5 July 2011

6 Social Sites and what they can do for your business

Social Media: everybody is talking about it, a lot of people think they know how to use it, and most of them, unfortunately, are wrong. I could tell you all about what not to write on Twitter, and how you absolutely cannot put a certain profile picture on Facebook, but let’s face it. Just like old school Marketing can’t be generalised, there is no foolproof way of ‘doing’ Social Media, so what might work for somebody else, might be completely wrong for you. Take this, then, as an introduction to a few of the popular tools social media gives you. The ones your customers use and love are the ones you should be using as well.

Facebook

Whether you’re a Facebook skeptic or addict, if your business’s target group is aged anywhere from 18 – 50, it is not a bad place to start. On your businesses’ own Fanpage, you can write about promotions and what is going on in your company. You can ask questions, post pictures, and host competitions. As long as your content is original and interesting and not solely about self-promotion, people will ‘like’ you, share your stories with their friends and thereby recommend you to them.

Twitter

@hemeon on Twitter

Some people say whatever would be one post too much of on Facebook, should go on Twitter instead, and they are not completely wrong. Twitter users tolerate more posts in a day than Facebook users, probably because every message on Twitter is limited to 140 characters. But don’t overdo it. Blatant advertising will be ignored and loathed, whereas authenticity and interesting, engaging information will help you gain followers. Tell potential followers about who you are on Twitter in your biography, which will ideally leave no doubt about what to expect. But this microblogging platform is not only great to get the word out about your brand, you can also search for keywords in your specific field to see what other people are writing about and find out about the newest trends and advancements.

LinkedIn/XING

Pure on LinkedIn

While nearly everybody is aware that Facebook and Twitter are out there, the same cannot be said for LinkedIn and XING. These networks strive to connect people for the stake of building business relationships – they are professional networks. What’s interesting here is the Group feature, where you can start or join conversations with other business professionals you might learn something from, or who might even be thankful for your advice. Just like on Facebook, events can be created to get together in the offline world, and you can create a whole page for your business and even show off your products. Having a good reputation on these social networks can significantly help strengthen your B2B relationships as well as create strong offline networks.

Foursquare/Gowalla

Foursquare

Location based marketing (LBM) is a fancy new buzzword, but all it means is offering people a certain incentive to do business with you, simply because they are in a certain place. Foursquare and Gowalla are two services, which combine LBM with a social aspect. Users can check into places they are close to and thus tell their friends where there are. Pictures and comments can be added to every check-in and are visible for friends. And if you offer any promotions or tips for your business, it might encourage people to choose you, above others, and recommend you further. And in a competitive environment, who doesn’t want to be the chosen one?

To remember:

Know where your audience is! You already know who the people are you want to reach, but what do they expect from you? Giving them what they want and need, where they want it, is the key to successful social media activities.

Next time, we’ll chat more about one of these networks, which would you like to learn more about?

Using Facebook for Business – How to start