As social media become more important as sources of information, the importance of using them well increases. Our social media maven, Josepha, offers suggestions for using them effectively:
YouTube now has an internal analytics system that tells you a fair amount of data about your viewers, whether they watch mostly at YouTube or where your videos are embedded. Make and personalize a channel for your company, even if you don’t upload videos. You can comment at other’s videos, friend people, and generally use YouTube for social purposes. If you do upload videos, you’ll have access to your subscribers’ content so you can get an idea of who you’re attracting just by browsing your subs.
Facebook has been letting us make pages for our businesses and interests for some time now, but they have recently updated the business pages for greater versatility. Once you make a page for your business, you can follow your traffic and also see the demographics: how many teen girls, how many retired men, and how there are no fourteen year olds following you at all.
Twitter does not yet give you a traffic tracking interface, but the accounts are already pretty individualized. You make a single account for each company you’re going to tweet for and twitter tracks how many followers you have. Poof. True, you have no idea of the demographics, but since twitter is the new water cooler, word of mouth system it allows you to cast a really wide net.
LinkedIn is a little more difficult to use as a social media tool, simply because they require you to actually know people. What LinkedIn can do for you, though, is research. You can follow news about your company or your industry, join groups (if you have a high tolerance for spam posts), and keep up with your network.
How to Use Them to Your Advantage
You can choose a single site, all four, or some mix of these and industry specific social sites, but once you’ve got your accounts all set up comes the fun part. You want to look lively, you want to be connected in the community, and you want the community to connect to you.
- Tip 1 – Make your account about you. Don’t make it a rehash of the corporate website. That’s what the corporate website is for. These are for showing your personality, your human side.
- Tip 2 – Be active. Don’t tweet every five minutes or you’ll lose all your friends, but do post things regularly. You can update your status once or twice a day, post a new video once a week, write a new blog entry daily. Find a nice, easy stride and stick with it.
- Tip 3 – Don’t drone. We all need some spice in our lives! If you’re posting daily about how to choose the right paint color, then you’re going to get boring fairly quickly. Choose related but different topics. Paint color one day, the difference between matte and gloss finish the next. Add a cheeky post about the decorating choices of various television shows and you’re on your way!
- Tip 4 – Keep it contained. The last thing you want to do is to go around friending and following anything that blinks at you. Be a little selective, grow your fan base slowly; following people who don’t care what you do just for the sake of having that person on a list is not beneficial.
- Tip 5 – Always check the pulse. Do be interested in what is happening with your followers. It’s time consuming, yes, but we’re talking about the new water cooler, word of mouth, “I have a guy” system of communication. You wouldn’t ignore a friend you ran into on the street! Just because you can’t see their faces doesn’t mean you can ignore them.
- Tip 6 – Enjoy it. I mean that. If this isn’t your thing, then pass the ball to someone else. Don’t post “Another thing for me to not keep track of” and then expect people to join your list of friends.
And more than all these things is to be yourself. We all like to know how the other half lives (gossip columns, anyone?), so live it up out there! Go ahead and tell us that your cat threw up on your music! (See Tip 1.)
Let’s not make it the focal point, though, shall we?