Getting Acquainted with Social Media

Whilst most people have heard of Social Media, many probably see it as a waste of time OR thoroughly confusing.

When I started dabbling with it, I wasn’t sure whether I was a tweeter or a twit, I certainly had problems working out how my Face could be a Book and the idea of YouTube, MySpace, Linkedin, Ping, Ning, and the myriad of other ways in which to communicate to people I don’t know seemed all too hard and well worth avoiding.

Since then and after some tuition, I have found out WHY Social Media is becoming so important to our businesses and to the future of our communications.

So let’s see if I can help you get an understanding of WHY these tools are important and then WHERE to get started with using them.

The following statistics might give you some idea of how big this is all becoming…

  • To reach an audience of 50 million people, radio took 38 years, TV took 13 years, the Internet took 4 years, iPod took 3 years and FaceBook took just 2 years
  • There are more texts sent daily than there are people on this planet
  • There are over 31 billion searches on Google every month
  • Despite Google being the default Internet page for many users, FaceBook now has MORE hits per day than Google
  • If FaceBook were a country it would be the World’s 4th largest with over 35 million people
  • There are over 200 million Blogs with 34% of posts on these Blogs being opinions about Products and services (possibly some of these are about YOU) – any wonder standard advertising is in decline – Magazines down by an estimated 14.8%, Newspapers by 18.7% and radio by 11.7%
  • 80% of Tweets (the short messages on Twitter) are performed on mobile phones and it’s anticipated that over 90% of ALL web traffic will be made on mobile devices within the next 10 years
  • Our market and marketing is changing – Gen Y population numbers are about the same as Baby Boomers AND 96% of these people already use Social Media as their PRIMARY communication tool – yes that’s right, emails are now considered ‘old hat’.

Still not convinced or think this stuff is just for the young (our future clients) – then you might also like to know that the fastest growing segment of NEW FaceBook users are 55-65 year olds, people who have realised you can’t beat them and so you have to join them if you want to stay in touch.

Now let’s introduce you to four of the key Social Media players…

Twitter – is a short message service that allows people to ‘follow’ or ‘be followed’ by others with similar interests from all around the World. Messages are called tweets and provide the opportunity to let people know what you’re up to, what’s happening and/or what you’re interested in.

FaceBook – is a more detailed and general site where you can upload photo’s, share information (business or personal) and create pages (mini websites) for others to become ‘fans’ of and follow your  information and promotion of products, services and/or ideas.

Linkedin – is a more professional sharing site where business people make themselves known, connect to other professionals for information sharing and/or to find/provide work. It’s estimated around 80% of jobs offered by Linkedin members are now filled through Linkedin connections rather than through traditional search methods.

YouTube – is a site for storing and sharing short videos on any topic, product or service. This is gaining more and more momentum because it allows businesses to create and publicise sales messages, short talks and other ‘visual’ ways of providing information and thereby hit more of the cognitive senses.

Yes there are lots of others – to many to list and describe – so you can check them out with this link to Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_social_networking_websites Each one has some kind of slant towards a particular interest group or method of communication (pictures, videos, messages etc.).

So why would you start using these tools?

Well as stated earlier, our upcoming market is using these tools as their primary form of communication. If we have a desire to communicate with this audience, it’s important to speak with them in the languages and through the formats THEY use – after all, they’re extremely information aware, they’re generally in a hurry and use technology for fast responses PLUS many are now only responding to each other primarily through these sources which is why they are unlikely to connect with you via the traditional communication methods you use or have used.

In my (albeit short) experience of using these tools I’ve found they do provide a great benefit to businesses. The key I’ve found is to use them to generate interest in you and your business by providing snippets of information that’s linked back to your primary website or Blog for further detail. This generates traffic to your site AND provides valuable links which support your search engine optimisation and organic growth up the Google rankings – in other words helps you get found more easily on Google.

Lastly, we strongly suggest Social Media is only used as part of an INTEGRATED marketing plan for spreading your messages across many forums. The key we’ve found to getting the best results from Social Media is by providing quality interesting information on a regular basis to clearly targeted interest groups. It’s amazing how quickly ‘News’ about you spreads and interest/enquiries come when you are saying something worthwhile to an interested audience.

Article written by Anthony M Turner – Small Business Coach/Mentor, Speaker, Author and the founder of Transform Your Business.

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This Article was sourced from Transform Your Businessa specialist coaching, mentoring, consulting and skills training services for small and micro businesses

Whilst most people have heard of Social Media but, many probably see it as a waste of time OR thoroughly confusing.
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