Social media and social networking sites – the phrases themselves get many hearts a beatin’

Why do people rush to stay connected, voice opinions, “befriend” and “like”? It is because social media allows us to be legally voyeuristic when we log onto websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and other social networking sites. Not only that, but we can do it from the comfort of our homes and often our PJs.

As a personal tool, social media allows us to reconnect with friends, stay up on hobbies, or follow new interests. We can instantly interact with people, communities, and organizations. As a business tool, social networking sites can help brand our services, allowing us to reach out to potential customers and colleagues around the world.

If you find yourself wondering how to use social media, understand that not all social networking sites are equal. It is worth the time to investigate which works for you and better showcases your message.

Most businesses rely on websites and blogs. They add Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites to create traffic. You don’t have to be a social media “guru” to have online success. Just watch for the trends and be willing to experiment. Most importantly, be patient.

How to use Social Media

  1. Your “About Me” page is a personal introduction. Take time to think through how you want the world to view you, your message, goods, or services. Be transparent.
  2. Images and videos add interest to your site.
  3. Content and traffic are important concepts in social media. The content explains what you are about using written material, images, and video. High-quality content (posted on a regular basis) is what persuades the visitor to stay and subscribe. Traffic is the number of visits to your blog, site, or page which can turn your site into a popular (and often profitable) online pit stop.
  4. Optimize your “search-ability” – meaning optimize how people find you through the use of search engine rankings. Specific keyword phrases and links can help your site appear higher on a social media search page. (Beware of overdoing it. Vary your text by creating new keywords for every content entry.)
  5. Readers want resources of value. Mix in a little self-promotion with a bunch of useful and free information. If you’re short on time, re-purpose old content.
  6. Become friends with your competitors by interlinking. A well-established niche of other publishers or webmasters in your industry can become your best business partners in a “scratch my back/scratch your back” scenario. Interview each other and share insights.
  7. Express your true opinion and advice within your niche. Always be respectful, professional, and friendly. Understand that your tasteful input will attract your ideal visitors.
  8. Interact with your online community, even if comments are critical or negative. Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but be classy when you respond or disagree with visitors. Some sites have used kindness and honesty to turn bad publicity into a marketing genius. A disgruntled visitor could easily become a loyal follower if their concerns are handled with care.
  9. Understand that visitors are doing you a favor by taking the time to visit your site. If they begin following or subscribing to your newsletter, then you have received a high compliment. Return the favor by giving your viewers current, consistent, and clear content.
  10. Your online community is an ideal resource for brainstorming and gathering “crowdsourcing content.” Group surveys are fun to do, and your visitors will enjoy reading the results. (And who knows, you may just get another page of content from the great social media experiment.)

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