Today, Google unveiled its Project Glass concept video – a two and a half minute short, shot entirely as point of view. For the first time, audiences were able to view the world as they would through Google tinted glasses – a fully integrated, hyper-social model.
If you haven’t yet seen the video, you can check it out here but really, where have you been all day? If you’d been wearing a shiny pair of Google specs, you can bet you would have been able to pick it up wherever you were immediately. And herein lies the issue – because it’s so hard to escape our technology rich, time poor lifestyles, is such increasing integration leading to a ‘survival of the most social’ business world?
For any business, social media is now officially a big deal. Customers expect to find you on any social networks they happen to be using – whatever they are – so you can be followed, liked, pinned, tagged and plus 1ed. From the surface, it’s a marketing dream, but the practical implications of trying to maintain a strong enough social presence over such a broad mix of networks is a nightmare.
But here’s the secret – you don’t have to be maintain a massive social media – you just have to be social in a way that works for you.
Here’s the down-low on the social networks that might make the biggest impact for you (and that customers might expect to find your business on):
Facebook – the classic, the biggest, and to many, the best. Creating a brand page will mean that you can be ‘liked’ and your updates will appear in newsfeeds alongside updates from family and friends. Users can name drop your brand, with a link to your page, to their networks effortlessly.
Twitter – having just celebrated its sixth birthday, Twitter is still the social network like no other. It’s micro statuses allow you to ‘tweet’ to followers, and it focuses on immediate interactions in a way that other networks simply can’t.
Pinterest – the hot newcomer. Pinterest has received rave reviews and users have flooded onto the site (technically still in Beta and invite-only), and works fantastically for those with image based products and content.
Google+ – the not-quite-as-hot newcomer. Google+ has been described as sitting in a really nice wine bar while all your friends are in the run-down local pub. Yes, the features are awesome, the interface is slick, and though it’s a little empty, those who are there are looking to connect. If that really wasn’t enough, the SEO benefits are extensive.
FourSquare – though other social networks have adopted the ‘check-in’ style updates that FS offers, it still remains the best at what it does. If you have a premises, an office, a restaurant, a store, a bar, anything people can visit, they will want to check in.
Instagram – now available on Android too, this is the former preserve of iPhone-users only. Again, for visual and creative businesses, it’s a must, allowing you to share your impromptu shots with the world, giving customers an intimate look at your organisation and creating a valuable social bond.
Linked In – okay, so it’s a lot more corporate, but depending upon your business, it can be a great way to network online. Building contacts and opening doors, this is more about widening your corporate network, but people will expect your business to be on it.
Regardless of social network, content is key to a strong presence. Creating content that everyone – your customers, potential customers, and even those who have no interest in your products or services (they might know someone who does) – wants to share will boost your social credibility. Of course, this is easier said than done, but think of ways to entertain and help others online. Share your expertise and knowledge, create that in-office sketch video you storyboarded because it made you smile, and run offers and giveaways online. If you’d like to learn more, there are a huge range of online resources and social media training courses available to help you develop an effective strategy.
My advice? Go with the social. It’s survival of the fittest, so master the art of scheduling updates across a broad spectrum of networks. Embrace the digital world and the potential interactions it offers your business, and stay social to survive.
After all, it’s not something we’ll be able to escape when we’re all wearing Google glasses.