This past year I’ve done lots of complaining saying things like, ‘if I’d wanted to do marketing, I’d have gone to Uni!’ as I struggled to get my head around Social Media platforms.
This was my introduction to the beauty of Social networking where I met and interacted with people from around the globe, many of whom who are still in my circle of friends today.
When Facebook made its first appearance I was resistant to joining in; I wasn’t sure about maintaining a profile ‘outside’ of business – Facebook seemed so informal. Then I realised I actually enjoyed it; it gave people the opportunity to question and challenge my style of empowerment while promoting my passion; Personal Development.
Soon after getting to grips with setting up a business page on Facebook, I signed into Twitter opening my world to a host of interesting people with a new ability to see what else was going on around me. I think it was here that I spotted links to Empire Avenue; I’d had a couple of invitations to play but I’m not really a gamer so didn’t see the point of it, at first.
In fact, at the end of my first week of Living in the Avenue I was ready to quit – but with a little help and encouragement from some players, whom I’d now class as mentors and friends, I stuck with it. Every day I learned something new, often coached (and sometimes coaxed) into the next level by my SM (Social Media) Guru, Mark.
I began to see things differently; I was starting to realise how Social Media applies to everything!
I took what I’d learned (through applying it!) to a local business conference and was quite amazed to realise that I had a pretty good underpinning knowledge of what I termed, The Social Media State.
A few weeks later I saw how all the dots join up as I wrote Social Media in Action – showing a delightful response to a very personal plea from Hannah, who’s now receiving treatment in America. You can keep up to date with her progress via status updates on her Facebook page.
I’ve also avidly followed the coverage of revolutions, campaigns, strikes and marches throughout the world this year by hooking into news coming directly from sources on the ground. A service which we all contribute to when we hit the ‘share’ button.
We open ourselves up to criticism, learning and challenge when we post something, anything online so I can see why it’s a scary prospect for some; one wrong tweet and you’re out, followers dropping off like flies after a drunken rant.
However, if you’re a business you cannot afford to shy away from networking and promotion via the web, especially platforms like Twitter and Facebook. This then makes it all the more important to take responsibility for your updates and content.
Be honest and open in your communication with others – engaging content will engage clients so it’s important to publish materials which are relevant to them. When in conversation online and off, be yourself, be authentic.
If someone else is doing that part (Social Media) for your business there are a few rules of engagement to get right with your team, bearing in mind the social aspect of the media itself will sort the wheat from the chaff; remembering that it has the increasing ability to make or break brands in zip-time.
- Direct and guide your staff in the ways you (your company) want to be portrayed on the web
- ensure you agree on language, complimentary content and associated links
- be confident they have the integrity to promote, through specific training, not destroy client relations.
- Use protocols to ensure each person is responsible for the message they put across.
According to recent surveys, blogging will be the most vital tool at your disposal, again making content of high importance.
Whichever your favourite forum, all of the above will apply to greater or lesser degrees. Engagement will be the top priority and the wider we throw our nets the more variety we’ll have.
Don’t be afraid to interact with others who share the same or similar profession for fear of giving away your own trade secrets; we can learn from each other.
Social media interaction has become the most enriching experience for many people as we build friendships, new working relationships and partnerships in our own countries as well as those separated by thousands of miles.
Through our online communications we get a sense of who we’re chatting to and build our trust from there.
I personally have made tremendous new friends who have unselfishly helped, guided and assisted me in a multitude of ways since I started, and for which I’m exceptionally grateful.
I’ve found being active on social networks to be a truly enriching experience; I have friends and a wealth of knowledge literally at my fingertips and only a tweet away.
2012 has the potential to be our greatest yet in Social Media as the information highway opens up to furnish us with many new and exciting sites to visit and participate in.
Enrich your life and make Social Media your vehicle to success this coming year.