Sunday, October 16, 2011

Where is everyone? I'm enjoying some peace and quiet and dabbling at making some new stuff :)

Which Social Media Platform Fits Your Business?

Having an internet presence today is all about sharing. On a personal level, it's about staying in touch with people that have touched your life in the past, keeping up with the activities of your current circle and gathering new friends along the way. For online businesses, it's about transparency and trust. Forging new relationships with potential customers through a social setting, you can let them know ... who you are, what you do, where you operate, how you handle issues when they arise, and why folks should do business with you.

There are many opportunities to share things, like your knowledge, your personality and your products. The list of social media sites is long and diverse, (too lengthy to examine in one blog post), but I think we can all agree that for members, the top contenders are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Blogs. If you are not active in at least one of these sites, you should be! So the question of the day is this: Which Social Media Platform Fits Your Business?

At the risk of sounding corny, I am going to liken Twitter to a large cocktail party, at which you know very few people when you arrive. I've used this analogy before, so bear with me if you've heard it before! Now the theme of this party is that you have to talk in single sentences. (Think Twitter's 140 character count limit.) So as you stand in the middle of the room, you say this, "I like to fish!" Some guy in the right corner of the room hears you and runs over to say, "I like to fish for trout." Another guy in the left corner of the room hears the two of you and runs over to add, "The best trout fishing is on the West Branch of the Delaware River." Before you know it, you've got a whole group of fishing enthusiasts, all talking about trout!

On Twitter, attracting followers is as simple as using the right keyword(s). Conversations develop, and people follow links, merely because they are searching for that topic. So, in the example above, you could share your favorite fishing spots, talk about the lures that have yielded the best results for you, brag about your largest catch, and lead people to your supply of fishing supplies. All accomplished in 140 character tweets.

Facebook operates in a similar fashion, but without the restraints of a 140 character post. In my opinion, it is your Facebook profile that attracts people to you, whether it's a personal profile or a fan page profile. People look for people with similar interests and for businesses that offer the products and services they want and need.

You all have heard me preach before on the value of a Facebook Fan Page, so I'll just say this... take the time to make a fan page for your business. Your friends and family can all follow your fan page if they want to support your business, but your business clients don't necessarily need to know your gaming habits, your family activities, your political affiliation, or what you had for lunch. Think about it.

YouTube is a great way to become an actor, producer and director, all in one shot! The possibilities are endless, and while this site is certainly not the only way to share videos with clients, it is certainly the most popular. Humor is often used successfully, as evidenced by the amount of hilarious videos that go viral on the internet. Video is also a fabulous teaching tool, as well as an opportunity for commercial advertisement.

When you are blogging, you more closely resemble a newspaper columnist. Blog posts are articles. The only interaction you will receive is through your blog's comments, (which you should monitor and respond to).

Didn't we all have a favorite newspaper columnist years ago, when newspapers were still our prime source of newsworthy information? Perhaps you couldn't miss the daily advice touted by Ann Landers. Or perhaps you relished the opportunity to hear your favorite sports-writer wreak havoc on the local team. Maybe you just had to buy that paper to see the latest Blondie comic strip! Whatever the reason, people became loyal followers because they enjoyed reading a regularly timed column. Blogs are the same... you're appealing to readers.

The best part about blogs, from a business standpoint, is that they are ranked very high by the search engines! So in effect, your blog post about a particular product just may have better search results than your auction itself, for the same keywords.

So tell me, Which Social Media Platform Fits Your Business?
Which sites are you using, and which sites have been the most successful for you?

This post is aimed at sellers on any site, or even people managing their own websites.

While I use all of the above sites from time to time, I really enjoy blogging. I've had direct sales from blogging, too! I am so proud of the OLA Team Blog... and I'd really like to see more OLA members take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate with their peers at Interested? Send an omail to FleaPirates. We've got a great team standing by to help you get started.