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Social Media wasn’t something that ever massively appealed to me or came easily as a skill. I was one of the last of my friend group to have a MySpace page and almost as soon as I made it everyone moved to Facebook!
Now I have a Facebook page but for years the only updates on it were as old as the account. It lingered in the background of my mind slowly but surely collecting unread messages from people who actually have my phone number. With every message that cumulated in my inbox my interest plunged a little closer to total apathy.
Once I started getting into SEO a couple of years ago, social media and social bookmarking platforms became a nice easy way to get a link. Everyone likes a link! But over time this tenuous and half hearted form of interaction with these platforms revealed itself to be a poor use of the functionality that they offer. A little like buying a car to drive to the end of the road, granted it gets you to the end of the road but it can go much further.
In order to promote businesses online I began to properly engage on social media platforms. More than just a link Twitter and Facebook accounts became a way of engaging directly with customers. Social media then took on this new dimension; one could get feedback, promote and control company image more easily. Equally as importantly it became more possible to generate more business as a result of engagement.
Now I am an ardent fan of social media, networking and bookmarking. To offer some concrete real world examples of how this can improve your business both online and offline… Using StumbleUpon as an example, originally used as a way of getting a link and quickly; now I build up my profile, add people who share similar interests, invite friends to join, “like” and “share” anything of interest within the scope of the account. This will help to build a list of people who share an interest in the topics relevant to your business. Done properly this can yield hundreds of visitors to your site as well as a link, but the link will be of much more value because people are using it.
Twitter is one of the most infamous of all modern social media platforms, I hear “should we use Twitter?” all the time from clients. The problem is having an account and using it properly are two vastly different things. You can create automated TwitterBots to capitalise on the SEO aspects of the platform without needing to engage much. However using it properly can yield much better results; people and companies get recognised on Twitter, they get retweeted (potentially to 10,000’s of people).
So how do you engage properly with Twitter?
Well, if you imagine for a moment that rather than being an internet based tool or application, it is simply a way of being social it can seem simpler. For example follow people but do not just add 3,000 straight off, this is a large number of people and almost impossible to follow everyone’s tweets. Follow a smaller number and respond to people, if someone says something reply to it, if it’s good retweet it, if they ask a question then answer it.
This simple way of engaging will enable your twitter followers to grow in number. But Twitter can also be used to help curb any bad sentiment towards your business, or put a spotlight on the positive aspects of it. If you are looking to rate the way in which you engage then using http://klout.com or a similar tool can help you to understand where you can improve.
Now I use and engage properly with social media I really enjoy doing it and the benefits are clear and huge both personally and for your business.