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Social Media 101 – Part 1

12 October 2009

The way we communicate, promote and brand our business has changed forever with the emergence of Social Media. The old rules are obsolete and now is the time to embrace the new media and take full advantage of the new communication age. In an increasingly competitive market, retailers need to stand out from the crowd and increase their profile online and offline.

Retailers have a great opportunity to connect with current customers and find new customers at a low cost without technical/programming skills.

Over the last few months I have fully immersed myself in Social Media, predominantly Facebook, Twitter & Blogging. The results have pleasantly surprised me! I knew that there was a strong online community but being a part of these conversations and building relationships has enriched my business and me personally.

I have received many queries and questions from retailers and thought this article was a great opportunity to at least introduce the concept, demystify the media and encourage innovative entrepreneurial retailers to get started (or seek help starting!). I have included theory and practical application to help you start creating your Social Media strategy.

Wikipedia defines Social Media as:

“Social media are media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Social media supports the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It supports the democratization of knowledge and information, transforming people from content consumers into content producers.”

The objective of a Social Media presence is to:
· establish your business as an authority in your field, be the ‘go-to’ store
· communicate with current customers
· reach out, find and connect with new customers who may be out of your local area (or country)
· create excitement about your brand
· increase your online profile and consumer awareness
· encourage regular contact with your market
· customise communications to suit different groups of customers

There is a lot to cover so I will break this article up over 4 posts…sit back, relax & enjoy…

Subsequent posts:
Social Media – Part 2.
Social Media – Part 3.

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