Social media in its simplest form is any medium which promotes debate, discussion, or the exchange of information within its community. One form of social media is social networking but it’s not limited to the number of friends you have on MySpace. Gathering at the water cooler after lunch is a form of social networking as is attending a chamber luncheon. Social networking has and will always be the lifeline of business. Whether you sell products or services, your bottom line is always directly affected by the number of people you can connect with to make the sale. And you connect with those people through social media.
Social media is constantly changing. With the inception of Web 2.0, businesses and customers can finally cut out the middle man and communicate directly with one another. That doesn’t mean that older forms of social media are obsolete. It means that the way we connect with one another is expanding exponentially. This expansion leads to more and better forms of communication every day. And improved communication leads to a higher bottom line for your business.
So give social networking a try. Sign up for Twitter or Facebook so you connect directly with your customers. If social networking doesn’t sound like your thing, don’t forget there are other forms of social media. Set up a blog to share your knowledge and insights and to build your credibility as a business. Post photos to websites like Flickr or Photobucket to allow your customers a better view of what exactly it is you do. Use websites like Digg or iGoogle to keep up to date and in the know on what your customers are saying.
It doesn’t matter which form of social media you use. The important thing is to embrace these new avenues and to connect with your customers. Don’t shy away from them simply because they’re unfamiliar and not a part of your tried-and-true business model. If you’re not sure which medium is best for you, experiment! Nearly all of these tools could be useful to your business in one way or another. If you’re having trouble, find any one of a number of consultants that can help you navigate the world of social media. No matter how you do it, join in and enjoy the rewards of connecting with your customers.