Beyond The Buzz

We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.

– Ray Bradbury

Social Media 411: Quick Reference Guide to Social Media Sites

Published May 15th, 2012 in Archive, Our Blog | Comments Off on Social Media 411: Quick Reference Guide to Social Media Sites

When people hear that I own a marketing/PR company, one of the first things I’m almost always asked about is social media and most often, it’s followed with “I just don’t get the point.”   There are a lot of mis-perceptions about social media and the various sites that are out there. While almost every social media site out there has something of value to add to your marketing plan, it’s important to remember that each site has its own tone, etiquette and audience. Once you have an understanding of these differences, you’ll have a much better understanding of how you can use them for your business.

Blogging: Blogging really became popular several years ago when sites like Livejournal and Blogger gave every person the ability to have their own space on the internet without the need for HTML and high end web designers. It was a perfect chance for someone to create their own space, talk about whatever they want, and be masters of their own domain. It soon became apparent that this would also benefit businesses and people began to blog professionally. Now it’s standard practice for businesses to have blogs where they can talk about their products and reach out directly to their clients, customers and fans.  A blog can most easily be visualized as standing on the street corner in front of your business with a sandwich board. You’re targeting traffic that will already be coming past your ‘site’ and you’re sharing what you know with them. You’re working to entice them in to your site. The value is that you have the opportunity to showcase your talents, services, or products in a way that no one else can. Again, it’s your space on the internet – use it wisely.

Twitter: When Twitter first came out, it was called micro-blogging. Short, small bits of information disseminated to an audience who chooses to follow you. Of all the sites out there, I believe Twitter is one of the most misunderstood. I always picture Twitter as a room full of people at a meet & greet or ice breaker. On Twitter, you’re not simply sharing your opinions, you’re interacting with people. It’s a conversation. Think about it. When you’re face to face with someone over lunch or in a social setting, you say something and they reply and vice versa. Going back to the visualization of Twitter as an ice breaker or meet & greet, Twitter also allows you to connect and find the people who are talking about the same things that you are. You can search terms and look up hashtags (that’s the # you sometimes see before words on Twitter) and this gives you the opportunity to reach DIRECTLY TO YOUR AUDIENCE.

Linked In: Linked In is the corporate expo of the social media realm. Populated with businesses, this is the place where you can tell other businesses about what you do. It incorporates aspects of Twitter, blogging and Facebook and is easy to update and connect. If your audience is comprised of businesses (for example, I have a friend who owns and operates a consulting firm for businesses) then this is your prime real estate for social media marketing. It allows you to seek out and find other companies that you can connect for your services. It also has this great opportunity to showcase who you know, their contacts and see how ‘connected’ you are in the business world. With professional recommendations, resumes and other business worthy tools, this is a great place to showcase your talents and connect to other companies and organizations.

Pinterest: As the new kid on the block, not a lot of people understand the marketing value in Pinterest. I love the set up and I think it has incredible potential to showcase your company, products or services. I have several Pinterest accounts that I own or operate. Pinterest is a menu given to your customer at your restaurant. When you sit down at a restaurant, you know from just a quick glance at the menu everything that they offer. Pinterest is your visual representation of your experience.  With my Beyond the Buzz Pinterest I have been able to create a visual resume by creating boards for my book reviews, my clients, my partners and products that I’ve worked on. At a glance, you can see the variety of things that I have done or can do and hopefully it causes you to be intrigued and want to know more.  For some of my clients who sell products, it’s been amazing to help draw traffic back to their website. And for me, I can see immediately what’s been pinned,  re-pinned or commented on to have instant feedback on what the audience likes.

Facebook: This is obviously the most popular social media site currently in existence. Though to be fair, Pinterest is doing a really good job at quickly catching up. Facebook involves a little bit of all of the ideas above. It has the opportunity for connecting with other businesses through Pages (Linked In), sharing photos, products and interests (Pinterest), bite sized conversation with customers/clients (Twitter) and notes that can be used just like blogging. Thankfully Facebook also gives you the option to connect ALL of those other sites back into it – so you can cover a multitude of space from one area and update all of these places at once. My caution to you would be that even if you update all of those places, you still need to go to each of them individually and see who has responded so that you can keep genuine in your connections.

Any other sites you’d like to learn more about? Let me know!

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