Social media sites are nothing but a way to communicate what we all have to say, to share, it can be a short message, a blog post, a picture, a new product, a rant, etc.
It is all about sharing information with people we know and people who we wouldn’t be able to reach otherwise, I love it! It is also a great way to keep up to date with the topics that are of interest to you. For example, as a software developer I follow (using Twitter) other software developers I trust and admire to see what they are up to, etc… I also follow the Twitter accounts of certain companies because I am interested in their products and services, and interestingly enough I have found it a lot easier to communicate with these companies via Twitter when I have a question, a praise or a complain.
Today, social media sites are very popular and are no longer used only by early adopters. Social media sites can be used and are helpful for different things; some of us share photos and personal thoughts on Facebook, while some others prefer the simplicity and brevity of Twitter and others will post their work history and references in LinkedIn.
Businesses, entrepreneurs, bloggers and even Charlie Sheen use social media sites to increase awareness of their brand, services and products. It works! I do it all the time. For example, every time I publish a new blog post I tweet about it and share a link to it on Facebook and LinkedIn. Sometimes, depending in the topic, I will also submit it to Hacker News. Because of this, some of my blog’s busiest days have been because of links I shared in these social media sites. Am I a social media expert? no! I don’t need to be, you don’t need to be one either. All you need is an account in these social media sites and a bit of help from someone who is already familiar with these tools.
WHAT ABOUT PRIVACY AND USEFULNESS
If you are concerned about privacy, just be careful and do not post anything you don’t want people to see or know about. Consider everything you post in these social media sites public information… If you post anything on the Internet just assume everyone out there (yes everyone!) will be able to see it ;)
If you are worry about wasting time on social media sites, then the problem is you, not these sites. You have control as to how much time you spend on them and what you share on these sites, you are in control. It is true that if you are not careful it is easy to waste time reading all those tweets and updates in Facebook. However, the same is true for TV, email, phone, etc… you are in control, own your time and do what you need to do to get things done and avoid fooling around too much. If you are just out of control and need some help managing your time when using social media sites then you should read this article which focus on time management for social media sites.
PERSONAL VS. CORPORATE USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
We are our own brand managers now, as Brian Solis says, you don’t need a degree on Communications or Marketing to understand and apply common sense to your blog posts and tweets, be confident, be direct, be bold, but also be smart and do not do or post something you’ll regret later. As our own brand managers now, we are responsible for our reputation and that of the people and companies who we might represent or work with. When using social media just like everything in life… apply common sense.
Social media sites are also a great way to keep in touch with family and friends; for example, sharing photos with family in the other side of the world is now really easy by using one of the many photo sharing sites or Facebook. Also, it is very useful when trying to get everyone in a group on the same page regarding some trip, party or any other type of get-together. Regarding parties, there are a few specific social media mobile applications that will help you organize a party using social media and localization services, one company providing such a service is Hurricane Party and I am mentioning it because they are from my town Austin, TX and their mobile application really rocks!
SOCIAL MEDIA SITES ARE USEFUL AND SIMPLE TO USE
Playing the social media game is simple, do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Many so-called media social experts will try to tell you how complicated it is and will also tell you how much you need a social media expert if you want to have some sort of success in these social media sites. Yes, you might need the help of a savvy social media person, especially if you are launching some sort of online marketing campaign. However, posting fresh, unique and interesting content about your industry, product or company is all it takes. Think of it not as a company but as a user/consumer of these social media sites, you probably keep going back to these sites because of the fresh and ever-changing content.
People are really good at detecting pre-formulated boring marketing messages. If you come up with unique and fresh content and share it using the most common social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc… your voice will be heard and you’ll start seeing the results after a while, just be patient.
social media TIPS AND NINJA TECHNIQUES
When building a brand or just trying to increase your Twitter follower count, patience is key. Also, some ninja techniques might be required to successfully share your message with your target audience. For example, if you want to use Twitter to let people know about a new blog post or service, it is a good idea to find someone relevant with your topic, product or service, and that also has a considerable large amount of followers and just ask them to tweet or retweet (RT) your message as a favor. Asking is simple and it costs nothing. Be a hustler but not an annoying person.
Also, hijacking open conversations or targeted tweets works pretty good. Basically, it means that you should be “listening” for specific topics and for anyone mentioning your name or company name and be ready to respond. Be patient, if you are trying to get people to your site or sell something… approach them in a way that you are able to help them with a question but not as a used car sales person, don’t try to sell something to someone just by randomly replying to their posts or tweets.
The above are just some of the things I’ve done in the past that have worked for me, I am not a social media expert and it is very probable that what has worked for me might not work for you… I hope the above posts helps you change your perception regarding social media sites. It is true that no one wants to read updates such as “I am eating a cookie”; at the same time the ability to read people’s thoughts, comments, questions, etc… and in real-time, it is very powerful and valuable, especially if you are trying to use social media sites as a platform to create a brand around your product, or person.
Please share your tips, questions or any other feedback in the comment’s section below, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on this or anything else related to social media sites that comes to mind. Cheers.