Social Media in 2012
Social media, defined by Wikipedia, is: “web-based and mobile technologies used to turn communication into interactive dialogue.” Now, we have always socially shared, we still do in person everyday — the other day a lady standing next to me in the grocery store, turns over to me and says which one of the hummus do you recommend. I smiled and shared with her, my opinion, about which one I thought was best. (Alibaba Hummus Original is amazing)
Today, a lot of us are trying to share the same message, about what is good in our opinion, but with thousands of people with a click of a button. Facebook has redefined how we share information and interact with our friends and family. Twitter made sure that we say it short and sweet — you have exactly 140 characters to get a powerful message out to the world. Linkedin changed how we network as professionals, and became a live resume for us to share. Google Plus has recently surfaced and is here to stay. The fact that Google Plus is integrated with Google’s search engine make it a whole new animal when it comes to social sharing.
But, what does all these, and so many more which exists for smaller groups of interests, mean for you the small business owner? Just like the definition puts it in plain English, they are merely technologies free to use for communication. Gone are the days where standing outside of your restaurant still attracted enough clients for you to fill all your seats. You now need to utilize these social media technologies to reach a wider following, and even more so generate a fan-base to do the marketing for you.
Rule of thumb about communicating on social media platforms — do not fire off dozens of messages everyday screaming at people to buy your products, or choose your services, or to come eat at your restaurant. No, the best recipe for social media success is to indirectly talk about your product, educate about your services, and get people hungry, for the sake of the restaurant example. Nobody is going to follow you if you constantly yell at them to come buy your product. But, people are likely to follow you if you start a series of conversations about related topics which ties into your industry, products, services, or business, and then in turn you are creating an environment for people to share about topics they have in common. With this method you earn loyalty, and loyal followers will buy, recommend, and refer your business to others — and that’s the ticket.