What is it that people are talking about when they mention “social media”? You’re probably guessing Twitter, FaceBook, something involving frequent short messages, or something like that. It’s time to get a real handle on what social media is all about. I’m going to give you the basics.
First, let’s try the Wikipedia definition.
Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. The term refers to the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue.
Technically, there you have it. But what does it mean???
We now know it’s a means of communication using the Internet. But the part about interactive dialogue is not your typical website stuff. This is right-now – OK, a few minutes ago – communication with people you know and people you meet through this media.
How about some examples?
Everyone agrees that there are many sources of this interactive dialogue these days. Here’s my best list of types and examples.
- Blogging – WordPress, Blogger
- Social Network – FaceBook, LinkedIn, Google+
- Microblogging – Twitter, Tumblr
- Social Bookmarking – Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit
- Video Sharing – YouTube, Vimeo
- Other Categories – Slideshare, Flickr
Now we have a general idea of what social media is. (In my opinion none of us really understands any of it until we actually use it.) Each has its use, its kind of user, its simple or complex interface, its etiquette – and of course, its benefits.
The next step in learning about this media is to discover what it can do for your business. Why do you want or need to get into this “stuff”?
At the top of the list of benefits is reaching your target market . You know, those potential customers, users, clients? If you don’t know them by name, you search for them by area, interests, age, or whatever it takes to zero in on the people you want to talk with.
But, and this is an important but, you don’t sell, you solve their problems . You do this in your website blog, your FaceBook page, your Twitter messages, your YouTube videos – you get the picture. If they like what you have to say, the interaction has begun. Yes!
Next benefit of this new media is social influence . When your new “followers” talk to their friends about you and your company, what will they say? ”Great company, nice guy, outstanding widgets,” or “this guy is a pain and I don’t like his widgets, either.” The influence of your potential customers can go either way. There is a negative effect from not being part of the conversation because those same people are now guessing about you and your widgets. Without this social media, you have little means to help them or even listen to them.
Social media is where your customers are , so it is where you should be, giving insider tips and solving problems, and making a name for yourself to more than those who see you every day.
There’s a good chance your potential customers read blogs everyday. Do a blog! It takes some effort on a regular basis. Don’t believe anyone who tells you it doesn’t. But the value is great.
Is it clear as mud? Or, did you get it, but you have more questions?
Tell me your biggest problem with trying to use social media in the comments box below.