Social Media & Social Networking

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So you've heard of the term social media or social networking and you're trying to figure out is this the next big thing or the next big fad?

We really believe that Social Media is here to stay, we've heavily invested a lot of time into using this new(ish) phenomenon to make contacts and gain new business and if done correctly you can too. Dell recently reported £3 million turnover from social networking alone!

Not convinced? No problem, if you have 5 minutes to watch a video that shows some of the realities of social media...

So what is social media?

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Essentially, social media incorporates the online technology and methods through which people can share content. Social Media is an umbrella term that defines the various activities that integrate technology, social interaction, and the construction of words and pictures.

Social media content can come in many shapes and forms:

  • Text - text is often used to put across opinions or write blog posts.
  • Images - images and photos can display anything from holiday photos to shots by professional photographers.
  • Audio - social media lets you create podcasts for users to download and listen to.
  • Video - video sites mean that you'll be able to record a video of your products and services to share with the world.

The most popular types of social media websites are huge at the moment. A few examples of these social media websites are:

YouTube is a video sharing website on which users can upload and share videos. Most of the content on YouTube has been uploaded by individuals and companies.

Facebook is a global social networking website. Users can add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves.

Flickr is an image hosting website allowing users to share their personal photos. As of June 2009, it claims to host more than 3.6 billion images.

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site founded in 2002 is mainly used for professional networking.

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read 140 character messages known as tweets.

This of course is not an extensive list of all sites, they spring up all over the place and in face social media covers a wide range of things such as:

  • online forums (e.g., DigitalPoint)
  • blogs (e.g., WordPress)
  • social networking sites (e.g., Facebook)
  • social bookmarking sites (e.g., Digg)
  • video sharing sites (e.g., YouTube)
  • photo sharing sites (e.g. Flickr)
  • streaming sites (e.g., Ustream)
  • user reviews (e.g., Amazon)
  • crowdsourcing (e.g., Wikipedia)

How can social networking market my business?

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Firstly and most importantly if you think by simply singing up and planting your profile on these sites will cut it and start a flood of new business enquiries then you are sadly wrong. This type of marketing requires time and it requires patience. Social networking isnt't abotu a one way message from you, that's old school advertising and it no longer works.

Relationship building

Social networking requires you to build solid relationships with others. It requires you to take an interest in others and engage with people. Once people have got to know you then they'll trust you and ultimately use you and recommend you. Recommendations are where it counts, 78% of people are likely to buy from a recommended company over and above an advertised company

There are specific rules, etiquette and tips for each type of social network and they are too indepth to go into on this article but will try to cover them in our blog and further pages here on our website

For now here is a general overview on how to succeed with social networking

  1. The train is leaving with or without you, so get on it and just start.
  2. It's about conversations so be prepared to listen first.
  3. Participate, it's a dialogue not a monologue.
  4. Give up control. The goal is not to control, it's to inspire and influence.
  5. Engage and create opportunities for people to get involved and own your brand.
  6. Give people something to talk about. Make them either love you or hate you, not somewhere in the middle.
  7. Don't lie to people. Give them honest open authentic dialogue. If they catch you out you're finished!
Here's a great illustration that gets the point across well, you can find more here Rules of social media

Look out for more in-depth articles on the specifics of social networking in the coming weeks, if you're interested in how social networking can help your business grow then get in touch with us now.