Businesses are putting increasing value on social media as they drive to be more efficient, reach new revenue streams, and maintain existing business. The competition is getting higher and it is important to focus on the four most important social media tools – blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Blogging is simply a method for a business or individual to create content and make it available to an audience that they are responsible for attracting. What you are looking at now is an example of blogging. It is meant to inform, demonstrate expertise, and engage the audience in conversation.
Blogging is a way for a business to show a personality. The blog should be professional, of course, but there is nothing wrong with having a little fun. Because blogs are often self-hosted and self-maintained you’ll notice they appear in a myriad of colors and formats, they can either be specific or broad; they may belong to a community of blogs or live independently. A businesses blog should act as hub for all other online content. The other social media tools should direct traffic back to the blog.
Facebook is a social networking website that is focused on individuals. Connections are called friends and things they promote are known as “likes.” There are restrictions on how long individual messages can be. Businesses can create Pages that the individuals can connect to in the form of a “like” this action is then shared with all of their friends automatically.
Business with a page can post photos, updates, and plan events. Once they have engaged an audience of “likes” they can continue to communicate with these connections on an ongoing basis. Facebook is continually deploying new resources to advertisers and business owners as it looks to generate ever increasing revenue from the network it has created.
LinkedIn is also a social site, similar to Facebook. However, its focus is on professionals and business networking. This site is meant to mirror live networking in business-to-business environments. Here, an individual can upload a resume, list achievements, and ask for useful business introductions. LinkedIn is a great way to build a personal brand. Every association made represents a level of trust as this is seen on the same level as a personal business referral. There are many specialized groups available where users can share information related to their business or industry.
Twitter is unique among the above social sites because users are limited to 140-character messages called tweets. They’re sort of like text messages that other people can see. Users sign up to follow other users. Twitter can be used to position oneself as a thought leader or industry expert. Twitter can be used to promote a blog or website, but is most effective when used with a conversational and social approach. The idea is to engage other users. You can compliment another user by re-tweeting their messages. Twitter is seen as having tremendous value for research and a way to stay on top of industry thought leaders.
Used together, all four of these social media platforms can have strong impact on branding individuals or businesses.