19 Things I’ve Learned About Social Media

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20081204110858PM thumb 19 Things I’ve Learned About Social MediaSocial Media is interesting. One of the most interesting things about it is that, far from turning everything we know upside down it actually brings certain age-old business foundations into sharp clarity. You only find this out when actually using social media in your business – as opposed to simply talking about it.

I’ve taken a break from my beloved blogging the past couple of weeks to launch a new business project. And in launching this new project I’ve used the opportunity to test some of my social media marketing knowledge, theories and assumptions. It’s been an interesting and very exciting time (and particularly welcoming as, fearing becoming just another echo chamber, I was actually looking for topics other than social media to write about. For me at least, it’s true that early adopters also tend to tire of what they adopt far more quickly than the “come latelys” and that’s part blessing, part curse.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some of my own social media media networking and marketing insights as this blog post. They are insights in progress and are by no means exhaustive. They might be different for you. Hopefully it will give people food for thought as they consider their own social media plans, strategies and desired outcomes.

OK, here goes. I’ll try and keep to 19. And not all of this is new… but it is my perspective (which is of course subject to change just because it is mine).

1. Talking, even writing about social media is easy. Actually using it is less so. You really do need to begin with a plan.

2. It is rather unwise to ignore social media. The potential for positive business exposure is pretty big.

3. Face to face contact still trumps sitting behind a computer and “social networking.” You must get out there and “press the flesh.” People need to connect with you as a person.

4. The ABC of marketing is very much alive… find a need, an unserved, preferably hungry niche. Focus on it. Fill that hunger.

5. Test everything. Yes,even social media. If you don’t test and track you might as well be walking blindfold.

6. Blogging IS where it’s at. Though I built a great website which did and is still doing a great job, blogs still out pace it for seo (for a lot less work and expense). I at least need both.

7. As annoying as I find Facebook sometimes, as a small business I would not ignore Facebook. Find out how to harness Facebook Fan Pages for increased Fandom – sorry Brand exposure. Use Facebook ads – but again test, test test. Do stuff for your fans.

8. On Facebook your “friends” aren’t necessarily your market. You may need to cultivate a new market.

9. Copy is still King, Queen and everything in between! I am glad I am a copywriter. No social media campaign will replace lack-lustre copy. You either have to learn it or pay for it. Either works.

10. There are still no magic bullets. Not for online marketing. Not for social media. If you find one, do let me know. Meanwhile take a long term view.  And be persistent.

11. You must still follow up. You must give your customers a reason to keep doing business with you. You must up-sell and cross sell. That’s business 101.

12. Many smaller businesses are still not using social media as much as they could. They don’t see the value. Talk to me. I’ll give you tips.

13. Unless you’ve managed to replicate and/or clone yourself (or you don’t have to bring in business) you are going to have to outsource some aspects of your social media work to do it well. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. Says she who still writes all her own blog posts because she loves it. Guests bloggers anyone?

14. As Yanik Silver said, focus on the key value producing tasks. Outsource the rest. Don’t get caught up in minutiae and bullshit. If you do you will lose the will to live.

15. Build your opt-in list. Form a relationship.  No social media platform will replace a responsive list.

16. Link all your social media platforms. For example my Facebook Page tweets as well.

17. Share helpful tips. But don’t over-share because it’s overwhelming and frankly annoying.

18. Take a break from all the social media tools, platforms, noise et all… take time off, smell the roses. Life does go on.

19. Social Media is very powerful, but it’s still just a tool. You must have a message, a market and a focus (if you’re in business that is)

When it comes to social media there is no one size fits all. Some things will work, some won’t. Most things will take time and other resources. But if you look at everything, even the mistakes as an investment in your business you can’t lose.

Look for opportunities to listen, then take action. Most of all – keep learning and refining.

Written by Nicky Jameson

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I’m Nicky Jameson an urban photographer from London, England, who lives in Toronto. Welcome! My art reflects my love of architecture, historic landmarks, hidden urban gems and capturing the seemingly mundane from a different perspective. Enjoy – and please visit my online art galleries at Fine Art Website to purchase prints. Or engage with me on Google Plus Twitter or Facebook.

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  1. Social Media Optimization Company April 29, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    Great tips you got here! You really pointed the golden rules. Social media for me is the most cost effective way to market my business. Through it, I was able to spot-target my market and gain massive traffic. I was able to interact with real people and 0f course prospects.

  2. Josip April 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    Another great article Nicky!

    I would have to add that social media can strategically be used depending on your products and business. Meaning, different products and industries would find benefits with different social media’s as opposed to all using the same, for instance Facebook. Casting out true supporters, that might live on Digg, would be a mistake in order to get a big Facebook fan base.