Have you ever found yourself at the dinner table with your family totally overwhelmed by conversations about social media? As you sit there nodding as if you understand, your children - who may not even be in their teens yet - chat back and forth about hashtags and likes and statuses. What does it all mean?
If you feel as though you are a social media laggard, the following will not only be beneficial to you and your business but also give you some tips on how to communicate with your children in a language they understand.
Often thought of as the first major social network, and certainly the most successful, Facebook is probably something you have become somewhat familiar with. We've reached the point that a kid's embarrassment no longer stops parents and adults from having a Facebook account. Whether or not the latter know how to use the site is another issue.
Facebook provides your business a "formal" online medium to connect with people who care about you and your services. These people like your page. Liking an account on Facebook is only slightly different from being friends with that person or entity. A like still allows you to post on an account's page as well as view their posted material on your timeline (your homepage).
Likes will also appear on statuses. A status allows you to reach your audience with updates, pictures, and links to other pages. A status for your business should be conducted in a tone representative of your identity. Providing links to your website or blog and enticing viewers to click them are where statuses become advantageous. Ideally, people will share your posts to allow you to reach new users. You can also communicate directly with specific individuals through a Facebook message.
When creating a Facebook account for a business, a handful of useful features are at your disposal. On a regular basis you can track your reach to determine how many people are seeing your content as well as the number of people talking about you online.
Twitter is seen by many as the new kid on the social media block. While this isn't necessarily the case based on how long Twitter has actually been around, it's benefits for companies have indeed recently been realized.
Twitter is unique from Facebook in that immediacy in communication is key and chaos is right around every corner. By this, we mean to say that tweets have the ability to rapidly and concisely get a message out to massive amounts of users. In turn, those receivers may then choose to respond or criticize within seconds, putting pressure on you to filter and intelligently respond.
Tweets are similar to statuses on Facebook however they are limited to 140 characters. Replies and mentions are types of tweets that give your Twitter account a sense of realness or so to speak. Replying to someone's opinions and thoughts show that they are being heard. Mentions are best used when getting the attention of important figures in your industry to try and get your name noticed as active and significant.
Retweets and favorites are ways to acknowledge that you like, agree with, or find another person's tweet significant. Retweeting simply posts another's content on your page for your followers to see. Favoriting a tweet saves the tweet in your 'favorites' section.
Where as any tweet can be favorited, account privacy plays a role in retweeting because a tweet can only be retweeted if the "retweetee" is a public account (say that five times fast). If you see RT before a tweet it means that that person is retweeting someone who is in most cases private. MT, meaning modified tweet, is used to get around the 140 character requirement when one wants to comment on a tweet while retweeting it.
Hashtags are keywords on Twitter. Denoted with #, basically anything can be hashtagged. A hashtag is clickable and will take you to an always-updating feed of tweets featuring the same hashtag. Common hashtags relate to current events and news topics as well as general terms like #summer. Hashtag words and phrases related to your business to be more searchable.
Last but not least, followers, the whole point of Twitter. Following an account on Twitter means you will be able to view its tweets on your home page. Private accounts must approve you before you can follow them. Your followers choose to follow you based on your presentation and content so it is important to be current and appealing to grow and maintain your Twitter following.
Here are some other social media terms you may want to know:
- Blog - You're reading one! The abbreviated form of web log, blogs allow for you to extensively show your expertise and personality by elaborating on industry news and common questions you receive from customers.
- Checking in - Made possible first by Foursquare, social media for mobile devices allows you to add a location to your status, tweet or picture to let people know where you are.
- Yelp - Yelp is a social media service that allows you rate a business online for other users to see. Commonly utilized by restaurants for consumers to provide easily accessible reviews.
We hope this was easier to follow than past conversations about social media. It is one thing to understand its characteristics but now is the time to implement these social media basics in your marketing efforts. Create visibility, encourage conversation, be social and maybe the next time you're at the dinner table you'll be leading the discussion on the latest trends.
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