I don’t believe in showing up early for a party (after all, it’s important to make an entrance). In a business context, this probably isn’t the best thing in the world, and in an internet context, it’s even less so. For instance, I just recently started making use of Twitter. I honestly didn’t get what the big idea was. Then I started using it.
It’s amazing. News stories break on Twitter before the newspapers even have an idea what’s going on. You can see real-time photos of Stephen Fry stuck in an elevator. If you complain about a product, its manufacturers will help you out. But most fascinating are the conversations: it’s like what I imagine The Crysalids was like. Someone makes a comment about the colour of the sky, and people respond; threads of conversation begin spidering off in different tangents. Anyone can jump in at any point and drop out just as easily, and nobody dominates because every response is limited to 140 characters. It’s the digital representation of the collective unconsciousness. And it’s searchable!
Social media, I’m sure you’ve heard, is changing our world. If you’re late to the party, like me, it’s time to get involved! Rather than give you a bunch of information that may or may not be true, I’m going to point the way to some resources from more credible experts than I.
Please note that I’m only addressing here the aspects of social networking that I use myself or find most useful… there are a great many other tools that people are using, and there are a great many tools that will rise to the forefront as the internet changes & progresses.
- a long, but excellent overview of the merits & business implications of social media
- another great overview in pdf/eBook format
Write a blog
Everyone and their goldfish has one. Why don’t you? Blogging will generate more hits to your website, will provide your users with valuable content, and will allow you to interact with your visitors.
I can help you set up a blog and develop a custom template for it (you don’t want to look like everyone else now, do you?), along with a whole range of customization options! I like WordPress myself, but I’ve also used Moveable Type, Livejournal, Blogger, and other platforms.
Twitter: not just for twits
Twitter is the most-used “microblogging” platform; ie, blogging for the lazy. It takes 20 seconds to post a microblog post, and that’s only if you’re really thinking about it.
Facebook: the workplace productivity vampire
In a business context, you probably want to avoid posting photos of yourself doing jello shots, but otherwise I’d advocate being as open as possible. Any time I receive an email from a prospective client, I look them up on Facebook to get a feel of who they are.
LinkedIn: Facebook without the poking
LinkedIn is sort of like the professional version of Facebook.
Find out what people are saying about you. If they’re not saying anything, find people who are talking about the things you can help them with, or the companies with whom you compete.
- Keep trying! You will see an ROI, but it may not be immediately measurable. Social media is about forming relationships, first and foremost.
- Help out other people as much as you can to be seen as an expert and a valuable asset to the community.
- Be authentic and open.
- Upload your photograph to your profile if you do nothing else… people will trust you about 100x more if they see a face. We react personally to a face in a way that we don’t react to words. (Same goes for your website.)
- Interact with others–if you’re communicating in a void, you aren’t communicating.
- Respond to negative feedback instead of suppressing it.
- Find your audience & join them.
If you’ve any resources to suggest, or comments, please feel free to leave them!