I attended a conference recently where the speaker was raving about the many benefits of social media. One of the statements he made that struck me as really important was the sheer number of users currently turning to Facebook, blogs,Ttwitter, Flickr, YouTube and LinkedIn (among a few) for advice and information. While this is somewhat of a consumer model at the present time, all those consumers who are doing personal business on their SmartPhones and through social media will soon demand the same level of convenience in their professional lives.
As such, business owners and professional service providers need to be positioned to take advantage of all the new technology tools available today as well as being prepared for whatever the next decade may bring! Whether your firm is ready to embrace social media now or not, there are some rules of thumb that are worth sharing. Even though you may have heard these all before, please indulge me one more time and consider these for your 2012 new year's marketing resolutions list:
1. Have a plan. Know what your expectations are and use social media as a key resource in your marketing tool chest - much as any other tactic available to your firm
2. Integrate your traditional marketing and your social media initiatives
3. Connect your blog, website, Facebook and LinkedIn as well as your Twitter account to gain the most from their collective power
4. Don't self-promote using social media any more than you would using traditional methods. Consider these tools instead for sharig timely information, educating, influencing and connecting.
5. Use social media to help build your brand but don't put all your eggs in one basket
With 50% of the world population under 30 years old, social media's influence is only going to grow stronger. The question for your firm is not "Should you use social media?" but rather "How should you use social media." It is not an option any more and while it is still in its infancy stages for the corporate business-to-business world, your firm should be positioning now to be a leader in the area.