Just what are we supposed to do with Social Media?

They are starting to call this decade the Social Age.The mobile phone and its linkage to the internet has changed the way the current generation, (who have grown up with computers ) communicate. They get social media. The older generations don’t. Many of us are aware that we need to be part of this change but just what are we supposed to do?

Before we get into marketing or how to do anything on social media websites to promote a business, I believe we need to first look at what social media is to the younger generation and to attempt to understand and see it from their point of view.

The following video of Don Tapscott: Rethinking Civilization for the Social Age SXSW 2012 explains a far bigger picture than our trivial perspective of the term social media. In the bigger picture people are using the Internet to fix things. Social media isn’t a fad for them, it’s their way to read the news and be in touch with a virtual world that many older people are only just starting to discover.

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But the key revolution is certainly mobile access to the web via smartphones. This is what provides people with an ever-growing power: anytime, anywhere, taking pics, recording, talking, texting, posting is what makes open journalism such a disruptive development for the media industry. Facebook and Twitter are becoming, more and more, publishing platforms for news – not just text, but video, photos and entertainment content. This is definitely part of the digital turmoil that is shaking the media industry.                    Media In The Social Age

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface

Illustration of Facebook mobile interface (Wikipedia)

People’s opinions of Social Media vary from outright contempt to passionate adoption and all the shades in the middle.  Many of us who didn’t grow up with digital media struggle to do more than the basics on Facebook. While most young people are at ease with several Social media websites and many become experts. Of course some of both groups are both competent or clueless.

The Internet is changing our World. Social Media and mobile phones are changing the way we communicate. The Social age is right here and now.

So the reason business has trouble with social media profiles is because they aren’t used to the instant reactions and the comments and checking a site constantly. It seems pointless, it frightens them and it eats time.Social media is the community – not the individual or the page or the profile.

Instead of telling people about their business, perhaps they should be asking people things. Facebook has trained us to click like and share, and even to comment. All we need to do is build on that by asking people to do it. eg  Comment on this article if you like it!

In Florida USA, officials reached out to ask 600 teens from around the state their advice and input in addressing how to stop teens smoking. They brainstormed a new anti-smoking approach and organized SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco), set up chapters in every county around the state, and put together whistle-stop train tours and workshops, to take their message into local communities. In just 10 years, teen smoking in Florida dropped by 50 percent. The simple explanation is that Florida stopped lecturing kids and got them to participate in the solution by creating peer gravity.        Ask the Audience

Social Media Profiles in the Social Age

Most businesses however are now aware that they need to have a Social media presence. Maybe their first go at this won’t win any prizes but they know they have to be there if they are going to continue to compete.

In the first stage, 100% of your focus is about setting up accounts at and integrating content on the 6 Social Media Giants:

  • Facebook – best known, easy to use, great to look at, secure, functional, easy to integrate
  • Twitter – microblogging – news and status updates that can be easily fed to other websites
  • Google+ – The hub that Google offers for social media and local business
  • LinkedIn – The business networking social media site, work social in contrast to facebook
  • YouTube – For video media, have your own channel and save your favourites
  • Pinterest – For pictorial media, make pinboards of pictures you like and want to share
English: Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of the ...

Naveen Selvadurai, co-founder of the social networking site Foursquare, delivering a briefing on “How Companies and Small Business are Using Social Media and Mobile Platforms to Bolster Business”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While there are any number of other popular social networking sites, these 6 are considered to be the critically important ones and each has a specific focus as outlined above.

Creating a brand with the same images across these networks, that is instantly recognisable, is first. The next step is to grow your fanbase or community. You can go buy likes and follows and use specific strategies to increase these, but the important thing we tend to miss is our theme.

If we create a reason for the page, something that people can join in and genuinely like, then growth will happen naturally and virally. So before you start adding content see if you can think of a theme and if you cannot then perhaps you could try and do a little good by sponsoring a charity on your page. Send money to the koala sanctuaries, help out children from villages that need clean water, sponser local inventors.

People want to do good things, so align your brand with a good cause and help them to do good things. This is the best side of social media, not just being there to be there, but being part of the social age and using your web properties to do some good.

Once you do have content on your profiles then you can look into mash up sites like Tumblr and RebelMouse to show them off. I hope that this helps you to know better what to do with social media. It took me a long time to figure it out and I’m still working on it. If you need help, ask a teenager!

For an individual or a brand — because, let’s face it, brands are publishers, too — having the ability to produce content from one site is much easier than going to all of your sites and cross posting. RebelMouse’s aim is to make the process easier. Brands such as GE and Oakley are already using RebelMouse to present their multifaceted messages to the world. In Berry’s future, RebelMouse serves as a user’s — an individual’s or company’s — social front page.

Josh Sternberg 10.16.2012

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