Over the past month, I’ve been working with On Motion Media in Pittsburgh to develop a social media strategy. This entry is a result of our collaboration and is cross-posted on the company blog, On Going. Be sure to check them out for innovative insight on video-based communications, marketing and sales solutions. Follow OMM on Twitter @OnMotionMedia.
“Social networking” is getting a lot of buzz these days, especially with marketing and PR folks. And for good reason – with more than 200 million members on Facebook, 14 million Twitter visitors and 40 million LinkedIn users, these sites have amazing reach. With that reach comes the potential for significant business growth. You can use social media to increase brand awareness, connect with targeted audiences and ultimately generate business.
Now before you create accounts on every social networking site out there – and there are plenty – and start blasting out business pitches, consider a few things. First, you need a strategy that accounts for what you want to accomplish. You need to put some time and serious thought into the planning process. And second, nobody wants to get those blast messages; they’re annoying and already coming at us from every medium – these social sites still offer a small degree of sanctuary from spam.
In creating your strategy, you may want to seek outside consultation if you are not familiar with social media (or even if, as a small business operator, you just don’t have enough time to spend on it).
The social networking sites that are most appropriate for you will often depend on your business and industry, but I would generally recommend participation in LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. As you set up profiles for your business, encourage your employees to get involved as well.
“Every individual now is essentially their small business, and a little bit of an entrepreneur themselves,” LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman told the Miami Herald. For that reason, he thinks all working professionals should establish themselves in social networks – not just LinkedIn, but Facebook and Twitter as well.
These three sites attract a really diverse demographic and offer the most opportunity for you to reach new people and potential customers. Watch for upcoming blog posts about what each of these sites can specifically offer and please share your thoughts. What do you think are the most valuable social networking tools for growing business? How do you make the most of them? What kind of goals are outlined in your social media strategy?