Kathy Sipple: Social Media Tips For Business

Speak the Local Language

When I teach my social media classes, I tell students that each social networking site has different customs and expectations. Different types of conversations are going on in each place, depending on who is there and what they want to accomplish. I find metaphors helpful to explain…

LinkedIn is a little like an executive cocktail party. It’s pretty much all business all the time. People who are on this site are there for the most part to form business connections, period. And you better like blue, because that’s what your profile will look like. Don’t expect to find fancy “skins” that allow you to have a pink polka dot profile or some such thing. For those who want minimal “social” in their social media mix, this may be the site for you.

Facebook I liken to a backyard barbecue. Can you get business done at a backyard barbecue? Absolutely! Is it a good idea to begin passing out business cards within five minutes of your arrival? Probably not. You need to chit chat, enjoy the pace and when an opportunity presents itself, it’s fine to talk about what you do for a living. This may not be the venue for you if you are not patient with making polite talk with others and taking in interest in what’s going on in their lives–business or personal. A Facebook fan page (representing your business) is a possible compromise, though it still requires you to create a personal profile to achieve maximum functionality for your business page.

Twitter is one of my favorites. What does it remind me of? Maybe a hippie hash bash (not that I personally have any familiarity with this.) I’m just judging from period movies set in the 60’s–I’m thinking of the lyrics “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant…” by Arlo Guthrie. This song (and the movie seemingly is a circuitous route to…it’s hard to see where it’s going, but there is an underlying message.) Sadly, Twitter may be the most maligned and least understood of all the social media platforms. It’s a microblog and it can look like a lot of gibberish to the uninitiated that don’t know how to sift through the information to find what they want/need. Maybe the hash reference also comes to mind due to the use of “hashtags“…

Before plunging in on any network, you may want to do some observation first. You can also check the demographics on who is participating on a particular site by visiting Quantcast–see if the site’s population is a good fit for your target market.

I offer workshops that help business people learn how to utilize these tools. Check this site or contact me for details: 219-405-9482.


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[…] my last post, I addressed “speaking the language” appropriate to the social networking site you are on. While it’s true that you may […]

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