Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; chances are you’ve gotten caught up in the hype of social media. Here’s a look at social media for marketing managers and business owners who need to jump in but don’t know where to start. Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In are sites that allow people to “socialize” online. You create a network of people to socialize with, then post little updates about your day, or your business. Here’s the limitation: the media (Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn) is only as strong as your network. You have to invite people to network or socialize with you or your business. Note: DO NOT mix your personal Facebook or Twitter socializing with your business networking. Your business colleagues DO NOT care what you had for breakfast or what your dog did today. Start by creating a separate account for your business. LinkedIn is designed for professionals to network. If you are someone who is looking to build a reputation as an expert, this is the site for you. You can participate in discussions, answer questions, ask questions, make new connections (network) and make announcements on LinkedIn. This is a great tool for networking right from your desk. Facebook is great for retail, service, or entertainment businesses. But, you have to first get people to join your network. How? Give them a reason. Create a Facebook page for your business. Send out “fan” requests to your customers (this is a full time job in and of itself), tell customers they will receive special offers and coupons as Facebook fans. Use Facebook posts to update your fans on sales, offers, and services in a timely manner. Again, the limit is the size of your network. Only you can expand your network, and if you only have 50 “fans”, then that’s the maximum reach for your message. Twitter is part of a longer conversation that will be addressed separately, but the same basic rules apply. How does “Traditional Media” (radio, TV, print, outdoor) fit in? You can’t rely exclusively on social media. It’s tempting because in most cases social media is free. In theory, Social Media can lead to the viral spread of a message, but it has to be a really strong and unique message to make people want to forward it around. This generally works best for large national brands. In most cases, local companies still need to use some form of traditional media to get the message to those who you aren’t networked with. Why? Traditional media will reach MORE PEOPLE, so you will get more response, faster. Traditional media brands your business, makes your name recognizable, and builds trust and familiarity. When combined with a social media campaign, traditional media will can help you expand your network faster and thereby make your social media campaign work better. There are ways to combine Social Media and Traditional Media to grow your business. For more information, contact us.