To no surprise, many ‘old guard’ companies continue to pop the blue pill of social unawareness while others readily embrace social media – the red revenue pill with seemingly all the answers. Social media won’t fix things that are fundamentally broken within a business. However, social media can and will magnify a brand’s presence; and if done correctly, engage and empower.
Social Media as an Extension, Not a Hub
Social media is a cost-effective and powerful brand extension. This means it shouldn’t be the hub but it should in fact be a strategic and productive extension of a company’s online presence. Social media represents a lot of great things – but it isn’t the place for a ‘hard sell.’ Social media is an active [not passive] conduit for strategic messaging to educate and empower your customers. In 2011, companies can take a few definitive steps to build relevancy in the social stratosphere.
Where do we go from here … Become a Social Authority
Consumer media consumption and buying habits have changed over the years. The “medium is the message” and in today’s world user-generated experiences are communicating loud and clear. So, in 2011 how can small businesses harness the power of Social Media and actually be effective?
- Engage customers and learn the best social places to reach them
- Develop a social media action plan based on strategic fit and feasible impact
- Commit to activate and perfect at least one  new social platform in 2011
- Define social media goals; don’t tweet, like and share to kill time – make it meaningful
- Develop metrics [i.e. 500 new members in Q1] and track pacing to your end goal
Overwhelmed? Unsure where to start? Here’s a topline listing of social networks, social bookmarking, content, blogs, video/photo sharing, and microblogging sites.
Top 20 Social Platforms
Video Sharing Sites [YouTube, Vimeo]
Blogs [Blogger, WordPress]
Content Management Systems [Pligg]
E-mail Newsletter Campaigns [MailChimp]
Facebook Groups or Pages
Facebook Apps [Twitter Integration] Social networks and networking tools [Linkedin, Myspace, Foursquare] Mobile application development
Twitter or other forms of microblogging [Tumblr, Posterous] News sharing and social bookmarking sites [Digg, Reddit] Virtual Worlds [Kaneva, Smallworlds, Meez, Second Life] Augmented reality [WorkSnug Mobile App] Photo sharing [Flickr, Picasa] Content sharing sites [Scribd, Slideshare, Delicious] Social Media press releases [PitchEngine] Crowdsourcing or Wikis
Real world events organized via social media [Tweetups] Customer service sites [Yelp, ePinions] Podcasting
* Source: Nielsenwire & VentureBeat
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