As WildWordz is fairly new, I've been spending more time than I will a year from now working on my social media platform. I am on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and I am trying to master Google+ although that is turning out to be a bit more complicated than I originally anticipated. I am going to keep at it though, because harnessing social media is an undeniable benefit to anyone in business for themselves.
Edison Research, a business/government/media research firm located in Somerset, NJ, has done a comprehensive study of social media trends for the last several years. They have found some surprising statistics:
- Twitter has grown by 76% in the last year alone, attracting over 12 million new tweeters, almost all of which post status updates regularly.
- Facebook is the most popular social media, with most Facebookers checking their pages or feeds an average of five times each day.
- Users who follow brands or businesses on social media has increased 106% in the last year.
- The fastest growing segment of new social media followers are professional adults between the ages of 45-54.
It cannot be stressed enough how vital social media is to your bottom line. But using social media for business purposes means using it responsibly. One freelancer friend of mine suggested that once a month or so we Google our own name and see if anything "embarrassing" to us pops up. A friend-of-a-friend was trying to gain employment in a very conservative field and the HR Director who was to interview him Googled his name. There was a seven-year-old post in a forum about "how to scam chicks at bars". Sadly, he was declined for the position he so coveted.
It just makes good business sense to maintain your professional code of conduct when using social media to increase your client roster. Don't post anything that is controversial, be it political, religious in nature or anything that is considered inappropriate sexual content. Watch what forums you post to regularly and stay away from any that might cause you humiliation or cost you a client; a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself "Would I be embarrassed if my kids or my parents (or your pastor, for those churchgoers in the crowd) saw what I posted online?" If the answer is yes, hit that delete key!
Social media is booming right now and it promises to get even bigger. Just use it responsibly, keep your most controversial thoughts to yourself, and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds. Your bottom line will thank you!