Sunday, July 12th, 2020

An Introduction To Social Media for Business

By Mhairi Petrovic on Dec 14 2009 • Filed under Outsmarting Social Media

Social media is garnering a lot of attention right now as the latest and greatest tool for business. You can’t open a newspaper or turn on the radio without hearing about Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. But what is social media and how can you use it for business? Today I will address that.

Social media tools allow you to connect and interact with others online. I like to call them Internet networking hubs – online sites where people with similar interests go to get to know new people, keep in touch with others and share all kinds of information.

They include: social networks like Facebook and MySpace; professional networks like LinkedIn and Xing; microblog sites like Twitter and Tumblr; video sites like YouTube and Vimeo; photo sites like Flicker and the list goes on. Even Wikipedia is considered under the social media category because of its user-based content.

Consider this: there are over 350 million registered Facebook users; 200 million plus people on MySpace; hundreds of millions of videos are watched on YouTube everyday, not to mention the millions of bloggers. These sheer volumes are the reason why businesses are taking note. Social media sites give businesses the perfect forum to reach new communities and markets and to build loyalty with existing audiences in new ways.

Many of these tools were seen, until recently, as the domain of the young but older users are quickly catching up. The fastest growing demographic for Facebook, for example, is the over 35 crowd.

In addition to reaching new audiences and markets, you can use social media to enhance many different aspects of your business including industry/market research, improving customer service, opening and enhancing communications channels, identifying sales opportunities, building leads, promoting your business, establishing your brand and area of expertise as well as building your connections.

"there are over 350 million registered Facebook users"

Which tools you use will depend on what you are trying to achieve, your resources, your audience as well as your corporate brand and I will look at this in more detail in the next post.

Social media tools are, in the most part, free to use but be careful – they can also be very distracting and you can end up spinning your wheels and wasting a lot of time if you don’t know what you are doing. It is always best to consider building a social media strategy before you embark, one that compliments and integrates to your overall marketing approach.

Social media may well be the ideal forum to market your product or service. In my next post I will talk about what you should consider before jumping on the bandwagon.

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