Introduction to Social Media

Social-MediaHere is the next part in my series of PR for beginners.  Today, I am going to look at social media and what platforms may be right for your company or organization and how to use them.  This is only an introduction.  The way I see it, social media can be divided into three categories: Primary, secondary and blogs.  Today I am going to look at the primary social media networks.  In future posts, I’ll be looking at blogs and secondary networks.

Primary Social Media

Facebook – Facebook just celebrated its ten-year anniversary.  According to StatisticsBrain, there are 1.4 billion Facebook users worldwide.  It is the social network!  If you aren’t on Facebook and you run a company, you should be.  With so many users, there is untapped potential to reach millions of people.

So, what should you use Facebook for?  Anything!  Consider Facebook the hub of your social network, you can link all of your other social network accounts to it.  When you post to Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. it can all show up on your Facebook timeline.  As much as people complain about the network, it really is an invaluable resource.

Facebook allows your clients/customers/public/stakeholders to interact directly with one another and with your company.  It can be a great tool to prompt conversations and relay information.  Their user-generated ads are micro-targeted and inexpensive.  A small start-up can run a 7 day campaign for under $100, depending on how many people it wants to reach.  Even if you have no money for an advertising budget, using your friends list can help to generate word of mouth.

The best way to use Facebook is to post frequently and to interact directly with people.  Do not ignore comments, engage with those who post to your feed.  The engaging you are with your public, better your ROI will be.

Twitter – Twitter boasts almost 700 million users worldwide and is the second largest social media platform.  Linking your Twitter and Facebook accounts together can help with a one-two punch.  Everything you post on Twitter will be seen on Facebook.  Twitter is great for sending out quick messages and links.  It does not have the kind of user interaction as Facebook, yet it is still a great way to engage your public/stakeholders.

Because Twitter only allows 140 character posts, there is not a lot of room for explanation.  Posts on Twitter have to be direct and to-the-point.  It’s great for a hook or to tease something.  Then, head over to Facebook and post more details.

YouTube – YouTube is the biggest video sharing network around.  YouTube can put a face to a name and bring you right into the office or living room of your public.  Yes, there are a lot of videos of kittens and people doing stupid things, but there are also a lot of other videos posted as well.  For example, say you are a chef and you want to teach people how to cook, YouTube is a great way to do step-step instructions on a recipe.

Doing a video blog (vlog) is also a great way to pull people into your brand, whatever your brand is.  Many times, people like to see and hear an explanation of a subject more than read about it.  YouTube gives you the opportunity to do just that.  Videos do not have to be professionally made and edited.  If you have a camera on your laptop or cell phone, that will do just nicely.

Remember, if you are going to do a video, make sure you are prepared:  Look professional, have what you want to say written out or on note cards, avoid “um” and “like” and make sure the area you are filming in does not have any “photo bombs.”

LinkedIn – I am adding LinkedIn here because it has become the “go-to” professional networking platform.  LinkedIn is a great way to meet and connect with people in and out of your industry.  If you are working on a campaign and want to find a reporter who may be able to give your client coverage, LinkedIn is a great way to connect to that person.  Or, someone you are connected to may be connected to the person you want to get in contact with.

Posts on LinkedIn are generally professional in nature and should have something to do with your business or your client’s business.  Posting an article about your client or a recent blog entry is a great way to get noticed. LinkedIn has groups which cater to many different industries, so finding experts in fields is much easier.  You can also connect your LinkedIn profile with Twitter and Facebook so posts you make on LinkedIn appear on these other networks.

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