Social media is a powerful way to spread a message through word-of-mouth via people you trust – friends, family, colleagues. (That’s the ‘social’ bit).

Social media uses web technology making publishing words, photos, videos and podcasts increasingly easy for non-tecchies. (That’s the ‘media’ bit).

Social media is cheap because there are no costs apart from your time.

Social media is exciting because it is interactive: you can have online conversations with your community/co-campaigners/customers.

This provides an immediate way to gage responses. Or do market research.

Changing the way we communicate

Print and (static) web talks AT people.

Now – with new technology – we can ALL join in the conversation, creating and responding to online messages through our online relationships.

We increasingly turn to the web for views we can trust.

Let’s face it. Word-of-mouth is the best recommendation anyone can get.

Web technology, now accessible to non-tecchies – amplifies word-of-mouth.

Messages can go viral, spreading far-and-wide faster.

We can create human connections through a variety of media including words, photos, podcasts and videos.

Getting to know you
To get the most out of the web, you need to ask what is it you want from it.

  • Who is your audience? Who are you trying to reach?
  • What are you want to say? What is your message?
  • Who is the best person to say it?
  • How will you know when you have achieved your objectives?

Please carry on refining your answers – they are vital to your online strategy.

And will help answer another crucial question:
What are the best online social media sites to use?

The power of Facebook
The web has a zillion sites but Facebook helps gather people in one place.

Facebook has over 450 millions users – equal to the population of Europe.

Facebook is useful, free and growing at a phenomenal rate.

Facebook also has exceptional technology to help spread a word-of-mouth message.

For instance, when you Post a message on a Wall, it can be seen by all your Friends in their News Feed.

(Please note I am using a Capital Letter for Facebook terms.)

Your first time? Sign-up with Facebook with an email address. Once you have received a confirmation email from Facebook, you can start creating your own Profile. A Profile is like a free mini-website to populate with words and pictures of your choosing.

Start now!  You have to start small, building from one friend to two to more. It can be a slow process. However, if you begin this process now, in two years time you will be ahead of the game.

Privacy: Use Facebook in a way that is comfortable for you. You could use a made-up name or any photo to illustrate your Profile page.

If you want to protect your personal Profile, there are ways to restrict searches or views of your Profile. For more on Privacy on Facebook: go to Account (top right) on your Profile and set your Privacy Settings.

Also see bottom right of your Profile page or click on this link
http://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php
Security tip: By all means give your birthday – but not the year.

Remember: you are free to Ignore any Request from someone who wants to be your Facebook Friend. You can delete a Friend at any time.

Conversely, feel free to ask to be Friends with other people’s Friends.

Create a Page for your campaign or product. Unlike a  Profile (which requires a Friend Request to be Confirmed) a visitor can join a Page immediately.

You do need a Profile to build a business Fan page and here’s why. But remember you do not need to reveal all on your Profile page.

Your Wall on your Page (or Profile) is your most important tool because when you post on the Wall, this Status can be seen by all your Fans (or Friends) in the News Feed.

You don’t have to get a newspaper editor’s attention – you can make your own news – what is important to you.

For instance, a charity might post on its Wall for all its Fans to see: “We are so excited to be finalist in the Best of the West awards.”

Have a look at your goals that might have emerged from the first part of the workshop for ideas for Wall posts.

A Page also allows you to post an Event, start a discussion on your Page and/or upload pictures or a video. Look on the menu options next to Wall.

Set up a Page by going to your Profile, choosing Applications, then Ads and Pages.

You and/or others can be a Page Admin. Ideally the Admin will post regularly on the Page, keeping it fresh.

Admins popping in regularly to the Page can delete any comments that are not relevant, or Spam. Check out how to stop cyber-bullying (not common in my experience).

Think of starting a Facebook Group as well as a Page. A Group can also be absolutely private.

How do you find your audiences on Facebook?
1) Friends

2) Search for Groups or Pages with similar interests and join in.

3) Twitter, LinkedIn and blogging

Which brings us to the two other main networking sites.

As well as Facebook, I strongly encourage you to join Twitter and LinkedIn

Like Facebook, these sites are popular and free

All they need is your engagement.

Twitter

Update your status in 140 characters, attract Followers and Follow others.

I started using Twitter as a public filing system – I was sharing the links that struck me as interesting. In time I have built up over 700 Followers, people I can send a Direct Message to anytime.

Shorten your long links with Bit.ly which also helps you analyse the responses. Click for 50 more Twitter ideas.

Great article from the Guardian‘s Alan Rusbridger about why Twitter matters to media organisations.

I also recommend this article from another journalist – tips and advice from what he has learnt in 2010.

LinkedIn

Business networking. Update your CV and keep in contact with colleagues (past, present and…future?). Click for 10 LinkedIn tips. Look out for tools that save you time – for instance my Twitter updates are automatically posted on LinkedIn.

Get yourself a free blog at WordPress.com

Why WordPress? It is one of the most popular and technically well-supported blogging tools on the Web. It is also non-corporate open source technology. It is also Google-friendly and automatically optimises your key words.

Blogging

Why blog? Because it helps you think and organise your ideas, and to communicate your passions and expertise.

For more information, do have a look at my blog tips at my Real Food Lover blog.

How do you build up a following for your blog?

  • Search for blogs of similar interests via Google or Technorati – then show your interest by leaving a comment. Hopefully other bloggers will return the compliment by visiting your blog
  • Advertise any new posts on your blog via your Facebook or Twitter account
  • Look for free techno-devices that do so, such as automatically linking WordPress with Facebook.

Dos and Dont’s of Social media

1. Do care about your reputation – comments could be on the Web for ever.

2. Do check your spelling. Use a spell-checker and/or put words you are unsure of into Google. The more you write, the better you will get. Aim to publish a sentence (and check spelling) online every day.

3. Do get experience by going online – each time you get online you are working on your technical online skills.

4. Don’t tell everyone everything. You might tell a friend one thing and your mother another. Choose what you want to show. Use private messages on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn – you don’t always have to be on show.

5. Do know when to stop: when to switch off the computer and when to be quiet.

6. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake. We all make them. Try to delete the comment if you can. If not, apologise.

7. Don’t network when you are feeling anti-social.

8. Do network to have fun.

9. Do remember we all need encouragement so be kind and respectful to others online. Your reputation is at stake.

10. Do create a good impression.

11. Do leave me a comment below to stay in touch (your email address will NOT be published).  Do visit my food blog to say hello (and tell me what you had for breakfast!) or connect with me on Facebook.

Your Social media trainer, signing off.

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