What is Social Media, Anyway?

Social media is defined as:
  forms of electronic communication (as web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos) – Merriam-Webster.com

VisualizeSocial Social MediaSocial media has changed how we interact with each other, how we get our information, who we share it with and how we share it. Many organizations and businesses use social media to reach out to new and existing customers, to advertise their products or services, or to engage with like-minded groups and individuals.

Starting or increasing on social media is a daunting task, with many options. As with anything in the business world, a plan or goal is a must. If you don’t have a map, you won’t get where you want to go. But, where to start?

Are you committed to your social media plan?

Many companies are very excited to start their  social media campaign, but soon lose steam through lack of time, knowledge, or experience. It doesn’t take long to do social media on a daily basis – 15 or 20 minutes is sometimes enough.

What are your goals?

Are you trying to reach out to new clients or keep existing ones (usually it’s a combination of the two)?

What social media channels are your customers using?

Let’s say your customers are using Facebook, but you’re on Twitter. Tweeting about your latest project will fall on deaf ears. By discovering where your customers are you can connect with them, and sharing this information which will increase traffic to your website.

Which social media channels best fit your company?

Not every social sharing site is suited for every business, and there are positives and negatives to all of them.

Let’s use a photography company as an example:

If you are a photographer, FacebookFlickrInstagram, or Pinterest might be perfect. Facebook allows you to post events, video, share from your Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter feed. This will allow you to drive traffic to your website, Instagram and Pinterest from your Facebook page. It’s one big social-sharing circle.

How much are you willing to invest in your social media plan?

The great thing about social media is that it’s free, for the most part. The only cost for businesses handling their own social media is the time it takes to monitor and participate. If you’re busy building your business, you don’t always have the time to devote to your plan. If that’s the case, hiring a Brand Advocate (or social media manager) might be a good option. If that’s the route you choose, make sure you’ve worked into your budget enough funds to make your plan viable.