In last week’s EnMart NewsBites I mentioned that I would be discussing Twitter and social media on the EmbroideryTalk Blog this week. Today seemed like a good day to do that. While I don’t have the space or the time to go into an in depth discussion of why and how social media can be helpful to your business, I wanted to take a bit of time today to cover some of the basics.
First of all, let’s define social media. Basically, a social media site is any site that depends on user generated content and user participation. Facebook and Linkedin are considered social networking sites. So are a lot of the embroidery forums many of you may visit. Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging site. Delicious is a way to share bookmarks and information as is StumbleUpon. All these sites are ways to interact with other people and ways to share information.
If you own a business the advantages of being on these sites can be huge. Facebook and Linkedin allow you to network with other professionals. Twitter lets you broadcast a constant stream of information about what sorts of things your business is doing. Delicious and Stumbleupon can be a great way to promote your website or to promote your expertise in a particular area. Best of all, the majority of these sorts of sites are free and cost only your time.
One big advantage of using social media is the fact that you have a built in window you can use to see what your customers and potential customers think about your business. Knowing what your customers want and/or need is a vital piece of information if you want to grow your business. Using social media allows you to talk to your customers directly and allows them to give you real time feedback. Social media also allows you to address problems and concerns instantly, even if your customer doesn’t mention the issue to you directly.
If you aren’t familiar with social media, I would suggest you pick one site and start trying it out. Twitter may be the easiest, as it only requires that you post small comments of 140 characters or less. Look for other people who are in the same business as you are, or who may be potential customers and start following those people. Many of them will follow you back. Before you know it, you’ll have built up an audience of potential customers and they’ll start spreading your message to other potential customers. It can, and does, happen.