Why Should You Care About Social Media?
Your wife is on Facebook posting pictures for the grandparents, the kids are on YouTube watching funny videos and your neighbor keeps sending you invitations to join Twitter – so what does this have to do with your business? All those sites are part of the new wave of social media that now dominates the internet. If all these people are using social media, don’t you think that is where your business should be?
Social media includes many types of sites arising from the “Web 2.0” phenomenon.
These sites have a high level of interactivity and rely heavily on user-generated content to continue to grow. The precursors of what we now think of as social media would be the early bulletin board systems and IRC chats. As technology advanced, platforms developed that allowed for the discussion forums and blogs that we see all over the place. These sites began the “Web 2.0” craze because they allowed communities to develop. The new social media sites take that to a whole new level.While blogs and forums are technically part of social media, social media the two main types of sites that most people think of as social media would be the social bookmarking and social networking sites. With these sites, not only can you discuss things with others, you can add other people’s content and share it with the world. On the bookmarking sites, you can categorize your bookmarked sites. You can add comments about them, share excerpts from them and even share them directly with social media sites. The social media sites also let you share content, including photos and videos, while creating connections to other users.
Connections on the social media sites are made in a variety of ways. To begin with, you have a profile where you can share many details and find others who share those same details. For example, on the social media site Facebook, when you put in what high school you graduated from, it will offer to locate others who graduated with you and easily reconnect with people you may not have seen in years. Each of the social media sites allows you to follow other people or them to follow you, although they all call these followers by different names. Anyone choosing to follow you is saying that they want to hear what you say and see what you share – getting any ideas for harnessing the power of social media for your business?
It is important to plan out your social media strategy with care. That starts with first knowing your market. Who is it that is the ideal customer? Once you determine that, then it’s a matter of finding out where the majority of those customers and prospects are spending their time. Each social media website has a unique demographic. Sure, they all attract a few people from across the spectrum but each one will be more attractive to a core group. Years ago, MySpace was the dominant player in social media. While they still have a good marketshare, the core userbase tends to be younger and heavily into music. If that’s your target audience, then you should be focusing on that site. If that’s not your core market, your time will be better off spent elsewhere.
Once you’ve determined which sites are the best ones to reach your target market, then you need to plan even more. Your content needs to be focused towards that same core audience in order to attract their attention. Those most likely to be in your customer’s network are also most likely to be in your target market. Most people tend to be friends with people of similar ages and interests. Of course, there is going to be a variety of people in your customer’s following but the majority are most likely to be a part of your market.
Your social media strategy must include a plan for expansion of your network. Once you’ve begun getting people into the network, it will grow exponentially but it’s very important to choose these first people according to your company’s image, values and market. Most sites will have many ways for you to find new people to add to your network, such as search by interest capabilities or groups that you could join.
As you can see, there is a lot of thought that goes into developing a social media strategy. The benefits reaped, however, are well worth the time and effort to to plan your social media strategy right.
With help from us, you can plan your social media strategy right!