The Social Media “gold rush” is on and every business owner is feeling the pressure to strap on the spurs, saddle up the horse and head west. The problem is that most busy business owners don’t know much about the social media tools out there or the cultures that have evolved within those spaces. I borrow a great analogy from a very talented Social Media Speaker, Jamie Turner, who describes the popular platforms like this: MySpace is a Rock Concert, YouTube is Time Square, Facebook is a Pub, Twitter is a Dinner Party and LinkedIn is a Trade Show.
I use this analogy in every presentation I give, because people seem to really identify with it. Understanding the culture of the tools going in will help you target the appropriate tool for your needs and keep you from making serious mistakes in how you engage with the people there.
With close to 1 Billion people on Facebook, it does seem like everyone is there, but the audience isn’t necessarily eager to talk about retirement plans or HR recruiting. LinkedIn would be a better choice if these are the services your company offers. However, if you are a store owner, restaurant or online retailer, Facebook might be a great place to showcase your products and engage your customers. MySpace draws a very young crowd and is a place where artists, musicians and comedians call home. Pinterest, the new kid on the block, is showing great promise for any company that can offer interesting images and has an online presence. Almost every business can find a use for video. How-to videos are huge and can serve as a helpful tool on your website for frequently asked questions. There are other options besides YouTube, which is enormous and a difficult place to get noticed. Viddler.com provides better quality videos and is a popular option with business owners. Don’t just leave your video sitting on a social media platform waiting to get viewed, embed it in your website, blog, and email newsletter. And, let go of the idea of viral video. Most companies on the receiving end of a video that went viral, wished it had never happened. For videos to truly go “viral” they need to be shocking or hilarious. Most of the time it is a negative video (check out the Pizza Hut debacle) that got shared and viewed by millions.
Twitter has proven to be a wonderful tool for almost every type of business. The dinner party analogy really works well here. Imagine you are at a dinner party. You’ve been introduced to several new people. “Hello, what do you do? Oh, that’s interesting. I have a friend who is looking for someone like you.” The same is true on Twitter. Meeting new people is very easy. Introducing them to each other is easy. It’s all about being helpful and making conversation. Twitter is by far the most time consuming of all the platforms. If you are not in the conversation, you will not reap the benefits. It also takes more time in the beginning building up your number of followers by seeking out quality connections.
As is the case with all of the social media tools, they are only as powerful as the person using them. It doesn’t matter whether you are at a Rock Concert or Trade Show, the important thing is to be human and to offer value to potential clients and influencers in your industry or community. If your company need help in finding its social media fit, we’re here to help. Use the contact form here and reach out.