Social Media refers to sites where visitors can interact with each other in one way or another. Also referred to Web 2.0 (a term I still haven’t seen fully embraced), Social Media is not a new product, in fact it’s been around longer than I’ve been on the web (and that has been since dinosaurs roamed the lands and AOL was the be all and end all of “you’ve got mail” connections.
I actually gained the foundation of the knowledge that has allowed me to make a business out of my love for technology from a guy that my Mom met in an “online forum”! She posted a question about something and this guy had a great answer – so she emailed him and thanked him. They started “chatting” via EMail and he introduced her to ICQ – this was pre-Instant Messaging from AOL.
So, social media is definetely not “new”. What is “new” is the attention it is getting from the search engines and the hype it is getting from the media – all of this is driving traffic to sites like FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and, oh, let’s not forget MySpace (although oddly enough I haven’t heard MySpace be mentioned in the media outside of cyber bullying in almost a year!).
What you may not know is “social media” also refers to things like Blogs, Forums and other online communities. When you are getting “hyped” about the importance of Facebook and other social marketing sites, keep in mind, Facebook wants you to be hyped because they want to sell ads to people that want to know everything about you (which you provide when you set up your profile). Facebook is not your “friend” it is a business designed to bring traffic in so that they can provide statistics to potential advertisers that say “Hey, I want to sell to 50 year old women – can you help?”.
Do I still think you need a Fan Page – absolutely – but don’t think that a FaceBook Fan page is going to give you long term success. View it as only one tool in your tool box. Especially keep in mind that if you are making money off of that fan page and Facebook isn’t getting their share of it – the program will change.
When I “sell” a client on an SEM (Search Engine Marketing) program I do the things listed in my post Steps to Search Engine Dominance – but you can do these things for yourself!