It’s that time of year. Everyone is taking a good look at their lives and imagining what they will put into action in the coming year. New Year’s resolutions are easy to dream up, but putting them in to play is where most fall short.
This year, as you evaluate your business, let me add two resolutions for your website and internet marketing plans.
- Resolution 1: Do something, anything at all with Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
- Resolution 2: Practice communicating using video. It’s what’s next, and you don’t want to be left behind.
Some skeptics may say, “I’m a business owner, not a kid with time to play around online with Facebook and webcams!”
Let me counter this way. Twenty years ago, if I came to you and demonstrated what we now call email and told you this new tool would rival the telephone as a key way to communicate in business, you might not believe me. If I went further and said you may even use your cellphone to answer emails the same way you answer phone calls, you might be even more skeptical.
But it’s now a daily (or sometimes hourly!) part of our lives, and business owners are more likely than not to use BlackBerrys, iPhones and other devices to field email.
I make this pitch with passion. We’ve had 15 years to perfect the art of written communication via email. Social Media and video are revolutionizing how businesses communicate with the world much faster than email did. Don’t be a late adopter to how the business world turns. Stay ahead of the curve by making these resolutions a key part of your business in 2010.
Let’s start by expanding on Resolution 1.
Like the printing press changed the world, like telephones, radio & TV changed the world, like the internet and websites changed the world, so, too, will social media. It’s time to participate and figure out for yourself how this is going to help your business.
It’s hard to explain social media in a way that the non-geek can easily understand. My advice: just start using it, make mistakes and watch others. It’s the ONLY way to learn.
Be engaged so that you are building a brand for business through Twitter and Facebook. Participate and listen to the conversations around your products and services. It’s time to take a look not only at what you are doing, but what your competitors or industry is doing in this space.
Start simple. Just start using it. It’s okay if you don’t have any goals or don’t know how to go about setting social media goals. What’s important is that you start using the tools and practicing. Clarity about how this is going to impact your business or organization will come with time.
The barrier to entry is low… now. Most of your competitors are not using social media in a way that’s making an impact in their businesses. The cost of experimentation is low, so that’s why it’s time to take advantage of this technology. What’s certain is that social media is changing the way customers find and evaluate businesses. Traditional media outlets such as radio, TV and print are softening. Social media is changing the way and the places that customers spend money. Make sure your business is present in these new channels because this is where your customers are headed.
How to get started: If you’re going to choose a social network to try out, I suggest you start with Twitter. It’s easily the most misunderstood of social networking tools and by far the most valuable. If you figure this one out, Facebook and LinkedIn will be easy.
1. Sign up for a Twitter account.
2. Do a search on Twitter for keywords or phrases that relate to your business, hobbies or geographic location. Do this once a week, or so (I say more, but start slow.) Click on the users that look interesting to you and click “Follow.” This means that those user’s posts (aka. Tweets) will appear on your twitter home page from now on.
3. Start talking. First, say something, anything once per week. Second, reply to someone, anyone about something they are talking about from your search in step 2.
That’s it. If you do that once per week for the next few months, you’ll begin to understand how this works. Yes – it takes time and work, but anything worth doing does.
Next time, Resolution 2: Practice communicating using video. It’s what’s next, and you don’t want to be left behind.