As published on Hybrid Mom.
What are “social media”? Social Media are internet based online communities and forums (message boards) where you interact with other people, many of whom you don’t know in real life (IRL). You can talk to friends, talk about your day, meet new people, and expand relationships. They are also places where you can introduce your ideas, services or products to new people. There are too many out there for me to include them all, but some sites that are examples of Social Media Networks are Twitter, MySpace, FaceBook, Linked-In and yes, Hybrid Mom!
Using Social Media to help promote your business (or even Mommy/Social Blog) is an excellent tool, and it’s FREE! Just as with blogging though, if you don’t actively use it, it won’t help you at all. You have to be an active member in the community and do more than just talk about your business. Consider it to be one big party at which you hope to network with peers to get your business known. You wouldn’t just walk up to a stranger and say “I sell Thingy McBoppers!”, would you? (If you do happen to sell “Thingy McBoppers”, I’d love to know what they are!) You’d mingle, you’d get to know people, you’d talk about their kids, your kids, their pets, your pets, the weather–you get the drift. When talk turned to work, you might then be able to mention that you sell Thingy McBoppers. If the conversation interested them, you’d jump into a further explanation of what you offer and could potentially walk away having found a new client or customer.
Here are examples from some of the social media sites I use:
Say what you want to say in 140 characters or less. A “Tweet” is your comment that you post on “Twitter”. An “RT”, or “ReTweet”, means you’re passing along information posted by someone else or are asking people to ReTweet your comment. Something with an @ in front of it means it’s intended for a certain recipient or in response to a certain recipient, i.e. “thanks for the info, @hybridmom!”. If you see a # sign (tag) before a word, it’s a popular subject and is used to help others talking about the same thing to find your post.
You can have a company identity on MySpace with followers and commentary. You can also announce new products, add your blog’s feed (updates on your latest posts) to your profile, and advertise. It’s a place where people who have connected with you can find out about upcoming events, promotions or sales.
Facebook allows you to keep up with all of your friends, relatives, “fans” and anyone else you meet along the way. Having a “Fan Page” on your FaceBook identity is a very good marketing idea for your website. It allows your “fans” (customers or clients) to keep up to date on all things pertaining to your business. If you do a “Page” on your site, I highly recommend you add the widget (widget link will take you to my blog where you can see the Face Book Fan Widget in the right column) that FaceBook offers onto your blog or website to encourage others to become your “fan”. Like MySpace you can also feed your blog posts into your daily feed with a third party tool (there are several to choose from).
You’re already here, so you may know all about Hybrid Mom. In case you’re new here, Hybrid Mom is a whole new world and community that is yours for participating in. It’s a world of helpful mom-preneurs, career moms, work-from-home moms and stay at home moms–all in all, it makes for excellent networking opportunities. There are resources and information to help you along your way and great friends to meet and with whom to share stories and experiences.
Don’t forget to be social when using Social Media! If you choose to only talk about your business, what you want to sell or promote or the cause you serve, people are not going to gain a “relationship” with you. Change up your content with a few off-topic items to inspire interest, or mention items that you’ve read on other sites / blogs. The more diverse and interesting your content, the more repeat readers you will gain. On my social media sites, I don’t only talk about my businesses–I’ve linked them to my personal pages and I’ll talk about my babies growing up to be big boys and how my husband is late for dinner! Social Media is first and foremost (my opinion here) about making connections but “friendly” connections. Would you want your friends to only call you when they need something? Think of social media the same way.
In addition to the many advantages that I already listed, if you read my article titled Know Your SEO then you may already realize that making an online presence using social media can help your search engine rankings! Guess what, all those pages that you put your company info and website link into create another reputable “link back”.
As you build a following on your Social Media sites, you will increase your brand recognition. People will become accustomed to seeing your name, and gain trust in it to be a reputable company that isn’t a flight-by-night, here today / gone tomorrow business. Plus, they can get to know the person behind the business which, aside from face-to-face communication, is a close as you can get to establishing that personal connection that many crave. The more you get yourself out there, the more likely people will be to remember you when it comes time to needing your “Thingy McBopper”.