Social Media: Why and how your business should be in the game

Madison Avenue takes note of the power of Social Media

It took the medium of television 13 years to gain 50 million viewers, in half that time Facebook gained over 400 million users. The phenomenon that is Facebook (and social media for that matter) cannot be denied. It is people power at its most and least effective. A tool used to bring socio-political injustices to life, as well as, a siren’s call to time wasters. Facebook has dazzled us all with its networking charms.

In the trinity of social media big boys, Facebook is number one – chances are you’re already one of its 400 million members. The other two, Twitter and LinkedIn are gaining more ground every day. Twitter has over 75 million users with more causing Twitter overload every day and LinkedIn just topped 70 million. But why, as a writer or small business owner, should you care?

Because, as it turns out, people power sells way better than smarmy, aggressive marketing techniques ever could. For years people have touted “word of mouth” marketing as the absolute best way to get qualified leads and new business. Social media has just taken it to the next level.

In an age when most folks not only see the marketing strings being pulled but they object to it, sites like Facebook and Twitter are seen as a breath of fresh air. Bottom line is this: Who do you trust more? The boys on Madison Avenue or your best friend since 6th grade? That’s the power of social media.

So now you know why? But How? How do you create, engage and excite people to “like” your brand on Facebook or tweet about you on Twitter? Well, it all comes down to what your momma told you back in the day – be yourself. Social media is about connecting. It’s about people getting a sense of who you are and what your business or products offer. Most of all it’s about being real – and this is crucial folks, social media users are savvy and they can smell BS like dogs smell fear. So don’t do it.

• Be Real: Don’t worry about contriving an image, be who you are. Who you are is someone whose interests, values and style created your business or product – like-minded individuals will be attracted.
• Don’t think social media is a one-off – “I created my page, now I’m done.” This attitude will get you nowhere fast. Relationship building is not about an introduction and departure – it’s about getting to know one another.
• The number one rule of writing applies to social media too – “Show, Don’t Tell,” when using social media to brand yourself. Don’t bark a constant stream of marketing drivel at your fans, instead give them something fun to check out or come visit you for. Offer value, special deals for fans, quizzes and games, sneak peeks at upcoming deals or new offerings.
• Have fun! Explore and enjoy yourself. This is a great new age in marketing. You can find out about new things as well, stuff that you could use as adjunct to your business or writing or just something cool for your personal life. If you find something great, tell your fans about it. It’s all about sharing.
• Be consistent. Get something out there to the people on the regular. If not, folks will forget about you and your page pretty quickly (and so will the search rankings.) You’d be surprised what a little bit of effort can yield.

These basic tips should get you started but there is room to go a little deeper with social media.

Look for the follow-up installment, on the 3 C’s of Social Media.

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