A Helpful Guide to Using Social Media for Your Business
What Is Social Media?
What does ‘social media’ mean to you? Billions of people have accounts on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. You may think all social media networks are the same, but each of them offers a unique feature that attracts millions of people to each of them. So how would you define social media?
Social media can be defined as an interactive platform, a virtual community where people can create and share information. The content on social media sites is built by users, which is one of the reasons why these platforms are so popular. Social media can itself be divided into various categories. Here is a brief list.
Social networking: Users interact by joining groups, adding friends, commenting on their profiles and taking part in discussions. Example: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn and Orkut.
Social video and photo sharing: Users interact by sharing videos, photos and writing comments on submissions by other users. Example: YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Flikr.
Social bookmarking: Users tag websites and visit websites that other people have bookmarked. Example: Pinterest, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Del.icio.us.
Social News Websites: Users interact by voting on articles and writing comments. Example: Reddit, Digg and Fark.
Wikis: Most people are still divided about whether Wiki sites are true social media sites. Here, users interact by writing articles and editing articles that already exist. Example: Wikipedia.
In regular media like newspapers and television, the end consumers’ ability to give feedback and comments is severely restricted. Social media places nearly no restrictions on its users.
Quick Social Media Guide:
Here is a brief social media guide to help you understand the most popular social media networks better.
Facebook: Started by Mark Zuckerberg and a few of his Harvard university friends, Facebook was initially open to Harvard university students only. It is the most popular social network with more than a billion users. Facebook users can “Like” and share each other’s status updates. facebook.com
Google+: Google Plus is an identity and social networking service. It has more than 500 million users and has recently surpassed Twitter. When a Google+ user likes a post on Google+, they hit +1 button which is Google+’s version of Facebook’s “Like” button. plus.google.com
Twitter: A microblogging site, Twitter has more than 500 million users. Posts on Twitter are called ‘Tweets’ and have to be under 140 characters. Twitters way of sharing other’s content is called “Retweeting”. twitter.com
Pinterest: Pinterest is a photo sharing site, based on a pinboard theme. The website was started by Ben Silberman, a former Google employee. The ‘boards’ can include interests, hobbies, events, and more. Pinterest has more than 20 million active users. pinterest.com
Instagram: Started by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, Instagram is a video sharing, social networking, and photo sharing site. It claims more than 100 million users. instagram.com
How to Use Social Media for Business:
While there is no doubt that most social users are consumers, companies also use social media to market themselves, their products, services, as well as to engage in public relations. Here are a few Facebook and Twitter tips for business owners.
Reaching Out to Customers and Fans Through Facebook
Make a Facebook profile page for your business and link it to your website. You can also add a Facebook button or Facebook text link to your promotional and business emails. Encourage your customers to “Like” your Facebook page. Once they “Like” your Facebook page, you have to keep them engaged. You can do this with small contests, surveys, by posting photos, and interacting with your customers through comments and more.
Using Twitter as Marketing Tool
Avoid bombarding your Twitter followers with sales and marketing messages. Your Twitter posts should be informative, funny and genuinely helpful. You can certainly slip in a promotional message once in a while, but not too often.
Note that customers will sometimes use social media sites to complain about your products or services. Rather than thinking of it as a headache, consider it an excellent opportunity to connect with your customers. Assure your unhappy customers that you will do your best to sort the problem out. If the problem cannot be solved, offer them an alternative or explain the issue to them in an emphatic way.
We hope that you found this article helpful. And remember, your business website should be the destination and social media sites should be seen as a way for others to get to your website.
Does your business need a website or any other of our Internet Marketing services? Does your current site need a new fresh, responsive design? Contact JL Designs Web Services today at 951.251.4036 or use our online form to see what we can do to help your business succeed on the Internet.
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