Facebook is primarily used for personal networking, where friends, family, and acquaintances stay connected through a robust interface that allows people to instant message and share pictures, play online games, and gift virtual gifts (among a myriad of other functions.
- Facebook does have direct advertising opportunities. The targeting is absolutely incredible—you can be sure that you will hit your target audience!
- Facebook will help you rekindle relationships that may have lapsed (finding old classmates or other acquaintances). Share relevant information; let them know your occupation but do not jeopardize your relationships over selling too hard. Value will be realized through sharing timely and relevant data.
- Twitter (www.twitter.com): A simple concept of sending short (VERY SHORT) messages out to those who follow you. Twitter started as a personal way of telling your personal network “what you are doing” at any given moment. It has also been used by bloggers and content site owners in the same way RSS is used–to quickly blast out the most current news and articles available. In fact, we now offer Twitterers the ability to be notified when we publish a new article in The Resource Center. Follow us on Twitter to see an example of how you might use this tool. Not only does this allow us to alert followers of new content, it helps with SEO too!
- Flickr (www.flickr.com): Primarily a tool for managing graphics and photos for your own internal organization, Flickr is proving to be a tool with external benefits as well.Gregory T’Kint, the Managing Partner at My Digital Partner, shares, “I am using this photo sharing site because it allows me to manage visuals much more easily than it would be on our own corporate web site. These visuals can easily be shared internally and externally, but since each visual can be accompanied by an html description this impacts positively on Search Engine rankings for specific search phrases (Google and Google Images). I started using Flickr consistently and only afterwards realized what the added search engine benefits were and the multitude of ways in which you can integrate Flickr visuals into web pages.”
- YouTube (www.youtube.com): With today’s easy-to-access video production tools and WebCam availability, this is an option more and more marketers can really use. Companies can use YouTube to publish training videos, product demos, and promotions very easily. And, as icing on the cake, the search engines love this “spider food” too!
- Blogs: Only a part of the social networking/media conversation because of their ability to allow readers to “comment” and “share” on the content they read.T’Kint elaborates, “I use blogs as easy publishing platforms to allow me to avoid Content Management Systems. They also allow non-technical people to write web content that is automatically integrated to web pages. This content can easily be syndicated and will again impact positively on your search engine rankings, even before it triggers any conversation/comments.”The other marketing benefit Go-To-Market Strategies has found with blogs is the act of commenting on other blogs. This gives you a voice, promotes a top-of-mind position with your audience, and adds more online mentions (good for brand awareness and SEO) of your company with each entry.
- Other tools often mentioned included Technorati (www.technorati.com), Ecademy (www.ecademy.com), and SlideShare (www. SlideShare.net).
There are a lot of options, but there do seem to be favorites (LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook). Perhaps more importantly, there is a consistent strategy by those who use social media most effectively in their marketing mix—GO WHERE YOUR CUSTOMERS GO and participate with value! Not that sounds like traditional marketing advice to us :~).