How to use Social Media

It’s okay knowing what Social Media is and how to create a SM profile, but how do you expand that to enable business clients to ensure the know how to interact in SM so that they can proliferate their brand messages, gain brand recognition and promote their products/services correctly.

Many people who already use any sort of Online Marketing and communication product like Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn etc. already know that it only takes a few minutes to actually create the profile and it is not that difficult, but pretty quickly you are looking at a default screen for the tool and wondering what to type.

There are now over 200 tools that make up the collection of products that are all part of the Social Media Platform and naturally they all have slightly different interfaces, they also have different engagement models too. So the issue for many people is ‘How should I engage?’, well there are so many ways to communicate gain contacts and start the whole process of creating the online persona. I think it is always a good place to start to ensure you understand the rules and etiquette of SM and then of course the rules and etiquette and audience of the actual SM tool you are using.

Firstly you must understand the terms and conditions of the particular Social Media site before you start to engage, for instance written into the Facebook terms and conditions they will not allow you to have more than one Facebook account.

Many people think that this is a major issue since they feel that you need at least two accounts one for personal communication and one for company communication. The issues here for many people appear to be around the fact that they:
a) don’t want to share very personal contact information with individuals who are company contacts
b) Most people feel that if you do have a shared account then if anything slightly embarrassing gets communicated this could be seen as un-professional by business contacts. These are real concerns since these sites are social communities of individuals often broken down into smaller social communities, good and bad news can travel fast.

However it is worth pointing out that if the Facebook platform is used correctly and the security features are configured in the correct manner, it is fairly easy to create a professional online entity and keep these communications separate from any personal ones and the same the other way round. Twitter has a slightly different philosophy on this and written into their terms and conditions, you can have more than one Twitter profile as long as each profile has a different email address and this is the same for many other Social Media tools.

It is also worth mentioning about the nature of the content on Social Media sites again this is usually written into the terms and conditions of these networks and you should be aware that if your site has content of a sexual nature or indeed of any content that breaks the laws of the country you are in then the profile can just be taken down.

Also please be ware if your Social Media profile points to other sites that have this sort of content then again you are risking breaking the rules of the Social Media provider. If in doubt please always keep an updated copy of the terms and conditions handy, it is not worth taking the risk especially when you may have put many hours into creating your online brand through particular Social Media platforms.

On a more general note, you should always try to be:

• Honest, Not hiding anything
• Trustworthy
• Good citizen
• Not always selling (Contributing to Social Community)

People are much more likely to believe others they trust on the net than any corporate entity or individual who is seen to be promoting in a dishonest way and making blatantly obvious false claims about products and services they deliver.

When Using Social Media -Be a ‘Good Citizen’

As a member of the online Social Media community you should try to post up regular pictures of events, personal break-through experiences, posting new pictures (Flickr) as a representative of the community (community based selling). Market, promote (Events up coming, New product launches), provide customer service as a representative of the community. Because of the Social aspect of Social Media people are always looking to share comments, views, on your offers.

They also want the opportunity to make comparisons and discuss these comparisons with their online contacts and trusted communities, maybe gain feedback on which product or service is good and bad and why?.

Many of the larger companies are now starting to realise the importance of brand management, the use of the fantastic Viral elements of Social Media marketing techniques, it is far less about full on selling and more about being a ‘Good Citizen’