Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. No doubt you have heard of them. You may have even used them. However, have you considered what the growth of these websites could mean for your business?
What is Social Media?
Social media is an umbrella term that includes websites such as blogs, podcasts and other websites people use to connect with each other and share information. Classic examples of Social Media websites are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, chat forums, Myspace and the list goes on.
These websites often allow visitors to become users or members, create profiles, and upload and share content with other visitors to that website. There are thousands of social media websites on the internet. Some of the most popular ones in Australia are:
- Facebook: Still one of the fastest growing social media sites out there! At last count from their ‘About Us’ page, Facebook had 1000+ employees maintaining their website in multiple languages. Facebook originally started as a website for college students to keep in touch but is now open to everyone.
- MySpace: This website has become one of the most popular social media web sites on the Internet today! Anyone can create a profile and there are no identity checks. Companies targeting consumers often set up shop here.
- LinkedIn: This business networking website allows you to create a profile and connect with colleagues and business associates online. You can give and get recommendations from your clients and it is like your own resume. You can also find people outside your immediate network for new opportunities.
- YouTube: A video sharing website with something for everyone. There are videos on current events, hobbies and interests of all types and plenty of wacky and wonderful videos too. In November 2006, within a year of its launch, YouTube was purchased by Google Inc. in one of the most talked-about website acquisitions to date. YouTube was purchased for around $2billion. Not bad for an idea that was started by 2 guys in a garage.
Social Media – What does it mean for my Business?
Well… Your customers and prospective clients are almost certainly using social media networks such as Facebook and YouTube, MySpace or LinkedIn. So that is the BIG DEAL for your business? The answer is that you now have the opportunity to go to where your customers are.
The 3 Steps to Becoming Successful with Social Media Networking
- Look Around: There are many websites out there. Since a lot of social media websites offer free memberships, it only costs you in time to find the websites that are useful to you.
- Join In: Joining is usually very easy. Just don’t join up a website and expect to start throwing around your sales pitch. Instead, join groups and find topics you enjoy discussing and are of interest to you.
- Pay Attention: Once you’ve joined a website, pay attention to the ‘conversations’ around you. Each site may have differences in how people interact, but generally people don’t want you storming into a conversation to tell them how great your products or services are. Instead, contribute useful information and take the time to build rapport with other members. As your network grows you will have plenty of chances to let people know what you do.
The Future of Social Media
The social media rules are still being written. Which means there is a significant question still to be answered – Where does social networking end and commercial networking begin? Social media for business is similar in a way to business networking breakfasts. Only now there is a venue that everyone can get to anytime and the customers are at the meeting too.
Social Media is still growing very rapidly. And, with Australia undergoing improvements to the broadband network, one thing is for sure – Social media is expected to grow much bigger yet!