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What is this social media thing and why should I care? You should care because it is changing the way the world works. When Twitter can topple a government, you should pay attention to it. When social media changes the way Ford Motor Corp sells cars you should pay attention.

Social Media is not just one thing, it has several components today, and tomorrow there will be more. It is evolving, morphing and changing the way many of us do business, and it is a powerful tool.

I have one lovely customer who does not quite understand social media, but he knows he needs it and he hired me to perform it for him anyway. He is just a sweetheart, and I giggle a bit when he tells me to keep doing that tweeter work for him.

Twitter works for his business, because he runs special offers that change frequently. Twitter doesn’t require any sophisticated wordsmanship, just a direct 140 character sentence. In his case we Tweet his specials out each day, and we post them on his Facebook page. We get great engagement, and his customers love the specials. While Twitter works well for his business model, it is not effective in the same way for the assisted living facility that I do work for. But we still use Twitter.

When you establish and use your Twitter account, don’t forget that it’s not just a tool to advertise your specials, or push your own information out on the net. It’s also a place to listen, to become part of a global community and to ask for feedback. Ask your customers what they need, how they liked the past special offer you tweeted. It also helps to spend a little time just perusing other’s tweets. Doing that will let you get a feel for what is trending, what people are concerned about, or looking for. If you can use that to fill a need, or offer a service, all the better.  For the clients who do not run specials, Twitter helps them keep their finger on the pulse of what people are talking about for the Senior Community they work with. They Tweet links to Alzheimer’s research, new tips for keeping healthy, exercise that seniors can us to stay healthy.

Photos are another powerful tool on Twitter, and they are even more effective on Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.   The highest and best way to be effective with these photo based mediums is to post the photos on your Blog or Website, and imbed a link back to your site. You get double the power when you do that. Another very effective way to increase the impact of one type of social media is to couple it with another type. Let me give you an example.

Write a blog post, full of words that describe your business. Insert a photo into that blog post. Then Tweet the link to that post. Post that same photo on Pinterest, and link it back to your site. Post the same link on your Facebook page and Google+. You only did one post, but you have it appearing on several other forms of social media.  Better yet, install all your Social Media links on your website or blog, and just click on the sharing buttons.

BUT Please, don’t forget this simple fact. If you get too pushy and salesy on social media, people will shut you down. So while it is perfectly acceptable to post a special or two, it is equally as important to listen, and share. Promote other businesses social posts. Share behind the scenes photos of what is going on at your business. Interact with your followers on the various social media sites. Just like in your networking groups, remember that sometimes the best practice is giving. Be as giving in your social media practices as you are in real life. That will get you respect in this cyberworld we live in. Give and take, offer your ear for social interaction, and listen as well as talk.

And if all of that is too much, just ask for help at www.social-cindy.com