buy something, “been there, done that” applied to even the slickest.
The missing ingredient was interaction.
Part IV: Social Media
Which brings us to our current dilemma. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, AdWords, LinkedIn, RSS, Groupon, etc. Blogs, vlogs, aggregators, forums, wikis, podcasts, video, social news, social navigation, social listening, etc. All the interaction you could ever want, right? Except for one thing: how to begin?
The most common reaction I see to the feeling of being left out of the social media party
is “I don’t have time for that.” The problem is, a thoughtful social media strategy can probably help your business a lot. In other words, chances are you can’t afford to throw up your hands.
You can start by answering two basic questions:
- Why do I need Social Media?
- How exactly should I be using it?
Back To Basics
While pounding his chest and advertising his most marketable virtue, the Cowardly Lion memorably posed this poignant question, “Whadda they got that I ain’t got?”
With that in mind, let’s briefly review why we need social media (with thanks to wikipedia for the neat list):
It simply does things old media can’t, does them a lot cheaper and you can have way more fun with it.
So, what does this all mean?
First, take the time to customize a plan for your industry, location, audience and the amount of energy you are willing to expend. Then…
- Identify your online audience
- Existing communities are best – your Facebook and Twitter followers, your contact list, your past and current clients, forums where people discuss your product or service, etc.
- Put processes in place where you are continually building new audiences using opt-in email lists and other techniques for “taking names”
- Engage your audience on a regular basis
a. Blog on a schedule and learn how to make your blogs keyword rich so they
will get noticed by search engines.
- Update your social media on a schedule with useful, concise information such as helpful tips, current trends and industry news. Be engaging and informative, a “friendly expert”.
- Offer specials, coupons, teasers, discounts, trials.
- Do as much as you can for free
- Remember: social media is cheap but somewhat labor intensive, so…
- Assign someone to update your accounts a certain amount of minutes per day.
- Even 5 minutes a day can be extremely valuable – “consistent” trumps wordy. You want to be “present”, not exhaustive.
- Include rich media whenever you can
- Mix it up: use links, photos and videos as often as possible. Either entertain viewers, give them something to interact with, or both.
- When you spend money on something like a professional video, toot your horn, make sure the audience knows something special just happened and make it really easy for them to find it and enjoy it.
- Create an attention loop for your viewers, fans, friends and even casual browsers
- embed your YouTube videos in your website
- link your website to all of your social media
- talk about your videos on Facebook
- mention your Facebook in your blog
- you get the idea…