What’s So New About Social Media?

In 1995, when the World Wide Web was in its infancy and most businesses didn’t see the value of having a website, let alone understand what a website was, I decided to apply what I knew about traditional marketing communications and design to the web.

I taught myself how to structure, design, write, optimize a site for search engines, and to promote a site once launched. At that time, there were no courses, diplomas or degrees in website design, nor did I have any real technical knowledge or skills.

I Was A Grrl
How did I get the skills and knowledge to accomplish this? By connecting to others through list serves, online forums and networking groups like Webgrrls. I asked questions of those with the knowledge and read through their websites. If I had something to contribute to these online conversations, I in turn volunteered what I knew.

Next, I decided to make a business from what I’d learned. So, once again, I joined various online networking forums, lists and groups, where my target market were likely to hang out. I participated in discussions, and offered advice and know-how where I could. In time, I made many connections, and even friends, some of whom I’m still in touch with today. They in turn referred business to me or became clients.

It’s Always Been About Connecting to People
My point? Social networking on the internet is not new. It’s been around almost since the Internet’s inception. The tools used, like Facebook, YouTube and blogs have changed, but the social networking aspect of the web has always been about building and nurturing relationships, learning from others and sharing your knowledge.

What do you think? Is Social Media new? Please share your own musings by commenting.

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Facebook or Linkedin: Which one is right for your business?

Linkedin

Linkedin is a professional networking social site. It allows job searchers, independent contractors and other vendors to post information about themselves and/or their companies.

Linkedin Benefits

Connect with other professionals: Exposure to 60 million professionals, including all Fortune 500 companies

Build your brand: By including recommendations in your profile and answering questions, you are able to build credibility and promote your expertise

Research potential employers, prospects and competition: You can find and conduct research into potential clients, partners and service providers

Facebook

As of  March 17, 2010, Facebook is the most visited website, by North Americans, eclipsing  even Google, now in second place. With more than 400 million active users of various demographics, from all walks of life, Facebook provides an effective social networking medium to add to your marketing mix. From a marketing perspective, Facebook is most effective at reaching consumers and households, versus businesses.

Facebook Benefits

Creates opportunities for branding – you have the ability to build relationships with existing and potential customers. You can place your logo, photos, videos and other visual branding elements within your Fan Page site, or even create a custom fan page to further enhance your branding efforts. The “voice” that you’ve created for your brand can be carried through in the style of writing for status updates, notes, blogs and other resources.

Customer Engagement: using contests, promotions, Facebook apps, posting helpful information and encouraging feedback, you will build relationships with your customer fans

Lead generation: by encouraging people to contact you, you have great potential to generate many qualified leads.

You can visit a couple of  Pages I’ve setup and maintain here:

If you’re looking to enhance your personal or company brand with professionals, then Linkedin is the place to be. If you wish to connect with individual consumers, then Facebook would be your best option.