I’m a younger professional, just a few years out of college, who thought she knew everything there is to know about social media… I was so wrong. Is social media easy and fun to use on a personal level? Absolutely. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, LinkedIn, Digg, and others seem to lend themselves to the young-and-hip crowd, but regardless of your age or occupation, you can empower yourself – and those around you – through social media. Here is how I have used different social media in the family service business:
Facebook: Set up a fan page for your company. If you’re a service business like we are, you don’t have a product aside from your time and human resources. Make yourself stand out by being technologically savvy. Be sure to kick-start your company’s marketing effort by offering networking opportunities for existing and potential clients and post those events to your Facebook fan page. Encourage your co-workers or employees to invite their friends to your company’s page.
Twitter: A lot of articles are circulating about the best practice when it comes to tweeting for a company. As someone who was part of the college crowd that first started using Twitter several years ago, I have a pretty simple and effective take: use Twitter in a meaningful way. Don’t tweet about your company all of the time; instead, offer insightful tidbits to your followers. Because being connected on Twitter is a mutual activity, keep your audience satisfied and interested in what you have to say (this is not a one-way marketing street). If your company publishes a newsletter, whitepapers or updates their website with relevant, timely information, be sure and include those updates.
MySpace: MySpace is probably the least effective company marketing tool, but still seems to be effective for individuals and especially those people who are interested in breaking in to the entertainment industry. Singer/songwriters, actors and the like will benefit from having a profile on MySpace.
YouTube: Youtube may be the surprise here because it CAN be used effectively for company marketing. Most digital cameras have a video feature and unlike even ten years ago, video can be taken almost anywhere at any time without needing to worry about carrying around a heavy camcorder. Say you work in a law firm: take video of the partners in their offices or in court (if permitted) doing what they do best, splice the video together, and make a statement. Do you work for a firm that volunteers? Broadcast that footage.
Digg/StumbleUpon: Aside from plugging company websites, find content that other users might find interesting. Be sure to tag finds correctly to maximize viewership and to gain credibility.
LinkedIn: The definitive social medium for the business person, LinkedIn has grown up a bit in the last several years. While still a bit clunky and somewhat “un-hip”, recent college grads are signing up and increasing LinkedIn’s “street cred”, so a profile here is very important. Have every professional in your company sign up and keep their profiles up-to-date. Be sure to use the status update to keep your network updated about your activities. Dig in to LinkedIn and connect with people outside of your normal business circles to maximize benefit.
Though many other social networking opportunities exist, for now, these are the most important and will give you the most benefit for the time spent. Best of all, each and every one of these sites is free for you to use (for now). Spend several hours a week keeping your profile/page updated and most importantly, be sure to track your hits to sales conversions.
Business and social media are two entirely different mediums, but there have been consistent efforts to bridge the gap between them due to both being huge platforms that are utilized by people to earn fame and fortune. All one has to do is to buy instant instagram likes so that it can grow into a large subscriber base in due course.