Getting started with Social Media #1 Social Media Platforms and how to use them by Mike Phillips @imjustmike
The social media landscape is vast; there is a huge number of platforms that cater to very different users by meeting very different needs . The problem then comes with trying to decide on which platforms your brand should set up outposts , and what you can hope to get out of the different platforms. The first thing is to examine the different types of platform in terms of functionality. Broadly speaking social media platforms can be divided into six main types: blogs, micro-blogs, social networks, video sharing, image sharing and social bookmarks. THE PLATFORMS
Social networking sites offer services from other areas of social media, so whilst they are their own genre their feature sets overlap heavily with other tools. Large social networks such as Facebook include blogging, instant and internal messaging and discussion boards. Facebook is the largest social network reaching high levels of uptake across nearly all demographics. THE TYPES OF PLATFORM The most famous micro-blog is Twitter and as the name suggests offers a very streamlined blogging functionality, with a focus on brevity. Updates tend to be limited to a certain number of characters. Twitter adoption is highest in the 30+ group but has significant numbers of younger people tweeting regularly. Blogs are used primarily for keeping customers up to date with what the brand is doing. They can either be self hosted on the official site, or placed on a blogging network such as Blogger or Tumblr . The benefit of a blogging network is access to a pre-existing community, though this is at the sacrifice of a certain amount of control.
The biggest dedicated photo sharing site is Flickr ; whilst Facebook has much larger number of uploads it’s focus is more social networking. Image sharing sites can be used to encourage user participation , for example, sharing photos of a particular event or activity such as people using a product Social bookmarking sites allow users to collect links to sites and content which they find useful or entertaining. Whilst it can be difficult to create a specific bookmarking strategy, if good content is produced and optimised for sharing and bookmarking then it will happen organically. The biggest platforms are Digg, Reddit, Delicious and Stumble Upon THE TYPES OF PLATFORM Video sharing platforms will tend to be more of a branding and broadcast tool for brands, pushing out created content. However they can also be used to increase engagement by asking users to submit videos. The two biggest players are YouTube and Vimeo, with YouTube being the more mainstream
USING THE PLATFORMS Once you’ve got to grips with the different types of platform you can begin to understand how and why they are used by people and communities. Due to the nature of each platform, and the service it provides, each platform can be utilized by brands in different ways. In simple terms these uses break down into either traffic generation or social branding exercises.
Whilst the best way to ensure good traffic is to have good content, social tools can be used to increase traffic. Social media allows you to disseminate your message straight to users’ and through them to their networks. By tapping into these networked users the reach of your message is greatly increased beyond your initial users as it spreads through their networks from user to user via social media platforms. In this way not only is traffic increased but a new audience is exposed to your message and brand. USING THE PLATFORMS
USING THE PLATFORMS <ul><li>Branding is broken down into two parts –listening to what people are saying about your brand and building your brand . Social branding is about doing both these things through social tools. </li></ul><ul><li>Listening - Social Media is all about conversation. This is important to you when the conversation is about your brand. By monitoring various channels you can see what people are saying maintain a healthy reputation level. </li></ul><ul><li>Engaging - the next step is to enter the conversation, using the platforms to reply to consumers, and even to reach out with new conversations. With this two way conversation you can work with customers to build your brand </li></ul>
Certain tools are particularly good at generating traffic, whilst other are better at building and maintain your brand, and your reputation with users. Then there are the select few that allow you to do both. In particular, sites that work well for social branding but less so for traffic generation tend to be destinations in their own right. An example is that whilst a user may enjoy a video you put on YouTube, they are unlikely to go and visit your site because of it. That is not to suggest that the platforms can only be used in these ways, only that this is where you see the best results. NB: the diagram is not in any way to scale HOW TO USE THE DIFFERENT PLATFORMS by Mike Phillips @imjustmike 2009
THANKS FOR READING! Any Questions? Get in Touch! Mike Phillips [email_address] twitter.com/imjustmike uk.linkedin.com/in/imjustmike