Social Media is also about building relationships. In the same way that a round of golf combines business and pleasure, having a conversation on Twitter or Facebook provides opportunities to share fun and personal information and at the same building a foundation for future business relationships.
I recently did a 5 week course on Social Media for Journalists. This free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) had 5000 participants from all over the world. How did I find out about this course? A journalist that I follow on Twitter posted a link to the course on his timeline.
A key feature of the course was to interact with participants via online forums. Attending a conventional classroom, Instructor-led course would not have given me nearly the same level of interaction and knowledge about how Journalists around the world use Social Media. We could share and learn from each other.
The world has become a very small place. Not only can we chat to people on other continents, we can converse with the International Space Station - an amazing learning opportunity for students and adults.
Having access to Social Media has broadened my knowledge about all the different political parties who are participating in our next General Election. I am able to inspire debates with my friends and followers. It also helps me to make a considered choice about whom to vote for.
I have access to a wealth of information on the latest technology that I can share with my clients who are tiptoeing into the world of computers. Much of my time on Social Media is devoted to sharing useful articles and inspirational videos that hopefully enrich the lives of my friends and followers and connections.
Yes, it does require a lot of time and has to form part of my whole marketing strategy. This is why I use tools such as Hootsuite to automate part of the process.
“But how do you know that what you are doing pays dividends?” is yet another question I am frequently asked. As with any marketing campaign it is not an exact science. Deciding exactly which print advertisement, networking meeting, TV or radio ad, round of golf closed thedeal is difficult. Marketing has to be consistent and regular, you need to use a combination of platforms. It is usually the culmination of building a long term relationship.
However there are a number of tools that I use to analyse visits to my websites, the engagement and interactions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc that I generate. Using these I am able to tweak my strategy.