If you haven't participated in social media yet have you been living under a rock?
Just a couple of years ago no one talked about tweets, pins, likes +1s, post but these terms are commonly used everyday.
If somehow you still don't haven't joined the social media conversation this post aims to help you understand tweets, pins and post!
Let's explain social media with donuts to give you an understanding of the different channels!
Further post will explore the best usage and benefits for your business but this is intended as a basic introduction to the world of social media for those that have been in hiding!
I like donuts
Right now I'm eating a donut
My skills are eating donuts and other stuff
Let me share this great donut recipe
Check out this video of me eating donuts
As an example Facebook has 1.2 billion active users worldwide, 33 million in the UK alone with over 50% of the population using it. Twitter has 140 million (and growing) users worldwide and 6.6 million active UK users.
* Figures correct at 01/2013.
Social media has brought about a new method of connecting and engaging with people on-line.
Customers talk to other customers and sometimes you may be excluded from the conversation. Knowing that people are talking about you is valuable but not actionable and understanding why they are talking is the real goal and social media offers us the chance to engage when appropriate. Publicising company services via our on-line communications is proving to be very popular and enables us to promote our company to even wider (and sometimes hard to reach) audiences.
An estimated 1.5 billion people are now active on social media websites with personal accounts as well as business based accounts. You'd be surprised how found people become of their social media profiles and activity online and for some it is like a drug and they are very much addicted! This addiction has been enhanced with smart phones and quicker, easier to access WIFI and everyday technology is getting quicker and smarter which makes it even easier for users.
Social media conversations aren't just chit chat though and social media has an effective use in business to help you spread the word and advertise your products and services. Reach even a tiny portion of the people hanging out on the various social media channels and you could draw huge traffic to your website!
It's time to join the party
You can’t join in the conversation unless you're where the conversation is, so you need to join and get social online. The social media sites listed here are all FREE to join and can really help you and your business but they do need a little investment in time and stamina to keep using these channels and slowly build an audience. If you decide to get involved please stick with it as there is nothing more frustrating for end users in trying to converse with no reply because you have given up and potentially lost a new customer.
Start off by joining one or two of the most popular sites and get talking - you'll be an online social media guru before you know it connecting and engaging with your audience.
Below is a brief overview of the most popular social media sites worth joining to help promote your business.
1.2 billion users shows how much Facebook has become part of people's everyday life worldwide. Facebook is great for spreading the word about your brand and is a good choice if you are starting out.
You can use it to reach your customers by regularly adding content, status updates and holding events. You can post comments, photos and video to encourage your followers to like your post/business page and become a fan of your business and services.
Twitter is a bit like an advanced text messaging service where you are limited to 140 character tweets but has extra features like Geo (location) tagging, ability to add photos and much more. It should be used for instant updates on what you are doing and also to share and distribute content which your followers may find interesting.
It is a great tool to use if you want to establish yourself as a leader in your field and industry expert. If you follow other industry related Tweeters and share quality insights, statistics and useful links you can quickly build a following.
LinkedIn is great for business to business contacts and professionals and a great networking online tool. You can use it to connect with colleagues, peers and other businesses in the world’s largest professional network.
LinkedIn has more than 175 million active members in 200 countries and you are able to make new connections through your own existing ones or by joining groups or participating in conversations related to your industry. Most people use it as an online CV also as it is a great please to showcase your own professional skills and qualifications.
Google+ offers an alternative to Facebook and a more streamlined user interface which allows you share, chat, like and video conference in what google calls hang outs. The advantage Google+ has over Facebook is that it is much easier to set up groups such as family, friends, work colleagues and more intuitively control who you share content with.
As Google controls a significant of online information it is worth setting up a Google+ account and linking it other google services. It has grown slowly and is still not quite as popular as Facebook but is gaining new users with 90 million users*
* Figures correct at 01/2013.
Pinterest is a great visual sharing social media based on sharing photos/images of anything you are interested in. It allows you to share (or pin) items to your pin board which others can open, re-pin or like and share. You could share images of your products and business and build up a great picture of your brand.
If you are a visual person then this could be the right social media channel for you and if you share some stunning images that are really interesting you again can build a good following.
Pinterest has been especially popular among females, who account for 60% of users, and has been really popular as a window shopping online tool to browse before purchase.
A couple of years ago few would have thought that an online video sharing service - YouTube would be taking over our TV screens but it continues to grow in popularity and is available (alongside other social media) on most new internet-enabled TV's and continues to dominate online video.
Every second 46,296 YouTube videos are watched all around the world and in just 8 years it has transformed the web from mono media to multimedia. YouTube videos can be embedded in blogs, websites and online stores and eCommerce websites that include product video reviews tend to produce better sales than those without.
With a staggering 800 million monthly visitors and 4 billion hours of video viewed per month YouTube is worth adding to your marketing channels to offer video content about your company and services.
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