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Companies are wondering about how social networks will work for them, and whether they should engage on those fronts. They’ve been told they should be doing it. They just aren’t sure why or how. On one hand, some companies are thinking of these social networks are different channels for the same methods they have been trying in traditional marketing. On another, some are just wondering how to get involved, which platforms will do what for them, and where to start. Here are some thoughts.
LinkedIN is a pretty safe place to start for a business. It’s targeted towards business professionals, and is built mostly to be an online profile repository and a reputation management system. But it can be used for more.
LinkedIN is a great way to recruit into your business, in so far as how your people write about themselves in their profiles. If your organization is on there, and people’s profiles all seem to say good things about the organization, that’s another way that folks can get an impression and interact with your company.
It’s also a way to share knowledge and give an impression of your abilities. You can answer questions on LinkedIN. Sometimes, this becomes an exercise in branding that can bode nicely for your company.
I personally have mixed feelings about Facebook. At the least, it’s a place where you as an individual can build a profile and have another touchpoint to the web, and to the potential of meeting new people with similar interests. Putting together a decent profile isn’t especially difficult, but there are a few things I’d recommend:
- Use a more candid picture than a posed one.
- Consider which applications you add to your profile. They tell people a lot about you. Sure, you’re going along with the crowd, but why?
- Join groups before you consider starting any. Participate.
- Evaluate the value of your efforts. Don’t just stay there because people told you to be there.
What do you think? Are you using Facebook in a business way? Do you like it? Are you getting value?
Ah, how do I describe Twitter. I have too many times to do so again in this article. But my business point about Twitter is this. Provided you are using Twitter conversationally, and mixing and matching between sharing things about other people and maybe a slight mix in of what you’re doing, then it’s a somewhat useful tool for getting the message out.
I use Twitter a lot to ask questions. Some of my questions are just to promote conversation. Other times, I use it to direct attention to things that are useful or matter, like social causes. Sometimes, I point Twitter towards my own stuff.
Social Networks In General
In general, social networks are useful for bringing about awareness, about meeting people outside the organization, and as Rachel Happe from IDC often says, about capturing unstructured information (like status messages). Tread gently into using social networks, as the return on their use can be questionable. It’s all a matter of engagement. How one engages is one thing. Why one engages is another. What you get out of the engagement is obviously the most important.
Ending The Five Starter Move Series
Inside of my Social Media 100, this has been the Five Starter Moves series. If you didn’t get your questions answered, let me know. I can cover any questions in a subsequent post, and share my response to your thoughts both in the comments and in subsequent works. I hope it worked out for you.
The Social Media 100 is a project by Chris Brogan dedicated to writing 100 useful blog posts in a row about the tools, techniques, and strategies behind using social media for your business, your organization, or your own personal interests. Swing by [chrisbrogan.com] for more posts in the series, and if you have topic ideas, feel free to share them, as this is a group project, and your opinion matters.
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