This is Social Media
Anyone in business can use social media to increase brand awareness, customer loyalty and sales. This is Social Media shows you how. You might already be social networking on Facebook, or even microblogging on Twitter. One thing's for sure though; you're too busy to muck about on these sites all day, not really knowing how to get any decent play out of them. You're looking for profitability, not gimmicks. Many organizations, large and small, are using social media and social networking to build robust communities of followers, stay ahead of the competition and increase profits. Are you missing a trick? This is the definitive guide to using the whole spectrum of social media in an efficient and measurable way in order to market your business. It covers Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ecademy, Flickr, YouTube, Bebo, MySpace, Blogs, Podcasts, Mobile and much, much more. Each site is assessed not as an end in itself but as means of delivering a business result. With simple, practical steps, real life examples and quick definitions to explain the jargon, you'll soon understand the world of social media and have access to a range of social networking tactics that will help you reach new customers and clients, as well as get your existing ones to do more business with you. Guy Clapperton is a columnist and regular contributor to the small business and digital sections of most of the national press, as well as a consultant and media trainer.
This is Social Media
INTRODUCTION: THE BACKDROP TO SOCIAL NETWORKING
If you want a book that's going to tell you to get into social media for the sake of it, put this one back on the shelf. It isn't for you. If you want to read a book eulogizing or even evangelizing a particular technology, forget it: this isn't it. My aim is to inform you what's out there in terms of social media and help you assess what it can do for your business, then how to integrate the idea into your work. The first step is always to think about your own customers and how they're going to interact with you ('interact' does sound like jargon but in this case it fits). Do they walk in and talk to you? Phone, email, write?
Don't get me wrong, I'm itching to tell you how other people have used social media to colossal advantage. I can certainly tell you how to sign up for the various flavours of network you can join, and by the time you've finished the third chapter you'll know which one's which. As we go to print, Facebook is the biggest and Twitter has the highest profile, mostly due to a load of celebrities getting involved on both sides of the Atlantic. YouTube is the one that lets you put videos up, as does Bebo, but that's primarily aimed at a younger audience. We'll go into more depth later on, when I'll tell you all about these networks, how they started up and indeed how their aims have changed over the years. And I can point you to ways of matching networks to your business needs. A lot of books make the assumption that you must sign up for these things, but frankly I don't accept that. When such networks are right they can work spectacularly. When they're not, they don't.
Another issue with writing a definitive guide to social media is that the landscape changes, and it changes really quickly. Twitter is currently flavour of the month so it crops up a lot in the preface. If I'd been writing three years ago I'd have been telling you about this odd new idea where you put up a really brief summary of exactly what you're doing at the moment – right now – and through which your friends and family can keep in touch. Nowhere was there any idea of two-way conversation, Twitter was a series of announcements and that was it. Fast forward to the present day and we find that users have taken over; they insisted on being able to write responses to what people were doing and the company accommodated them. So you can twitter (or tweet) to an audience who are known to you, but you're just as likely to hook up with a complete stranger (but someone with whom you share a lot in common professionally or in terms of interests) as with someone you already talk to regularly. It's become a huge worldwide conversation and there are even people who think it's a better search engine than Google (it's probably not, and we'll look at why this is later on). Likewise, if I'd been writing about Facebook initially I'd have been talking about something for graduates only. It's now for anyone who wants to sign up but, unlike Twitter, it tries to insist you connect with people you actually know. I mean really know, people you've met.
The networks themselves change in their relative importance over time as well. A few years ago we'd have been talking about FriendsReunited a lot more than we will be in this book (it's just been put up for sale by ITV, which bought it from its founders a few years back; who knows, in a future edition we may yet be talking about it as a major player again). It's only a guess, but by the time this book sees publication I'd be very surprised if some of the initial Twittermania hadn't subsided. The history of social media and who's up and who's down is a fascinating