Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Don't be afraid of social media

I just participated in a helpful webinar from HubSpot and Shift Communications that focuses on PR for inbound marketing .

Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that focuses on being found by customers. Being found by the customer nowadays means getting picked up by search engines like Bing and Google. You want to be in the top results listed. Since the media landscape has changed from a top-down approach to real interaction and engagement with an audience, social media creates opportunities for PR pros and marketers like never before.

New media uses tools like blogs, micro-blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, videos, and social networking sites to increase awareness to a product or service.

With more people joining the social media community, it's the perfect time to explore ways to implement social media into your marketing efforts.

The webinar used a great analogy: Think of social media as a neighborhood potluck. Who doesn't love a potluck, the real question is, what kind of neighbor do you want to be? So, even if you want to use a Twitter profile, create a blog, or just read the Huffington Post.com, what will you bring to the table?

You could be:

~The Wallflower who just listens and observes. While this is important for research, without participating in the online discussion how can you expect to get involved with your prospective clients or target audience. You may end up seeming to be scared and insecure. You have to get in there, meet new people, and build meaningful relationships.

~The Blowhard who does no research, participate in social media with no real purpose and has no regard for a target audience. Realizing your personal brand will help eliminate confusion with a more direct focus on a message you want to convey. Even on Facebook, I have friends that I have profiled for advice, a good laugh, inspiration, or just to discuss the day's news stories. How did I come to profile my Facebook friends- many of whom I've never met? Through active conversations, comments, sharing links and other news. If you don't know who you are, how will anyone else?

~One of the gang. This is someone who has done the research, understands their target audience, and is ready to offer insight and advice.

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