By Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable, an award-winning, social-media-leveraging and word-of-mouth marketing firm.
With thousands of social networking sites and tools available to businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Here are my five recommendations on where you should start when it comes to creating a social media presence, and why it’s so valuable to your business:
- Facebook: The world’s largest social media site boasts more than 500 million users, and has an astonishing growth rate of nearly one million users per day. More important, its users are your customers and prospects, with people across every demographic imaginable. Facebook features individual profiles, groups and pages, so you’ll want your company’s presence to be felt. For starters, set up a fan page for your business. Once this is done, share engaging content on a daily basis, and consider Facebook ads to help populate your page. Because Facebook has data on 500 million people, the targeting options render the Facebook ads system the best ad-targeting mechanism in history.
- Twitter: This micro-blogging site and second-largest search engine has 100 million users, and your ability to tap into what your customers and prospects are saying right now is unparalleled. Through this site, you can follow thought leaders in your industry and people who are “tweeting” about you and your business. As with Facebook, you’ll want to share a lot of great content through this social media site— not necessarily your own content, but articles and links your customers would find helpful. Also, you should reply to anyone talking about you or asking questions for which your company has solutions. Just remember: provide value, don’t sell.
- LinkedIn: This is the largest professional social network online with 75 million users, and is still seen as the safer social media choice by some entrepreneurs and high-level executives. As a business owner, you should make sure your profile is complete before using LinkedIn to network, learn and share. As a company, you should ensure you have a dynamic company profile. Once you set one up, you can use LinkedIn to showcase your content and find new employees and partners.
- YouTube: The world’s largest video-sharing site and third-largest search engine, YouTube should be the host of any video content you can create, or better yet, have customers create. I’m not talking about slick TV spots— a flip cam is usually enough to film a 60-second “how-to” video, or an interview with an executive, customer or partner. Also, don’t expect to produce the next “viral video sensation.” As long as you create and share great content, it will find an audience.
- Blog: While most corporate blogs are unread, if you can use a blog to consistently create and share valuable content, it can be the lynchpin to your social media strategy. You don’t have to give away the farm; however, do create enough value to showcase yourself as the expert and make people want to share your content. Great blogging software options include WordPress, Posterous and Tumblr.
Good luck using social media to improve your company’s presence online. Feel free to ask me a question by visiting our Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube or blog accounts. You can even go “old school” and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org!