While attending local Chamber of Commerce meetings here in North County San Diego (Carlsbad), we have come across several business owners who often ask us exactly what social media is and more specifically, what software or mechanisms do they need to use to build a social media presence.
We wanted to create a video that better explains social media at a “grass roots” level for the non technical person to understand. You could call it “Social Media for Dummies” if you want but it’s for all those folks that keenly aware of the social media buzz but know very little of the mechanics and software used to create and deliver social media. You have to crawl before you walk and walk before you can run. This video starts off at the crawl stage. The video is in two parts below.
Video Transcript (Part 1)
So what is social media? At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read, and share news, information and content.
Traditional media is one way. Using mediums like newspaper TV and traditional static webpages, communication flow from the organization to prospects and customers in one direction.
So what makes social media different? Social media is a fusion of sociology and technology. Transforming monologue one to many into dialogue many to many.
So social media allows for two-way conversations. Using mediums like Facebook, forums blogs and even Twitter. organizations can communicate back and forth with customers and prospects.
Social media craze: social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect in the online world to form business and personal relationships.
Recently in the news USA Today reports that Wells Fargo and Bank of America have begun to “tweet” using Twitter with their customers about everything from bank fees to product features. Discover Financial, American Express and Citigroup have launched Facebook or MySpace pages. Some banks even put marketing videos and YouTube.
1:50: Today’s most popular social media technologies
Let’s take a look at each one and depth. First, the blog.
What is a blog? A blog is a (contraction of the term weblog) is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.
The state look at a typical blog structure.
Remember, a blog is nothing more than a webpage. It generally has a title or purpose somewhere near the top. A logo perhaps, links to other websites, and traditionally, a blog has an archive list of articles. Clicking on the article will bring up a blog post in detail. In addition to the post itself, blogs typically provide a place where the user can type comments related to that post.
Probably the most popular blog engines right now are Blogger and WordPress. So here’s a sample style blog that we just looked at. In this example let’s pretend we’re using WordPress as our blog engine. This is simple style one. And with a few clicks of the button, you can change the background or position of the elements on the blog. Here’s yet another style. The blog software makes it easy for people to adjust the blog style and settings without actually programming.
Common reasons for blog. It’s a great way to document your success stories, you technical expertise, new developments, and communicate to your customers or subscribers. You can provide your own editorial articles (which is a popular use for blogging). And most blog software comes in comes complete with built-in visitor statistics.
To create a blog account, simply sign up with an entity that provide you with a blog such as WordPress, decide on the template format, provide some basic information, provide a few starting articles – the blog can be hosted directly with WordPress or can be downloaded and used on your own Web server. It takes approximately one to four hours to set up a blog.
4:18: Twitter: What is Twitter?
It is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users updates known as “Tweets”. “Tweets” are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them known as “followers”. Let’s take a look at an example Twitter page.
Here we have the CNN Twitter page. It consists of the username, a custom picture or logo, and then the updates below also known as tweets. They provide a place for you to put your website, a short bio, and it keeps track of statistics such as followers, who you’re following, followers, and updates. Here’s a button to find other people on Twitter and you can find by keywords that are related to the subject you are either an expert at or interested in.
Here’s another example Twitter page. You can put your own background here and here’s where you type your updates – simply type the update and click update and you’ll begin communicating on you Twitter page.
So common reasons for a Twitter account: It provides instant communication to followers between your blog postings. You can provide small tidbits of information on applicable subject matter, some brief announcements, it allows you to communicate to people you don’t know but have a common interest with. It helps drive traffic to your own internal site and/or blog. And you can ask questions to your followers as well as ask questions to the people you follow.
So to create a twitter account, so please sign up with a twitter.com, create a short file and upload a picture, start treating, and it takes approximately 15 minutes to set up.
Video Transcript (Part 2)
Facebook: What is Facebook?
Facebook is a website whereby you can create your own web “page”. Facebook pages are generally for individuals. Facebook “groups” are generally for organizations.
So let’s take a look at some Facebook attributes. You have a logo, a buyout, contact information, the fans, and other links down here. In this area you have the wall, which is a general bulletin board of things that you are posting and other information such as photos, you can put videos here, notes, and those tabs are customizable. Here is where you would type an update and share that update with your fans.
Another nice thing about to facebook group page is that it provides group statistics.
So common reasons for a facebook group account: provides an online group gathering place, Great way to announce upcoming events. You can bring prospects and customers together under one roof. Share thoughts, techniques, advice with the group And provide richer content such as pictures and videos. It also allows for status updates like Twitter. And another nice feature is the built in visitor statistics.
So to create a group they spoke account: you would sign up with facebook, submit the necessary info, pictures and video. It takes approximately 1-2 hours for the initial setup.
1:38: YouTube. What is YouTube?
YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. Users can set up their own “channel” for all their videos.
So let’s take a look at a typical YouTube channel page. You have of a channel title, channel stats, a connection area, and featured videos. Like the Facebook group account, the YouTube channel has something called “insight” which gives you statistics on the visitors that come watch your videos.
So common reasons for a YouTube channel: Video has preferential treatment with the search engines. YouTube is the most popular video website. It’s one of the easiest ways to distribute a video. The videos are hosted using Google’s bandwidth and scalability. Videos can be embedded on a website or linked to via a link. The video controls are automatically added to the video. And again, the built-in visitor statistics is a handy feature to have.
So to create a YouTube Channel: you sign up with YouTube.com. Upload videos and enter a description and tags for the video. Producing the actual video is harder than distributing it. Producing video does require extra equipment for video such as a digital camera. It takes approximately 1-2 hours to set up a video channel.
3:12: Forum. What is a Forum?
A form is a public meeting place for open discussion of various topics. Online, a forum may also be referred to as a bulletin board or discussion area.
Here we have an example forum. Generally it consists of a title, categories, subcategories, number of posts, and if I were to click here on this subcategory, I would be directed to a page with more details that would show me a page with topics.
So a forum is a great way to organize a block of information on a single page and organize it by category subcategory, and topic. Here you’ll see information on the last post and who created the post.
Common reasons for form. A forum is generally a question and answer format so it’s great for tech support. Many people often have the same question. So you can answer a question once and have many people view that same question without having to answer each one through e-mail. It’s a way for people to help each other rather than questions being handled by the forum provider. By having a forum, you essentially have 24-hour tech support.
So the creative forum, simply sign-up with a forum provider such a simplemachines.org, create your categories, subcategories and topics. Forums can be hosted on your own Web site or hosted by a third party. It takes approximately 2-4 hours to set them up.
4:50: Putting it all together.
If you want to get higher rankings in Google and create more surface area on the Internet, this is one way to do it.
Let’s say you have your website and you’ve created a blog and a forum. Now you create a new article. You post the article on your blog. Post any supporting videos for that blog on YouTube, and then announce the blog article through your Twitter and Facebook accounts. If you have a forum, and a question is answered that a blog article might address, you can create a link from the forum back to the blog article.
We hope that this video has helped you understand a little bit more about what social media is And some of the tools used in social media today.