Unless you’ve been on a desert island recently I am sure that there are not many of you that have not heard of the term ‘Social Media’. Well, what is social media? According to Wikipedia “Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media uses Internet and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one too many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.”
What I have noticed over the past months is that many more businesses are using social media as a marketing tool and is emerging as the current ‘buzz’ word in business, but how many of you are actually engaging and using these tools in your business and what is the difference with them all?
Well, I will briefly go over some of the most popular, with my personal opinion of them, but obviously cannot cover all the forms of social media in the market place.
Twitter the ‘micro-blogging’ site where thoughts are put in 140 characters or less. This can be very useful, but some ‘Tweeters’ tend to automate their messages and have a sales/marketing message in each one. I personally prefer to follow people who engage on Twitter and show personality. I don’t normally mind sales/marketing tweets from these as I feel as though I have got to know the person, and the sales/marketing messages are quite often more subtle.
Facebook can be used in 2 ways, as a personal social networking tool and as a business social networking tool. I personally have 2 separate pages, 1 that I use personally in my name that I use to keep up-to-date with friends and other business page that I use to promote articles, products and services. I think if you try and keep your business and personal life apart you come across as more professional when it comes to your work, but then can show a ‘fun’ side in your personal pages.
LinkedIn is primarily, in my opinion, a site for professionals to connect and discuss/pose opinions on business issues. It is a great way to get involved in discussions and to answer questions on a particular subject and to become known as an expert in your field of work. LinkedIn also gives the opportunity to join groups of interest and keep up to date with colleagues and contacts. I don’t currently use LinkedIn to its full potential but plan on doing so over the next few months.
There are obviously many more platforms for using social media within the workplace and it is up to individual businesses to decide what would work best for them. I use a mix of platforms and find that each has its own benefits/downfalls. What I would recommend is to go on a course to discover more about social media and what it can do for you or your business and then get involved, you never know who you might meet!