Social media; social networking

We strongly encourage all our clients to engage in various social media tools, however, some people are unclear as to the purpose of social media or how to go about using it. So we have put together a brief primer.

To get started, let's list some "flavors" of social media. You might recognize some, or already use some, from the list on the right.

Many social media tools have cross-over function, e.g.: mixing blogging and networking, micro-blogging and networking or networking and indexing. And they are changing and growing all the time. You can't possibly use all the social media sites and tools that are out there. Try some and use your favorites. Or use the ones you consider most popular. After all, you want to be where the people are. At the time of this writing, one of the most popular, with meteoric rise, and our favorite is Twitter.

For the most part, social media is FREE. Of course, it will take some time, but, given the benefits, it is worth fitting into a business owner's daily schedule.

Most social media tools are hosted on their own sites. However, if you are going to write a blog, we recommend it be hosted under your own domain name. WordPress is a good solution.

Business Benefits of Social Media

Gain clients. As a general rule, people do business with people - not with a company or a machine. Let people get to know you and they will want to do business with you. Be personable. Be transparent.

I have a client who told me she almost lost a very big account, until her client found her on Facebook. My client attributes the connection on Facebook with saving the account. It's harder to fire a friend.

Get new ideas, resources and inspiration. Read what others have to say. You will be surprised what you will learn or how you will be inspired.

Speak up. Let people know what's on your mind. Social media enable you to speak directly to your clients, prospective clients, associates and peers. You can share your wealth of knowledge and insight with hundreds or thousands of people.

Introduce new products and services.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Many social media sites rank highly in search engines. When you list your business with them (particularly the index sites) you benefit from their high ranking impressions.

Reviews and ratings. Invite your clients to review and/or rate your business. Let them know the various social media sites where your business has a presence and invite them to use their favorite. Also, ask permission to post their review or testimonial on your own website.

Coupons. Create online coupons to attract clients. For instance, if it is your practice to talk with prospective clients without charge before they hire you, make it into a coupon. "Free Consultation" or "Bring this coupon for a FREE appointment."

How to Jump Into Social Media

If you have an email address you can sign up for most any social media site.

  • Look for opportunities to list your business, not just your personal info.
  • Make it your own. Many sites allow you to upload images and even select or build a unique design for your page.
  • Make a list. You will want to remember the sites where you register so you can update them.

Access to Social Media

In addition to connecting to social media via your computer, you can use a mobile device, cell phone, smart phone or pda to text updates.

Social Media Widgets and Badges

There are many free tools for connecting your website to your various social media. These tools are often called "widgets," "badges"or "apps." They have different appearances and functions. Find the ones that are right for you.

If you or your client needs assistance setting up, integrating or managing social media, please give us a call. Iron Fox Designs will help you succeed.

Forms of Social Media