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In: Social Media

The term social media reflects to the social networks that, you and your friends are most likely very familiar with. A social medium serves as a channel or venue of social expression and inter-connection. People are joining these networks for friendship, relationship, social networking, business, or entertainment. One joins it by creating an account, providing the required personal information / description, or company information. A member is represented as an account user through the personal profile, a social link, and other services. Members share their interests, activities, and interact with one another. Examples of these social networks are Facebook, Googable, YouTube, Badoo, Friendster, Twitter, Bebo, MySpace, Linkedln, and Multiply.

A few emerging sites with new features are foursquare, Google Buzz, Loopt, Blippy, and Groupon. Membership in these popular social media sites can provide a list of benefits. It is a venue for establishing friendships, relationships, building support networks, forming new business ideas, and business connections. According to Wikipedia, an estimated 200 social networking sites worldwide had been reported as of 2008.

Social networking sites have been evolving as another medium for internet business strategy. People post messages, photos, videos, and links for the purpose of distributing marketing messages. You can actually increase your sales by posting links to your main website in these social media networking sites. Aside from building personal friendship, or relationships, the other purposes of social media are:
• As venue for self-expression (blogs, forums)
• Socio-economic advocates for the common good
• Exchange of information / ideas among the members of the network,
• Real-time broadcasts for various purposes
• Educational communication tool between teachers and students
• Grassroots organizing for some sectors of society
• Career Development, Employment opportunities / internship
• Business networking for various purposes
• Global advertising
• Building brand image and brand networking
• Social media pages are now admissible as court evidence
• Other related purposes

You can expand your business quickly by creating user accounts in these various social sites and by inviting the members of your social networks to view the products or services in your website.

Trusting relationships can be developed through simple ways such as:
1) welcoming new friends,
2) communicating your positive values ​​in your activity updates;
3) sharing learning experiences,
4) posting helpful tips,
5) greeting friends on their birthdays and other significant occasions,
6) sending them personal messages,
7) writing positive, inspiring comments,
8) using bookmarks, setting up widgets, feeds, RSS; and by
9) optimizing your social media sites through the use of appropriate keywords and phrases.

You can engage your friends to comment by posting interesting, timely, helpful, or exciting news bits or comments. This is a way of proving that you're giving value to your friends / prospective customers. This is an effective way to build trusting and lasting relationships. Trust is the basic foundation of all relationships so when it is time to start selling, it is prudent to ask permission first.

Your business can gain online friends and customers through social networking. You can keep on adding friends or groups to grow your social network, establish relationships, build trust among your friends through friendly messages, notes, posts, and links. Gradually work your way towards your goal, which is, of course, your marketing goal. The key indicators of your success would be the
1) growth of your network,
2) the number of site visits,
4) comments, impressions,
5) leads, sales leads, and
6) revenue.

Whatever your reason for using these social media sites, the same etiquette prohibited in other social settings apply:

1. Do not use your personal account for your business. Create a separate business page or account.
2. Respect everyone. If you happen to know a friend's secret, keep it private. Do not carelessly broadcast it on his / her wall.
3. Quality over quantity. Build quality friendship. Choose your friends. Quality relationships usually last longer and are more reliable.
4. Do not push your product, service, or envelopes much too often. Once every 6 months would be enough. Remember that, except for a few new additions, you are dealing with almost the same set of friends / contacts every day. The more you persist, the more likely they will resist, until you get purged from their list.
5. Multiple posts in a single day could choke the HOME pages of those with over 3000 friends. This could prompt some members to hide or completely remove certain posts to free their display.
6. Review your posts before sharing / publishing them. Is it the truth? Or something of value, beneficial, fair, or just?
7. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. This is the golden rule in all social settings.

-Copyright 2011. Ma. Francia O. Bengco