An Overview of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter
With over 200 million Facebook users (according to Facebook statistics), odds are that you are already using it for keeping in touch with friends and family. But have you thought about using Facebook for business? What about LinkedIn? Twitter?
The business uses of LinkedIn are more obvious (since its purpose is for professional networking), and with over 39 million members (according to LinkedIn statistics) you may already be LinkedIn.
Many people simply don’t *get* Twitter at all and certainly don’t see the value of it for business.
A search on Yahoo, Google, or your favorite search engine, for “social media tips for business” yields pages of results. There’s no shortage of tips and advice available online, so much that it’s overwhelming.
All social media sites have a few basics in common:
- They are for building relationships and credibility
- They are a great way to make new connections and build your network
- They are an excellent tool for conveying information
In short, social media is a great way to expand your business networking efforts!
Something to consider before getting started with social media for your business is the kind of image you want to convey. Yes, part of the point of networking is to get to know each other on a more personal level, but how much do those in your social network really want to know about your personal life? And how much do you want them to know?
Remember: social media is exactly like real life, but faster. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to behave just like you would in real life.
And here’s an important not-to-do that I’ve been guilty of (just a couple times, and when I realized what I’d done, I was ashamed) and that is: selling every person you meet. Doing this via social media is just like when someone walks up to you at a networking event, hands you their card and gives you their sales pitch, then either barely listens while you introduce yourself or just walks away (I actually prefer when those people just walk away, at least they’re being direct.)
Social networking is just that: networking and being social. The big difference is that we’re doing it online, when it’s convenient for us, and it’s easy to connect with people world-wide.
There is amazing potential here!
Here’s a general overview with a few tips on how to get started with each:
To be able to connect with others on Facebook you’ll need to be signed up with Facebook. As with each of these sites, signing up is free and easy to do.
The basic elements of Facebook include:
- Personal Profile
The Personal Profile is what individuals use to connect with friends and family. It can also be used to network for business on a more personal level. Your Personal Profile is where you connect with your Facebook friends.
Pages are like Personal Profiles for businesses. While you connect with friends on your Personal Profile, you connect with fans on your Page. Facebook Pages are indexed by search engines. This not only increases your online presence but can help drive traffic to your site.
Applications are mostly entertainment focused. Two of the Applications that useful for business are the ones that enable you to integrate your blog and Twitter with your Facebook account.
Groups are a great way to connect with others with similar interests. However, groups are not indexed by search engines.
Causes are a way to show support for a non-profit organization. Donations can also be made online to a Cause.
Events are used to promote a seminar, workshop, party, any sort of event to your Facebook friends.
If you’re new to Facebook, start by creating a page for your business. This a good way to interact with customers and to provide them information on their terms. Be sure to update it often with announcements of events, tips that tie in to what your business provides and what your friends and fans will find helpful. Ask your fans to give you feedback by posting on your wall or giving a review.
Some people find LinkedIn easier to use for business, since the purpose of LinkedIn is professional networking with colleagues and classmates, and for job-searching. While it’s not as *fun* as Facebook, it is a very valuable tool.
The people you’ll meet here are looking to expand their professional network, which naturally lends itself to collaborations and leads for new customers or projects.
The LinkedIn profile is set up similar to a resume. You can include as much information about your current and previous employment and education as you would like to share. The more information you include the easier it is to make connections through your previous employers and schools attended.
Most people on LinkedIn allow others they’re connected with to view their connections. This is one of the most valuable features of LinkedIn as it enables you to connect with the people in your connections’ networks.
There are also a variety of groups for alumni, professional interest, networking and non-profits. This can expand your network and give you the opportunity to participate in discussions with group members. This is a great way to build credibility by sharing your expertise as well as to get answers and feedback from fellow group members.
Twitter is all about real-time updates in 140 characters or less which and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message, or the web.
Twitter can be used as a networking tool, it can be used to get in touch with different people, find information and trends, and it can be used for marketing.
Twitter is a great tool to get your target audience to discover you, your site and the value your site creates. It helps establish a link between you and your audience and can be a great part of your online branding and marketing strategy.
Start by following other Twitterers first and most will follow you back. You could follow people in your industry, people who you think could be potential customers, and people who Tweet things that you find interesting.
If you are interesting and you provide value in your tweets, people will continue following you and you will get more followers. The more people that follow you, the more exposure your Tweets will get. That way your site gets more exposure and hopefully more visitors, subscribers and customers.
On Twitter: twitter.com/WebbWeaver