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The development of different types of social media in recent years has revolutionized the way people communicate. The ways in which people employ social media to hear and to be heard has not gone unnoticed in the corporate world. Which social media strategy a business uses may depend on the type of business and the method of social media that best fits its needs.
For self-employed businesspeople or new business start-ups, just making the public aware of their existence is one challenge that can be met by the right social media strategy. Social media such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace all give members the capability of connecting to other members by adding them as friends or members whom they follow. With sites such as Twitter and MySpace in particular, it’s quite common for members to connect with others they’ve never met. When used as a business tool, this one small step of adding other members to your social media network can go a long way in making potential partners and clients aware of your presence.
Once you’ve amassed a network of other social media users, the next social media strategy is to use the tools of social media to get your message out there, whether for branding or promotions. Twitter, for example, allows members the capability of instantly sending a short, 140-character message called a “tweet” to their entire network of followers. Facebook has a similar instant notification capability with its status update function. The way in which a business delivers its message is also an important part of its social media strategy. For example, a business that deals with the health care or legal industries would likely need to maintain a more formal voice than a business in the entertainment industry, which might have more room for fun and informal tones in its branding.
In addition to posting brief updates, another social media strategy, featured on Facebook and similar sites, entails creating a group or event for your business and inviting your contacts to join. When one of your contacts joins or confirms his or her attendance, the name of the group or event may then show up on the news feed of their contacts as well, allowing you to promote your business to an even wider network. If your group or event features minimal privacy restrictions, then any users who stumble upon the group or event can join or RSVP. Administrators or creators of groups and events also have the ability to send updates to members which are delivered directly to their inbox, acting as a form of direct mail.
@Logicfest -- one of the things I see happening is people spending a lot of time on social media, but maybe not doing it the right way. If all you want to do is get your information out and not keep up with other people, you will get nowhere fast.
It is important to take time to respond to what other people are posting. If that means slowing your output, so be it. A solid strategy involves responding to what other people are putting out there as much as -- or sometimes more than -- posting your own information.
The well known secret about social media is that getting attention through that method isn't hard, but it does take a lot of work. Anyone can take out accounts on the major social media outlets, but it takes a certain kind of dedication to update regularly and be an active participant in those outlets.
The reason it is so hard to stick with it is that there are very little returns on a lot of effort in the beginning. It's much easier to deal with the "concrete" matters of running a business until a solid, social media presence is established because business owners tend to prioritize. They tend to do the stuff that pays the bills first and then
fool around with all that Internet, social media junk if time allows.
That approach is a mistake. It takes a lot of time and discipline for a business to reach any kind of success through social media. Stick with it or don't bother developing a social media strategy at all.
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