What can social media do for you?

communityThe buzz words today is “social media”. Everyone is aware of the hype, but what exactly can social media do for you? According to wikipedia.org Social media is primarily Internet, and mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information amongst humans. Hmmm, how can this be of benefit to me you might ask. Well think of it this way. Humans are generally social creatures, we tend to “hang out” with each other. We have been doing this long before the advent of the internet.

Our culture is one of socializing, and unless your people skills are completely inept. You are aware of what it takes to make friends and build relationships with people in real life. Social media is no different in that respect. However social media expands on this by allowing people, or groups of people to network with each other seamlessly and globally, in a fraction of the time it used to take you to pen a letter. You can either reach one person or millions.

Your social media platform can vary from a simple blog, to a hugely popular band’s profile on sites like myspace. The power of the internet makes it simple to get your message across. Just like in real life how effective you are at “socializing” in the social media space will ultimately determine how successful your media platform is.

Since rhetoric is an important part of interacting in the social media space. you really must watch what you say. The constrution of what you say, will either bring an interested crowd, or scare off the people you may want to connect with.

How can I use social media to my advantage?

This question is probably one of the most asked questions today. If you google that phrase you will get over 350,000 results. Quite possibly leaving your computer even more confused after reading 37 different explanations from so called experts. I won’t claim to be an expert on utilizing social media, that job is better left to the pros like Chris Brogan.

What I will point out is that in order to use social media effectively, you must first define what you are trying to accomplish. Who will be your audience ? If your job-hunting look to connect with recruiters on linkedin.com. If your passionate about tibet, write a blog.

Social media is not about me.

Joining 372 social networks with the purpose of blasting out your message to the masses will probably get you nowhere. Social media is about adding value to peoples lives, what can you do for them, and what can they do for you. If you listen and engage people in intelligent and stimulating ways. your social network will grow. People will pay more attention to what it is YOUR doing because you listen & contribute with them.

Before jumping into any social platform research what it is about. Who uses this technology? Social media giants like myspace and facebook, are highly personal sites. Myspace is mostly teens and people in their early twenties. Facebook is a bit of an older crowd, as well as TBD. Linkedin can be very rewarding for just about any stage in your career,whether you are established, or are just getting your feet wet.

Anyone in the workforce should be on linkedin. It is the newest way to get your online ‘resume’ in front of people. I recommend you build at least 100 people in your network, ask questions even if you know the best answer, get people to engage with you. Answer questions on which you have expertise. This type of activity will get peoples attention, after all if your engaging in social media, attention is exacly what you want.