Ah, social media. More ways to network, more things to manage. Here is an absolute bare bones run-down of the major social media players, and how to use them to start building your brand and your business.
If you need help making sense of social media for your business, check out my Social Media package.
No contest here, Facebook is the go-to site for social networking around the globe.
- Create a FB page and custom landing tab for your business.
- Make sure your website address is published on the “Info” tab.
- Invite participation on your page by asking questions, sharing photos, videos, updates, and offering discounts and specials.
- If you write a blog, set up the page to automatically import your blog entries to your “Wall” (I use RSS Graffiti).
Then, back on your website, publish a FaceBook “Like Box“ on your homepage. The Like Box is a social plugin that you can configure to display your latest updates, fans, number of fans, and a button that allows your readers to “Like” your page with one click.
If you write a blog, think about placing a link to your FB fan page at the bottom of your posts, where readers are more likely to engage with you after reading your content. Or, insert a button that allows your readers to share your post on their FB wall with one click.
This is a professional networking site, with some similarities to Facebook minus the socializing. Create your own page, including a resume, bio, and photo if you wish. Use LinkedIn to search for others you may know and build connections.
Twitter is a service for members to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages. People write short updates, often called “Tweets” of 140 characters or fewer. These messages are posted to your profile or blog and are searchable on Twitter search. You can also “follow” other Twitterers.
When you first start reading Twitter, you might wonder if you’ve accidentally stumbled into classified ads, with all the special characters and abbreviations.
The most common is the hash tag, or “#” symbol. Hash tags make it easier for you to find and share information related to a specific topic. For example searching Twitter for “#iPhone” (or “#iphone” – it’s not case sensitive) will return all tweets containing that hash tag.
Likewise, including “#skydiving” in your tweet will tag it so that it appears in other people’s searches for “#skydiving”. Take a subject that interests you, and first search Twitter to see if the tag exists. If “#tech4moms” doesn’t exist, create it yourself by simply using it in a tweet. (Try to keep it short, so it doesn’t use up too many of your 140 characters.)
“Starting a new hash tag for Tech for Mammas. Got a question for me or a great tech tip to share? Add this to your tweet. #tech4moms”
Other symbols you’ll find are:
- “RT” for re-tweet – when your tweet is a link to someone else’s tweet.
- The “@” symbol preceding a name, which is a call-out to a specific person, as in “@Jenny, thx for the RT”.
Social Media Dashboard
How to keep up with all your social media profiles? Use one of these services to publish messages to multiple networks at the same time.
- HootSuitewill broadcast your message to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, and Ping.fm in one step.
- TweetDeckis a desktop application that you install on your PC or Mac and will post to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Google Buzz.
- Ping.fm will broadcast your message to just about everyone – here is their list of supported social networks.
The Bottom Line
Are you dizzy yet? With so many avenues, you may not know where to start. At a minimum you’ll want to have a profile on Facebook and LinkedIn. Provide links to both profiles on your website, and consider adding them to your email signature as well. All of the above networking and dashboard sites are totally FREE, so start taking advantage of one or more today!