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Written for Business Victoria’s Small Business Festival 2012.

More than likely, you have some idea of what Social Media for business is about, and you could well be active in one or more of the social media communities. How do you choose what platforms to be involved in for your business, and which do you choose to leave alone? You can’t possibly be part of all the social media communities that are out there!

I have actively participated in social media for my small business for nearly four years and have found for myself; that Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the three most powerful platforms. YouTube and Flikr are great to support these three platforms where you can share videos and photos of yourself during interviews, events or showcase your products and services. Together, the ‘big three’ serve differing purposes of creating an online presence, and developing and nurturing a business network.

Through my experience I have developed a philosophy for the big three social media platforms which must be used in a social manner for greatest rewards:

  • Twitter: for network building where connections can readily be made and searches based on industry, region, product, etc, can be completed;
  • Facebook: you can nurture the relationship once dialogue has occurred and get to know those you have connected with;
  • LinkedIn: to build your credibility and have recommendations displayed which you have gained from your clients or past colleagues.

I often get asked ‘How do you find time to be involved in social media?’ I respond with, “You find time!” I believe it is essential to put in the time early on to create an online presence and substantiate your branding, then later you may ease off. However in saying that, if you decide to tweet only once a day and post to Facebook once a week, you’re not going to have much impact on your audience. The key is to be “social”. This is what makes you memorable and the ‘like, know, trust’ element kicks in. Before you know it, you have a new client or customer!

Social media can bring some amazing opportunities and connections and extend the reach beyond ‘local’. This article is the result of the early social media connection I made with Business Victoria on Twitter. I highly recommend you give social media a go, or “relationship marketing” as I call it. There are some amazing business opportunities to tap into and get you and your business exposed – as I have!

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