During research for writing the The Social Media Bible, I investigated more than 200 social media companies and technologies. This is why most everyone is so overwhelmed by social media. There’s just too much of it. I suppose that’s why the most common question I get asked is; “Where do you start?”
There’s good news, you only need to know about three to get started and be successful. That’s all. So get out there, pick a couple, and try them. See, which ones will work for you and just narrow it down. Then when you get good with that, then just simply expand to the next, and to the next. But the key is not to get overwhelmed, because it’s really a wide landscape.
I want to give you a couple of take-a ways, some digital technology that you may or may not be aware of, that I use on a daily basis. Remember, social media is about socializing using media.
The first one is AOL-AIM… America-On-Line Instant Messaging. You could also use Skype–Oprah does! One of my companies designs and sells three-dimensional Internet advertising, and my two partners are based out of San Diego while I am in Phoenix. Every morning when I turn on my desktop it automatically logs into my AOL-AIM account. When my partner gets online it simply says he’s there. I can instantly type something… and he gets the message, he communicates back with me… and we have real-time text communication going back and forth, all day, as long as we want. And I can do this with 20 people, we can conference, and it’s absolutely free. Amazing! I don’t have to pick up the phone; I don’t have to make long-distance calls.
Maybe texting is a little cumbersome for you. If so, you just simply click a button and you can talk to your computer, assuming you have a built-in microphone. It’s just that easy, and in my case, instantly I am actually talking with my partners in San Diego, real time. It’s as if I’m on the telephone, all day. I have an open long-distance line; it’s called VOIP, voice-over-Internet-protocol (you don’t have to know that, just that it works). I’m just talking as if I’m in the same room. Kind of makes my wife nervous from time to time, when I’m all alone in my office and I’m talking to myself. But it’s really an effective way to communicate.
Now if you want, you can click the button again and if you have a built-in video camera you can now see the other person. We just did a conference call with somebody in Edinburgh, Scotland, exactly the same way. Absolutely free! Why would you make a long-distance phone call for the rest of your life when you can automatically text, speak or video, 100% free! How often have you read a marketing blog where somebody kept telling you that, “Everything that we are going to share with you is 100% free?”
That’s what’s so amazing about Social Media! Real time, live video conferencing just with the click of a button, anytime you want, absolutely free!
Another piece of technology I count on is Google Alerts! Go to Google and type “Google Alerts” or got to http://www.google.com/alerts. You do need to have a free Gmail account first. If you don’t have a Gmail account, please when you are finished reading this have someone counsel you on why Gmail is a good idea. It’s also free! But with a Google Alerts you can set up an alert by typing in any text you want, and anytime, anyplace in the world that the text is mentioned, you get an instant email notification.
Add your name, add your company name, add your products, add your services. Anytime anybody in the world creates a blog or a Webpage, you instantly get notified with an active link. People are going to talk about you and it’s not just your schizophrenia talking here. People are going to say things about you. They are going to say good things; they might say something that’s not so pleasant. Don’t you want to know what that is? Don’t you want to participate and be aware of those conversations that are taking place with and without you?
You can, just by setting free Google Alerts. I have one for “Lon Safko”, one for “The Social Media Bible”, another for “Innovative Thinking”. I have an Alert for all of my buzzwords. Anytime somebody writes about it, I go right to the blog, I introduce myself, I comment, and I begin to build a relationship because we have something in common, trusted networks! Networks build trust. Trust builds business.
Read more of Lon Safko’s Social Media Bible blog
Lon Safko is the co-author of The Social Media Bible: Tactics, Tools, and Strategies For Business Success. He is also an innovator and professional speaker with over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, strategic partnering, speaking, training, writing, and e-commerce. He is the founder of eight successful companies, including Paper Models, Inc.
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