Why we need to dive into social media pool to stay afloat
Love it or hate it: wireless and digital communications are part of our lives for good. To stay relevant and reach your target market, it behooves small and medium sized businesses(SMBs) to play the game, whether we want to or not. We may not treasure 140-character ‘messagelets’ or Facebook’s anonymity but when working on a shoestring budget, free social media sites need to be our best friends.
I spoke to Brian Gregoire, Internet consultant with WSI Digital Marketing for an expert opinion.(www.wsiwebmarketingmatters.com)
MR: Brian, when I hear “Social Media” I think of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Is that it?
BG: There are hundreds of social media sites! It’s any application where people interact. They are roughly split into categories, e.g. news, blogs, chat sites, and video. Each category has alternatives, for example instead of Facebook you can use Google or Yahoo to chat.
MR: Are certain types of SM better suited to certain businesses?
BG: You need to determine where your customers or prospects are. Someone looking for professional services will be on LinkedIn, or for videos and related services they`ll look on YouTube or Vimeo. Demographics are also important; under 25-year olds are mostly on Facebook, over 35s and 40s more likely on MySpace, Yahoo, or LinkedIn.
MR: Why is this so important for SMBs?
BG: Sites will change and evolve, Facebook will at some point be taken over by something else, but SM is not going anywhere.
MR: Do you have any tips for SM neophytes?
BG: Find a way to make it fun. Search a topic of interest and follow it to learn how to use a site. Almost all have online tutorials or FAQs, and YouTube features billions of “How to” videos. You’ll realise how many people you can connect with and that’s how they find you as well. You’ve got to get involved to benefit from its value.
MR: How can hiring an Internet consultant like you help a business?
BG: I can teach how to get maximum business exposure and how best to draw people to your site. Online tutorials are useful to a point, but are a static one-way communication. An internet or digital media consultant tailor the training to your needs.
MR: Lastly, I read recently “don’t forget the ‘social’ in social media”. Any closing thoughts?
BG: Think of SM like a cocktail party: You want to engage others. You put out information that others are interested in hearing. The “social” in social media is the interactive part—when you follow-up with someone and they reply, repost or re-tweet your comment and so on—that’s communication. But just like at a cocktail party, if you don’t talk or interact, people are going to walk away and won’t come back! And in SM, referrals are hugely important.
I hope Brian`s words of encouragement will nudge any remaining social media absentees into taking action. Just recently, I met up with an old school friend I grew up with in Germany, over 30 years ago, after she found and reconnected with me via Facebook. If she can find me, your prospects can find your business too, so go get ‘em!
SOURCES& FURTHER READING:
Definition of “Social media” on Merriam-Webster online:
Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE coworking space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new startups. Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter