Social Media has transformed the way we live. However, with so many social media tools to chose from, whats the best method in using them?
The internet used to be a boring place. Content was led by small amounts of webmasters, and dial-up connection took an age for you to find what you were looking for. Broadband and web 2.0 changed everything. Not only did web visitors have the entire internet a heartbeat away, but suddenly they could create the content themselves! The world of social media had been born.
Firstly though, what is social media? Social media is a communication tool that allows website visitors to create, share, and engage. This might be with videos (such as YouTube or Vimeo), images (such as Flickr or Picasa) or communities of networks (such as Facebook or Twitter). The list of social media tools really is exhaustible:
So with so many social media tools, how do you know what’s best for you? Well firstly, who is your audience? If I aim to engage with mainstream – but maybe slightly less tech savvy – users, I’d use Facebook. For business professionals, LinkedIn. Twitter for techies and Flickr for positive amateur photographers. You get the picture right? Put simply, you use the tools which aim at your required audience.
So, you’ve found the required social media tools specific to you – what next? You might want to dive in – but hold back for a second. You might have all the energy to update a hundred different websites now, but will you still have it in six months time? Probably not. Instead, why not pick only your key social media websites now and run with them – you can also add extra’s if you find it manageable. This allows you to engage better with your audience, maximising your time and effort.
For example, I only use three social networks; Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (though I’ve been trying out Google Plus). Sure I’ve have Tumblr and Flickr accounts but, to be honest, I hardly use them. Updating these three social media websites is manageable. Facebook is for the majority of my friends, LinkedIn is to manage my professional contacts, and Twitter is to manage my more frequent updates, and also for my more tech savy friends. Each has a specific purpose and it is practical to manage.
So, what can you take away from this:
- Pick your social media tools carefully by looking at what your audience use already.
- Don’t overwhelm yourself by tackling too much too soon. You’re better of doing one thing well, than many things badly.
- Engagement, engagement, engagement. Content is certainly king, and the more engaging you do, the more content is available on social media sites, linking back at you.
As a final point, I just want to mention TweetDeck. This integrates with all my social media sites and is used as a centralised tool for updating each. It’s particularly useful for sharing different topics on different social media websites. Give it a shot.
Do you agree or disagree with my thoughts on social media – or maybe have something to add? I’d love to know. Feel free to contribute a comment below.