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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Mosaic of Social Media


Initially, social media may have been thought of as just a toy for the kids. A way to keep track of what friends are up to, to share snapshots of the grand kids, to write on walls and tweet, or whatever. In the early days was some sense of a potential for business, but plenty of confusion about what that meant in reality.

Time has passed and early adopters have shown that
social media is a powerful tool to get the business message out – to a potential audience of over a billion now (YES that is a B for billion) and up to 10 billion devices within this decade – on the desktop, on the laptop, on the tablet, on the smartphone.
Many organizations have entered this arena and use social media channels to provide information about services and products, extend their electronic personality, and have rich two-way communication with clients and other interested parties.
Other organizations are trying to map out a use plan which would be of value to them. Here's a snapshot of how I make use social media:
  • Facebook.com has a huge audience (more than 845 million) and a dual personality: family and friends pages, and business pages - people can 'like' a business page to show support. I find Facebook useful to alert readers of interesting business events and presentations where I am participating .
  • Twitter.com has 350 million users and accepts messages limited to 140 characters – business users can quickly share links with people they know, and the links can be found via search. I find Twitter useful to alert readers of interesting business events and presentation where I am participating.
  • LinkedIn.com has 150 million users and focus on business connections, topical discussions, jobs, and other business information for its members – most information in LinkedIn is not available via search because only members may access detailed LinkedIn information. I find LinkedIn to be useful for sharing professional information and offering thoughts in discussion forums.
  • Google Plus Pages have over 100 million users have created personal Google Plus pages which include an accessible Profile (can find full profile via search), invited contacts, a video conference feature, and a stream of posts and other public information about people and organizations the users designates. I find the Profile is useful to serve as my introduction to others and the information is searchable, and can easily share information with my contacts.
  • Google Plus Business Pages (over 50,000 created in its first 90 days) are similar to Personal Google Plus Pages, but designed for business entities. I find the Business Plus Page useful to highlight our business entities, blogs, and to keep in touch with key individuals professionally, and to have available a quick and easy video conferencing service for up to 10 locations.
Although not of the same flock, posting to a blog is another channel to share thoughts and stimulate discussion and comments on current topics. Posting a blog twice a week is an effective way to be first in line to share new knowledge that you have discovered, as well as continuing the learning from a meeting or presentation by initiating a discussion with a broader audience.
Just as a mosaic is a collection of parts which come together to create a work of art, use of social media is a mosaic of business tools to better communicate in a variety of ways to reach a broader audience then ever before, in a form that appeals to that reader. It takes a brief amount of time to set up each form of media, but it is easily updated for new content, and is agile enough to broadcast a business happening while it is fresh. As is often the case, breaking news shows up in social media first.
How do you use social media? Please share.
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