Social Media for business is hot right now; similar to blogging was four years ago for companies. Companies are in a mad dash to hire workers deeming themselves “Social Media Experts,” with most new Social Media jobs going to Millennials who grew up online. Social Media has many benefits for companies including: branding, community building, reputation management, link building, transparency, as well as creating two-way conversations. The question is, does it make sense for everyone? I don’t believe so.
Not all Social Media make sense for every business. For example it’s somewhat difficult to build a community around LED flashlight lovers, or an army of devoted Pelican laptop case brand evangelists. However, if there were a higher level strategy created to bring people together who love camping, computers, or bird watching, and the community just happens to be sponsored by a retailer that sells flashlights or Swarovski Binoculars , therein lies an opportunity. No matter how hard anyone tries, with some companies you cannot fit a square peg into a round hole.
After four years on MySpace, five on Friendster, and four on Facebook, I have finally decided to branch out and experiment with some of these other new Social Media sites for myself and clients. Of all the ones I have tried, below are the chosen few which I feel offer some business value, if utilized correctly.
Five Social Media Sites that Make Sense
Twitter.com -- is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length. As of July 2008, over 2,200,000 accounts were registered.
Business value: Currently you can have direct access to high powered bloggers and those in media, since its novelty hasn't worn off. Some of these power Tweeters are so ingrained they are more likely to respond to the signal of a Twitter "direct message" or DM, than the noise of his or her email inbox.
YouTube.com -- Video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. YouTube was created in February 2005 by three former PayPal employees. The San Bruno-based service uses Adobe Flash technology to display a wide variety of user-generated video content, including movie clips, TV clips and music videos, as well as amateur content such as videoblogging and short original videos. In October 2006, Google bought YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock.
Business Value: Companies can receive powerful backlinks and faster SERP exposure (due to Universal Search) by uploading valuable "How To" or viral videos with strategic titles and tagging.
Squidoo.com -- Website designed to make it easy for anyone to set up a single page on a topic he or she knows or cares about. Advertising revenue is shared with these content creators, and some of it is given to charity. Squidoo was launched in October 2005 by Squidoo.com, LLC based in Irvington, New York; the site came out of beta testing in March 2006.
Business Value: Entrepreneurs can make money by creating content leveraging their high powered network for ad share dollars. The site also acts an an authoritative backink similar to Wikipedia, except this site is "do follow."
Facebook.com -- Social networking website launched on February 4, 2004. The free-access website is privately owned and operated by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profile to notify friends about themselves.
Business Value: Networking mostly.