If you are one of the budding entrepreneurs or an owner of a small business, you should consider how to communicate about your product and new service.
Social media is no different from work that requires an understanding of the appropriate tools for the job. You can’t plant a seed without soil, and you can’t pitch hay with a shovel.
Below are some of my suggestions for a set of social media tools.
Listening: Growing your Ears
In the online world, the tool for listening is called a newsreader or a news aggregator. This type of software allows you to understand the conversation going out on the web.
Google Reader, which is one of the easiest to use, has just recently shut down, but some marketing community has just recently recommended a list of feed readers as a replacement.
What should you listen to? The answer depends on how you intend to use the tool; however, if you are a part of a business or company space, here’s what to think:
- Ego search building.
Free tools like Technorati, SocialMention, Google Alerts, and TweetDeck will help socially monitor your brand. Use them to build a search on your company’s name, product names, key employees’ names, and so forth.
- Build the same for your competitors.
- Find niche blogs and community.
Find all the authority blogs and community that fit your industry and niche, and subscribe to them. This will help you get the trending topics on your niche easily.
- Find tangential categories.
This is simple. If you’re in software niche, subscribe to an art of marketing blog. If you’re in marketing and PR, subscribe to an economy blog.
Several advanced listening tools take the data you receive and will help you make a better sense of it.
Speaking: Developing your Voice
Blogs, video, podcasts, Twitter, and tons of tools exist for speaking. Some of you might already use some of these tools that you’re comfortable with and prefer.
Here are some ideas about how your voice can be heard further.
- Use Facebook and other social networks to point people toward your primary media by posting updates and news about your company. Find other people or businesses that share the same media and do outreach. Offer media that their audience might like as well.
- Reach people with your conversation by putting the URL of your media in your e-mail signature and business cards.
- Use FeedBurner to improve your RSS feed since it provides more features and enhancements than a built-in RSS feed.
- Create and integrate list building through e-mail. Create newsletter opt-ins and encourage your audience to subscribe. Reach them through e-mail and tell them your latest updates that will interest them. Aweber helps you create and send email newsletters easily.
- Make sure your website and all of the media you have is pointing back to you so that people know who you are, where you are, what are you up to, how to reach you, and what you are all about.
Rich Media: Starter Pack
Depending on what you use, whether it is PC or Mac, the price points difference between what you wish to have and the goal you have set. Below is a good starter pack that I recommend for making a video or audio podcasts for both PC and Mac.
- Audio. For both PC and Mac, you can use Audacity. It is a free, easy-to-use, and multilingual audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems. For Mac, GarageBand is great, and I’ve seen lots of people who used it. BlogTalkRadio is also a great solution that you can use without hardware.
- Video. You can use the plain iMovie for Mac and Windows Movie Maker on a PC. Final Cut Pro and Express versions are handy for filmmakers and those people who want to make a new model.
- Video Hosting. You have many choices in this category. There’s YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler, Wistia, and more. Make sure to read each platform’s terms of service to understand if they are a good choice for you.
- Live Video. Services like Ustream, YouNow, and Paltalk offer different opportunities and interesting experiences.
Community: The Social Platforms
In this list, I’ll just mention a few of the social media tools that we’re using and definitely, will not include every social network and media tools.
- Facebook. Most of the entrepreneurs and businesses use Facebook to attract new visitors, build awareness, get customer support, do advertising targeting, and more. A social utility that connects people, it allows members to keep up with friends, upload photos, and share links and videos.
- Twitter. Social networking and microblogging service that utilizes instant messaging, SMS, or a web interface. Not everyone might be there, but there are more people on Twitter than FriendFeed and Plurk.
- LinkedIn. This is a networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts, and business partners. It allows registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. The change in design and the status stream made it more interesting, and it is currently the top in social networking sites for business.
- Pinterest. This is an interesting online pinboard: a place where you can post collections of things you love and follow collections created by people with great taste. In case you need more, you might want to check Flickr, SmugMug, and Gentlemint, which are also great for photo sharing and we’re also using them.
- YouTube. YouTube is a way to get your videos to the people who matter to you. Upload, tag, and share your videos worldwide! We’re also sharing on Vimeo and Dailymotion.
The above social networking sites are just a few of what we’re interested in. Feel free to add more places and tools in the comments section below so that I can also consider them.
Certainly, there are many other networks with great communities for various interests and choose what’s best for you and your business.