By Jon Paget
I was looking at one of my friend’s profiles on facebook and I noticed a mutual friend of ours had posted something on his wall. Through a mix of guilt (I hadn’t been in touch with him for a while) and interest I posted a message on his wall. Had I not seen his initial message (posted on the profile I was viewing) to our mutual friend I would probably have moved on to doing something else, leaving it even longer to contact him.
My fumbling over facebook does raise an important point. It’s one thing to be registered on various social media platforms but quite another to have a presence online. Had the friend in question not been active, engaging in the online community that we are both a part of, I would probably be sitting at my desk right now having no idea as to what he’d been up to. Instead I’m sat here a little more informed.
The same rule can be applied to business online. Now that we're escaping the clutches of recession it’s never been so important to be at the heart of the discussion, having an influence and most importantly, having a voice.
It’s not a question of which platform (I often hear “I’m not sure if I should spend my time on facebook, MySpace or twitter”) but a question of the best place you can be a part of the online community, where you, your competitors and your target market can interact successfully.
Here are a couple of points to consider when building a community online:
Firstly - Make the most of your profile. Make sure you join the right network(s) so you can search and meet other people around you. (Accessed by selecting ‘My Account’ and clicking the ‘Networks’ tab.)
Secondly - Interact on the walls of your friends. People (other friends of your friends) will see your posts. Include new content that others will find interesting such as links and videos.
Finally – Join groups and enter discussion. Better still, find a niche interest that isn’t being talked about and create a new group. Invite key people you know to join and make the group open to all with that interest. Being the admin of a group is a great way to develop trust and exposure.