In an effort to simplify tweets, Twitter recently announced changes which will include what actually counts toward the 140 character limit. Following is an overview of the updates.
Wikipedia defines Social Media as “media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.” Merriam-Webster’s definition is “forms of electronic communications (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).
Regardless of how it may be defined, Social Media is a medium that, in my opinion, ought to be embraced and used to its fullest potential from a business perspective.
If you are one of those people who think Social Media is just a fad, with all due respect, you might want to rethink that. Not only is Social Media not going away, it continues to grow and while it grows, so do the number of people who spend time on social media sites, such as: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
Sure, many of these people are engaged for personal reasons; however, there is a large percentage that utilizes these channels for business. Companies that have become active in social media continue to gain momentum, aka Likes, Followers, Connections, etc. (See below for explanations of each directly from the sites themselves).
“Like” is a way to give positive feedback or to connect with things you care about on Facebook. You can like content that your friends post to give them feedback or like a Page that you want to connect with on Facebook. You can also connect to content and Pages through social plugins or advertisements on and off Facebook.
“Follow” Following someone on Twitter means you are subscribing to their Tweets and their updates will appear in your personal timeline on your Twitter homepage. When you follow someone, they will then have permission to send you private tweets, called direct messages, too. Your follower/following statistics are listed on your profile page.
“Connection” Find past and present colleagues and classmates quickly. LinkedIn makes staying in touch simple. Discover inside connections when you’re looking for a job or new business opportunity. Your network is full of industry experts willing to share advice. Have a question? Just ask.
If your corporate website does not have a presence in any social media channels, you are clearly missing the boat. It is not too late to get started and there is no better time than the present. So where do you start? You’ll want to establish a strategy before diving in head first; this is a mission critical step that is often overlooked and shouldn’t be. Who will be posting on your corporate Facebook page? Who will be tweeting? Who will update LinkedIn? These are important to sort out and a solid strategy is necessary in order to have a successful social media presence. Please visit our social media page to learn more. I also encourage you to take a look at your competitor websites. What are they doing from a social perspective? Are they showcasing their channels on their home page? How often are they posting updates on Facebook? How frequently are they tweeting?
Social Media is an excellent resource that can bring much value if done correctly. Make 2011 the year of getting social!
I have worked in sales and marketing since I graduated college. I am a fan of marketing and take pleasure in seeing creative ads on TV, radio, and online. I love the “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign from Dos Equis. I crack up every time I see that commercial for Heineken where the couple is showing off their new house and the woman takes her girlfriends to a huge walk-in closet and the men get a tour of a huge walk-in cooler filled with beer (Heineken, of course). I don’t mind watching the 15-30 second commercial before the videos I watch on Comcast.net. I didn’t ask for the commercial, but I know its coming and I am fine with it.
Here’s is what I don’t like about marketing: disingenuous product endorsements. Celebrities get paid big money to endorse a product, but rarely do I believe they use the product of their own choosing. Call me cynical, but I don’t think Tiger Woods (maybe a bad example here given his current decline in sponsorship deals) drives a Buick. But I understand that is part of the game, Buick pays (or paid) Tiger big money to participate in commercials promoting the Buick brand. I know he is being paid and if I choose to buy a Buick based on Tiger’s endorsement, I do so with full knowledge Tiger is paid to say good things about Buick.
This same strategy should also be applied by businesses using Twitter to promote their brand, product, or service. There needs to be transparency with how you deliver the message as well as the message itself. When you use Twitter to promote your company, be clear with your followers. You can be creative with coupons or discounts to reward your followers. Running contests and “tweeting” about it can be a great way to get additional word of mouth and increase your base. Social media users are very savvy these days and can see through a veiled attempt to promote a product, service, or brand if you are not fully disclosing why you are reaching out to them.
There have been some high profile stories lately where companies have used celebrities to promote their brand without disclosing that the celebrity is being paid to tweet about the product. Once the stories broke, there was an understandable backlash as social media users felt somewhat betrayed by the message. This type of revelation can lead to bad press and direct people to consider your company as dishonest. This is easily avoided by keeping your message clear and transparent. It is perfectly acceptable to promote that you want to increase your followers, and you are willing to reward them for their loyalty. There is no need to trick people into providing that loyalty. Creative and honest promotions can accomplish the main goal of growing your base without the risk of turning off potential customers and losing credibility.