Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Social Media.....Hype or Money Maker?

Social Media….I’m guessing you’ve heard of it? If not, you wouldn’t be reading this post.

Today’s information explosion is growing exponentially, fueled by sites like Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, Digg, MySpace, YouTube, Flicker, and thousands more. Sure, we all enjoy using them, but are they really a way for businesses or individuals to capitalize on the growth and actually earn some income?

I’m going to spend a little time and give my take on the trends.

People typically begin slow in the social media world, usually by opening a Facebook account because one of their friends has told them it’s the trendy thing to do. Some people start with a Twitter account. It really doesn’t matter.

If you’re looking to get return on your investment (ROI) you need to start by building your social “Brand”. How do you accomplish this? You’ve already started by opening your personal gateway to the social environment by using Facebook and/or Twitter.

Next step is to gain followers or friends. How do you do that? It takes a bit of effort but everyone can do it…start “tweeting” on your Twitter account. You can either write your own comments or “re-tweet” someone else’s. You can also “tweet” an interesting article that you find. I think the best approach is a combination of the 3. Be creative. Add picture to your tweets, using free app’s like YFrog or Twitpic. Remember, people like to read interesting stuff and you’re competing with millions of others for their time. Get to know your audience.

Once you successfully accumulated a following, keep expanding it by adding other means of communication to your social toolbox by creating a personal or professional blog. The Huffington Post is today’s #1 rated blog (Technorati research http://tinyurl.com/yg5gxnv). The Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) has more than 800,000 followers on Twitter. While this may not be the biggest Twitter following (according to TwitterStats, that would be Lady Gaga with more than 8,400,000 followers http://tinyurl.com/ddjtdd ), it has led them to being the most viewed blog on the internet.

Now that you have your blog, begin posting it on Twitter and Facebook to gain even more exposure to your brand. The more exposure your brand gets, the easier it becomes to monetize it. Think of the Dunkin Donuts “Keep it Coolatta” social campaign…..

The campaign incented the public to snap pictures of themselves and post them on the Dunnkin Donut Fan Wall on Facebook to win prizes including air conditioners, Jet Blue vouchers, Flat screen TV’s and more.

The reaction was fantastic and generated more than 20,000 additional followers for Dunkin Brands.

There are lots of companies out there today who are looking for heavy traffic “brands” where they can place advertisements for their merchants’ products. By partnering with one of these firms, you can start monetizing your brands and get your ROI flowing. To find some of these companies, simply Google or Bing “digital advertising affiliate programs” and you’ll find dozens of them.

Do your research, pick one, and you’re on your way to increased ROI…….all through today’s information explosion of social media.

To learn more on how to use social media to grow your business, contact me at Dave@socialstrategy1.com or @davehanron on Twitter


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