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Social Media 101 – How to Get Started in Social Media

on 05 May  Posted by Admin  Category: Internet Related  
by Karl Hourigan

Does your com­pany have a social media strat­egy? If not, don’t panic. I’m going to give you a primer on craft­ing your very own social media strat­egy. I promise it’s not that hard to get started. The hard stuff comes later, but don’t worry about that right now.

What do we mean by “social media”?

To get started, let’s quickly think about a def­i­n­i­tion for social media. You can look up ‘social media’ online and get lots of def­i­n­i­tions, but to keep it sim­ple, when we’re talk­ing about social media let’s think of it as a tech­nol­ogy plat­form for shar­ing ideas and opin­ions with a group of peo­ple. That group can be large or small, or if you pre­fer, think “com­mu­nity” or “tribe”. By this def­i­n­i­tion, email might be con­sid­ered as social media, but it’s usu­ally not included because it’s not a good plat­form for engag­ing lots of peo­ple in co-creating con­tent over any extended period of time. Group emails might be use­ful for an hour or a day, on a sin­gle issue, but really if you have a large group all being cc’d on every remark going back and forth on an email string, it gets tire­some pretty quickly.

Some exam­ples of pop­u­lar social media net­works today include Face­book, LinkedIn, and Twit­ter. There are many, many more, of course, but just because they exist doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean you need to be there. If your com­pany is adver­tis­ing on a social net­work like LinkedIn or Face­book, that alone does not mean you’ve got a social media strat­egy going on, because our def­i­n­i­tion of social media includes “shar­ing”. Ads – those bill­boards on the infor­ma­tion high­way – aren’t about shar­ing because they are not a con­ver­sa­tion, they’re a monologue.

Before you post, P.O.S.T.T.

POSTT is an acronym for:

(who) – what social activ­i­ties are your cus­tomers par­tic­i­pat­ing in?

Objec­tive (why)
– apart from being able to say, yes, we have a social media strat­egy, what do you want to accom­plish with your social media strat­egy? Even if you’re still uncer­tain about how you might use social media, you need to have some idea of what results you’re hop­ing to see. You can adjust them later as you get more experience.

Strat­egy (when)
– how will social media change your rela­tion­ships with your cus­tomers, and what will you need to do to pre­pare for that?

Tech­nol­ogy (where) – once you’ve decided who you want to share with and what busi­ness objec­tive you want to achieve, you have to iden­tify the social net­works that your cus­tomers flock to. Are they Tweet­ers, Face­book fans, LinkedIn users, or…?

Tac­tics (how)
– As you imple­ment your spe­cific tac­tics, be pre­pared to learn, and refine or change your tac­tics. Social media is still very new and evolv­ing rapidly, so what works for you today may not be so suc­cess­ful tomor­row. That’s ok, just pay attention.

Where is Everybody?

Once you’ve got an idea of who, why, when, where, and how, you’re ready to step up and go find the peo­ple you want to be in touch with. Where do your cus­tomers hang out and what do they do there? Kaila Col­bin expressed it well when she sug­gested we need to “find the kitchen”. At a party, you know how peo­ple tend to hang out in the kitchen? If you’re all alone in the liv­ing room, you’re going to miss the party. It’s the same thing with social media; you need to be where your cus­tomers are.

How can you find out where your cus­tomers are online? In B2B, take a look at LinkedIn and pay atten­tion to groups that are rel­e­vant to your indus­try. Most indus­tries have sev­eral dif­fer­ent groups you can join. For a quick intro­duc­tion, take a look at the LinkedIn video intro­duc­tion to groups. You can also try a search at to look for terms in your indus­try and see what peo­ple are talk­ing about.

Those are just a cou­ple of exam­ples, and once you get there, the next step is to lis­ten and learn. That’s right, once you find “your peo­ple”, don’t just start blast­ing mes­sages at them. That’s the online equiv­a­lent of some­one you’ve never met walk­ing up to you at a party and launch­ing into a mono­logue all about them­selves. The cor­rect approach is to lis­ten, fol­low the con­ver­sa­tion, and then par­tic­i­pate when you have some­thing of value to add to the group.

No Money Down

You can get started with­out invest­ing any cash up front, but be pre­pared to invest some time. There is a lot to learn, and every­one else is try­ing to fig­ure out the best way to take advan­tage of social media too, so now is as good a time as any to jump in.

If you start small you won’t be overwhelmed. If you have any ques­tions or com­ments about your company’s social media strat­egy – or lack thereof – take a small step now and use the com­ment box below to ask a ques­tion or share your ideas. We’re listening!

Biography / Resume : Karl joined Mediative’s service delivery team in 2008. A year later, he moved to the company’s research department where he conducted online surveys, eye-tracking studies, one-on-one interviews and usability testing. Most recently, he transitioned to the marketing department. Before Mediative, Karl worked in sales and marketing. In 1997, he caught the digital bug and became the original “webmaster” for Roland Canada Music. Around the same time, he began teaching the relatively new topic of Internet marketing to college and university students. Karl’s insatiable curiosity and drive to get to the core and substance of every situation has served him well in his various roles at Mediative.

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