Social Media – What is it and why should I care?

Social Media – What is it and why should I care?

Because there are millions upon millions of people using ‘it’ every day. This means that you can connect, listen, respond, engage and sell your services in ‘real time’. You can also react to any negativity instantly, making social media a fantastic customer service tool.

Social media is a one-to-many mass media model

Social media simply means using the internet to communicate with lots people all at the same time, instantly! My simple analogy is; it’s like sending a text to the whole world via the internet. Not only that but whatever you ‘text’ to the world is stored out on the internet. Because it’s stored on the internet it can be found by anyone searching for a particular word or phrase in exactly the same way as we all search Google. If someone comes across one of your ‘public texts’ and they ‘like’ it they may ‘follow’ or ‘connect’ with you in order to automatically see what you text about next. The more people that follow or connect with you the bigger your personal audience.

How do I use social media?

Using social media for businesses is about engaging and communicating but not on a pushy sales level; this only annoys people and results in a drop off in followers. There are a huge range of social media platforms out there (and growing) but the three covered here are:

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook

Lets get the terminology/jargon out of the way:

Twitter

  • A tweet – this is a message that you post, ‘text’ to the internet. It cannot be more that 140 characters in length, this includes links to websites.
  • A retweet – this is when someone reposts your tweet to their followers It’s good practice to retweet other people as it makes them more likely to retweet yours, whereby, increasing your audience and raising brand awareness.
  • A follower – this is someone that likes what you are posting and wants to ‘follow’ you so they see can what you post without having to search
  • Timeline – this is where tweets from the people you are following appear, and your own tweets
  • Hashtag ‘#’ – these are used to define a topic, such as #marketing. Hashtags can be clicked to quickly view other people using this hashtag and discussing this topic in the world.
  • Mention ‘@’ – the @ sign is used to tell Twitter to send your tweet directly to a particular person. This person will be notified that you have mentioned them in a tweet.
  • DM – Direct Message. If you do not want to publicise your tweet you can send a person a personal/direct message. You can only do this if they are following you.

Facebook

  • Status – updating your status is similar to posting a tweet on Twitter. Your update goes out to all of your friends / page fans.
  • Share – sharing a status is similar to retweeting on Twitter. You’re posting someone else’s status which automatically gives credit to the original poster.
  • Message – your messages are just like your direct messages on Twitter. These are private conversations between two parties.
  • Like – liking someone’s status shows your approval of it.
  • Page – a page is created to represent a business, place, brand, artist, public figure or community. Pages can act like a regular Facebook user, posting status updates etc. For businesses a page should be always be used, e.g I Am Your. Pages can also receive a large amount of statistics about their followers and posts. Finally pages can even set up advertisements posted on their behalf, or promote their posts to be seen by more people.
  • Groups – these are discussions which users can join. Groups let you share things with the people who will care about them most.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn uses a very similar jargon to Facebook. Most of the above is also relevant to the platform. The main differences are:

  • You cannot view peoples ‘shares’ unless you are connected with them.
  • You can only search for people and companies and not for key words contained in their shares.
  • You can pay to upgrade your account. This then allows you to see everyone that has viewed your profile and you can email people that you are not connected to.

Note: In both cases you can create personal profiles. These profiles should be set-up correctly, contain information about you and the job you are in and contain a photo as most people, even me, will not connect or engage with a blank faced person. As important is the fact that Google likes social media platforms, therefore, if someone searches for you in Google, your profiles will often be at the top. If you find all of this a little daunting, I Am Your are able to provide professional social media training to you and your staff.

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