Basics of Social Media for Small Busiesses

Here’s a real basic tour of the wonderful and complicated world of social media.

What is social media?
Social media is any website or mobile phone function that allows you to share content and ideas with other people. Just think of it as a variety of methods for getting in touch with like minded people from all over the world.

What are the main social media sites?
The main (this is by no means a complete list) social media sites that you want to know about and possibly be active on include:

Your blog
Let me be really frank about this. Your blog is still your most important social media site. Some “experts” might disagree with this but it is your blog that forms the basis of all your other social media activities. More about this later.

Facebook – 845 million users
Facebook is not just personal profiles for sharing photos of your dinner with your uninterested friends. It is actually a hugely important way to get thousands of people interacting with your business online and offline. People can use GPS to “check in” at your business, share your Page with their friends and much more.

Twitter – 300 million users
If Facebook is for contacting friends, Twitter is for following people you wish you knew. It is a wonderful way to stay up to date with real-time news straight from the fingers of news reporters, celebrities, corporations and regular people. It is also extremely good for contacting other people in your industry.

Linkedin – 135 million users
This one is pretty much like an online resume. Not so important for small businesses unless you are scouting for some other work. It is, however, a huge force for people looking to network with others in a professional sense. Lawyers meeting lawyers, for example.

Youtube – 3 billion views per day
Yep, Youtube is social media. Its all about videos and providing quality content to people who are trying to learn more about what you do.
A great way to create viral buzz or increase customer loyalty.

Google+ – 62 million users
This is Google’s reply to fears that Facebook is taking over. Its all about integrating your online social media life with your search engine. You can add people to your circle of friends and then your search results change based on what those people recommend. You can now also have a business page.

All the rest
And then there are all the hundreds of others like Foursquare (location based check ins), Pinterest (collages and images), Flickr (photos), etc.