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Social Media Pt. 2: The Business Side by Jayesh Mehta

In my last post, I took on Social Media as a whole and why they succeed and fail. Now I’m going to talk about how businesses can use the media. It is pretty simple, you have to be relevant on them, whatever your target market. If you want to get your name out there, with relatively little cost, without looking cheap, social media is your outlet. They may not get you as many impressions as a print ad, or TV ad, but they can cause massive word of mouth promotion. It can also reaffirm your brand’s image within the consumer’s thought process. Like search engine optimization, there is a lazy way, and an effective way. The lazy way was to buy key terms, so that you would show up within the first two or so pages in a search. The effective way was to create keyword relevance, and site relevance. Both can achieve the same results, but the former will cost you more in the long-term. With social media, you can buy ads, or followers, or you can create relevance of your brand. Via Facebook, you can create fan pages, and run some promotions, or give advice or information, to make the consumer feel exclusive or give them something to read and comment on. Or you could buy ads, to get “friends”, but after you have them, you need to create relevance. With Twitter, many buy “followers”, but this can backfire unless you have as many real followers, otherwise your tweets will fall on deaf ears. The typical users are more savvy than most give credit for. You can’t just tweet the same things. You need to “speak” with them. You need to follow some of the trending subjects, but also attempt to set a trend.

Businesses also need to know what stage the social media platforms are at. If you’re trying to sell to the tweens or under 22 crowd, Facebook is not going to be relevant to you. Twitter may be. This doesn’t mean you don’t promote via Facebook, but if you do, your market demographics need to be focused more on the over 30 to over 40 crowds. You will have some that are 16-29, but they aren’t using Facebook as much. They’re on Second Life, Twitter, etc. You need to know what your target market is before you start investing in any social media, and you must know who is on those social media.

As to how these social networks can stay relevant, they need to create a secondary social network when they see the older crowds coming in. They need to let their younger audience know about this other network, which should also have a different name. They need to implement some changes based on what the new tweens would find attractive. If Facebook had been smart, and focused on longevity, they would have tried to create something similar to Second Life (if they had tried to develop a Twitter at the time it came out, they would have already been behind). Most of these social networks rest on their laurels, or try to make minor changes to their existing products, never realizing that the product isn’t what needs changing, it’s the name. Social networks are built on fads. After so many years, people get tired of the name. Twitter is no more than Facebook with a couple of twists so that they aren’t copying. Facebook is no more than MySpace, with a few twists. The next social network will be no more than Twitter with a couple of twists. Complacency can kill any product, but in the social network world, it just kills faster.




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