Nowadays, it seems like everywhere you turn someone is talking about social media. For those of us who weren't born in the last two decades, terms in this emerging field can certainly be confusing. What does it mean to "friend" someone? How many people am I really connected to? And perhaps most importantly, what is the point of all this? In summary, these new tools function as vital assets in the dynamic worlds of communication, advertising, and marketing, just to name a few. Still not convinced? Take some time to review the benefits of these services, specifically Facebook and LinkedIn.
Social media has benefits on both basic and advanced levels:
Basics: You can find and catch up with old friends and colleagues on Facebook, while LinkedIn allows you to connect with professionals in any industry and build your network. The real benefits of these programs, however, stretch far beyond those initial applications.
Advanced: Facebook and LinkedIn have recently become useful tools for online marketing and advertising. Ads pop up on just about every page on Facebook, and though some users find that they interfere with the service, the ads have created a whole new world of options for businesses and organizations wishing to promote their products.
Job hunting is another advanced benefit of these services. By connecting with others, job seekers are ultimately building their network, which can increase the chances of finding a job by "word-of-mouth." Of course, LinkedIn is the preferred service of the two for this task, as it is typically viewed as a more "professional" resource.
Finally, you can also use these tools to do research and competitive intelligence. Locating experts in a given field or industry is relatively simple with the amount of contact information you're given on the main pages of these sites. These sites also offer group pages, where you can ask for help, answer another individual's question, or simply network with your colleagues.
Now that you know just how useful Facebook and LinkedIn can really be, check out some background information on these social media tools!
ON SOCIAL MEDIA
To Get You Started
- Social Media in Plain English
- Social Media Revolution
- Social Media Revolution 2 (look at how much the stats have changed!)
- The Basics of Social Media Marketing
- Socialnomics - home of Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics: How social media transforms the way we live and do business. He argues that social media is "bigger than you think" - check out his impressive list of social media stats!
To Get You Started
- Social Networking in Plain English (from 2007, but the basic idea is on target!)
- How to Create a Facebook Business page
- Wikipedia - Facebook
- The Social Network - the making of Facebook
- The Facebook Help Center - covering topics from creating an account to business solutions
To Get You Started
- Wikipedia - LinkedIn
- LinkedIn - FAQ's
- The LinkedIn Learning Center -an overview of the products and services
Getting started on Facebook/LinkedIn
Deciding what social media site to start on is definitely a personal choice. Facebook is more well-known in the mainstream, and it is gaining acceptability amongst small business and organizations. LinkedIn remains one of the premiere services for professionals looking to build their networks and connect with others. Both services are free, though LinkedIn offers an advanced business account for those individuals looking to gain additional information.
Joining either Facebook or LinkedIn requires answering a few simple questions and often confirming your email address.
- Go to either Facebook or LinkedIn
- You can create an account on the homepage of either site
- Building your profile or organization's page takes time. Learn how to make the most use of your Facebook page and optimize your personal brand
- If you're using LinkedIn, read about how to make the service work for you
- Look around! There is a lot of great information out there, and the best way to learn is through practice!
Now that you've had a chance to sign up for a social media site of your choosing and play around with it, think about how these services benefit individuals on both a personal and professional level.
- Personally, can you see using this service to keep up with friends, family, and colleagues? What kind of advice would you give a new user?
- Professionally, would you adopt this service in your marketing or advertising plan? How could this service benefit your business or organization and generate interest in your field?
Believe it or not, there are hundreds of social media sites, often designated for a specialty group of users. Check out the list Wikipedia offers!
Do you feel the need to sign up for more? Look through the list and sign up for another site, and determine how that differs from what you've learned from these services!
Because it continues with the social media theme, Twitter is similar to Facebook and LinkedIn. However, there is one glaring difference: this "microblogging" status-service allows the user to only post updates of 140 characters or less. These status updates, known affectionately as "tweets," force the user to demonstrate excellent command of their language of choice, because of course, Twitter is international!
Much like having friends on Facebook or connections on LinkedIn, Twitter is made up of "followers," who subscribe to your profile and receive your updates. Like many other social media services, updates can be posted via computer or mobile device. Sound like fun? Check out all the benefits Twitter has to offer!
Sure, Twitter allows you to update your followers on all your activities of daily living. However, much like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter can be used for business purposes. Check out these 50 ideas for business via Twitter!
To Get You Started
- Wikipedia - Twitter
- The Twitter Help Center
- Building Twitter Links -a discussion of the benefits of Twitter
Set up your Twitter page!
- Go to Twitter and sign up. Remember, it's free!
- Customize your site with these useful tips and tricks.
- Find your friends and colleagues, and "follow" their tweets!
- What do you think of this Thing they call Twitter? Will you keep up micro-blogging?
- Some individuals have dubbed Twitter "the World's water cooler." Do you think this service has attained that ground, or has the potential to become it?
Take some time to think about all of the social media services you've learned during this week. Which one do you find most useful for personal use? Which one would you use on a professional level?
Do you find that social media is the new communication form of the future, or is it just a big technological hype? Post a blog about it for your colleagues to view and discuss your thoughts!