Should we build Social Media into your new site?

I’ve recently learned that when it comes to using Internet Social Media, resistance is indeed futile. You just can’t get away from it, it seems… and I’m not sure that we should even try anymore. After getting involved with using Twitter for the past couple of weeks, I’m shocked at the invaluable resource it’s turned out to be.

Yes, it can be overwhelming, but once you’ve collected the right tools it’s something you may be surprised to find yourself relying on more than email. Check out the video below just to get an idea about the volume of usage that Social Media is attracting.

I recently started a Twitter account for myself, and a retail client. I manage different accounts using HootSuite, a site that enables you to access and manage multiple Twitter accounts through your web browser. I’m able to group the people I follow into their own panels to make it easier for me to grab the “news” I want more effectively, and through the use of filters I’m able to search out mentions of whatever I may be interested in. These things are essential, and some are not possible through the Twitter.com site you create your account on.

Instant Gratification

Just a few days ago, when I couldn’t understand why my laptop wasn’t updating, and I couldn’t access my Gmail… I found the answer on Twitter. It only took a quick scan of my Twitter homepage to see that people were talking about Gmail servers having gone down. Another quick scan revealed that the Dell sites had gone down too. Within seconds I had the news I needed, with little to no effort on my part.

If you’re having a hard time deciding if Social Media is something you should get involved in, I’m including some interesting articles for your consideration below. In the meantime, just ask yourself this: If one of the 14 million visitors to Twitter.com in the US alone (Nielsen Online, March ’08) searches for your product or service… will they find you? What are people saying about you or your business on Twitter? Perhaps it’s time you found out.

The New Age of Communications

I can see social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn eventually replacing some of the ways we communicate now. Personally, I’ve decided that I’d rather follow someone on Twitter than add their RSS feed to my reader. Call it a result of growing up in the “instant gratification” generation. It’s fast, it’s what’s happening right NOW… and it’s gone and out of my way just as quickly. It’s less work for me. It saves me time, and I don’t stress out over the amount of unread RSS feeds in my Google Reader.

To tweet or not...Email? Why, when we can send a Tweet that we know will go directly in front of our audience? Direct mailing campaigns will soon be a thing of the past. PR agent? No need, I can handle my own PR in a live stream. Monitoring the chatter about your company gives you new insight into public perception. Customer service? Why rely on emails that have to fight through spam filters when your customers can get your attention immediately? Not to mention the credibility you can build for yourself and your business by communicating with your targeted audience live.

Be the company that grabs (and holds) their attention

In today’s economy, customer retention is so very important. Being an active participant in social media sends the message to your client base that you’re interested in keeping the lines of communication open. How many people have you stopped doing business with simply because they weren’t listening to you, or they were difficult to contact? Why not be the person in your field of expertise that your target market goes to for help?

“Word of mouth” advertising has never been as powerful as it is on Twitter right now. Recommendations in the form of a RT (re-tweet: when someone forwards your message to their entire followers list) can spread your brand, and your profile all over the world (quite literally). Why would you want to put yourself at a disadvantage by not using what social media has to offer you?

Twitter articles of interest:

*Twitter bird by Mirkku

Comments

  1. says

    I use HootSuite as well and absolutely love it. It’s perfect for me since I have several Twitter accounts and they are all for very different things. Silly me hadn’t considered making a column to pull out a select group of people so I could have their updates more readily available! Thanks for the tip on that one!

    I prefer Twitter over RSS feeds because the power of 140 characters is astounding. It only takes that little space to get big information out. I know what’s going on. What happened. I get it NOW and in a personal fashion! It’s much better than having to read a full web page and realize that there was no information I cared about – thus wasting everyone’s time.

  2. says

    Yes, thanks for reminding me, Kimi… In my effort to keep the article a digestible length, I sometimes forget little details like HOW I group people using HootSuite! I have one group named “IMVU” that collects all the tweets of my IMVU friends, and one named “Design” that captures all the web design contacts that I follow.

    I usually run one panel as search results for a term I’ve chosen for that particular day. If I’m working on SEO for a site I manage, perhaps my search panel will be set to capture all Tweets containing the term “SEO”, for example.

    As far as monitoring the chatter for search terms in your niche? Well, that’s just priceless. Marketing research is going through a metamorphosis right along with the growth of social media. But… that’s another article topic all together. ;)

  3. says

    I liked your nice article, neat focused summary like a powerful tweet.

    I came here from a pingback to my Mashable article about twitter tools. Glad you found it useful.

    Best,
    Sudha

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