In the last five years social media has exploded across the world. Billions of dollars have been made on the backs of social media’s power, and there is an almost dizzying array of social media from which to choose: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Fastpitch, blogging, and YouTube to name just a few.
It can be hard to know which are worth your time—and which are not—and harder still to figure out how you can profit from any investment of time or money in them. In this section, I will try to cut through the clutter and give you the case for each of the major social media.
There are three questions that everyone wants to know the answers to in regards to social media:
Why should I do it?
What should I say?
How often should I do it?
I’ll answer the three questions, but first, whether we are talking e-newsletters, blogging, Facebook, tweeting, or any social media, there are three keys you must remember.
The Three E’s of Social Media
Educate Your Customers. Your content must be of value and timely to your customers. If you are a florist, tell your readers what flowers they should be planting at this time of year. If you are a chef, tell your readers how to cook great food, pair wines, or invest in the right vintages. The more valuable your content, the more people will read it and pass it along to others, thus growing your list and your following.
Engage Your Customers. Be controversial, ask for opinions, tips, stories, pictures, feedback, and participation. Let your followers enter to win free prizes, discounts, and insider specials reserved only for them.
Entertain Your Customers. You MUST entertain your readers. If your communications do each of these three E’s, your readers will not mind that you have inserted a promotion or ad within the copy, just as they see in magazines. On the other hand, if all you do is bombard them with discount offers week after week without providing any of the above value, your lists and readership will shrink rapidly.
These three concepts are the mantras for social media. The basic idea is that you should communicate with customers and form a relationship with prospects and customers before trying to sell anything.
Educate, engage, and entertain your readers with your social media. Then, and only then, try to sell them something.