Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Thoughts on Social Media Marketing

I recently downloaded two new apps on my iPhone and they have quickly become addictions: Instagram and Words with Friends.

While browsing through my twitter feed, I saw someone mention that thanks to instagram, twitter and a few other networking sites - they were done with Facebook.

Individuals and businesses often start using social media outlets without realizing it's differentiating factors, or what separates each of these sites. Understanding the potential for each site can be quite helpful in deciding where to spend your time.

This is by far the biggest and most popular social networking site. Everyone, including probably your grandmother, has a profile on here. It's incredibly easy to join, easy to navigate and incredibly addicting. I find that it's difficult to remember what life was like before I joined 7 years ago. However, over time they have made so many changes that it has made it drastically more difficult for businesses to gain new fans. Ads are expensive and, in my experience, have very little return. Many people who are your fans may never even see your posts, because they don't interact enough with your page for facebook to put your updates on their newsfeed. Facebook pages are most useful when you can get your fans talking about your company and sharing links. So as far as Facebook goes, you've got to make it interesting or your updates will go under the radar.

This is my personal favorite. Twitter is an ongoing conversation between you and your followers. In the "twitterverse" it is the norm to "follow" people you don't actually know, but people whom you might like to know. It is most effective to have a personal twitter account where you update your followers on everything from a new product line to your thoughts on the tv show you're currently watching. People on twitter like to share and the more you share, the more people will start to notice you and respond to what you're saying. On twitter, frequency is key.

The world of Foursquare is a strange one. Checking into various locations in order to gain points. Points which don't actually get you anything, I might add. The strangest part is that it's kind of addicting. I love trying to beat more of my friends each week and it can be really useful if you have a business with a physical location. You can offer discounts or prizes for checking in, which will hopefully spread the word that you exist. The bad news? I think there are some feelings of dissaproval on twitter and facebook for those who constantly check in on Foursquare. Also, it's pretty easy to forget to check in and therefore forget about Foursquare altogether.

Ok. Not only is this site fun and addicting, but it can be very useful. You can create a network of followers and then link to the items you sell so that people can share and reshare and share some more. This is great for businesses who sell lovely looking products because it's very visual.

This is another great site for those visual people, like myself. On twitter, I hate clicking on links to see photos. It takes too long to download and throws me off my social networking game. Instagram is so perfect because it is just like twitter, except you upload a photo. Not only that, but people can comment on the photos right there and the comments stick with your photo - rather than just being out there floating in space like they do on twitter. Instagram is also fun because of all the ways you can make your photos look more interesting.

Words with Friends
Dare I say this is a social networking device? I think this game is so successful because you get to stretch your brain by playing a game, that is basically Scrabble, and you can chat with your friends while you play. Almost like real life...

Finally, I'd like to mention that it's a good idea to connect all of your social media outlets together. Makes life a lot easier. And there are many many other sites out there which I haven't mentioned and you might find very useful. The important thing with each of them is to know their purpose and how they can be a help (or a hindrance) to you and your business.

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