John Worthington of Vaucluse, New South Wales asks:
I’m a 52 year
old, experienced business owner. Whilst nothing runs perfectly, my
company is established and operating like a well-oiled machine. So I
have the time currently to educate myself about social media. Everyone
seems to say how wonderful it is for business. But I just don’t get it.
Facebook seems like a place to gossip. LinkedIn feels like an aimless
game in collecting people and Twitter trite. What’s social media all
about and, more importantly, how can I exploit it for my business?
Kenelm Tonkin, Chairman, Tonkin Corporation
Social media is fascinating but, to the technology-fatigued,
it seems indecipherable. So here’s “Social Media 101.” When you see
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, think of social circles comprising
family, friends and acquaintances. At their core, these social media
companies simply institutionalise these social circles in an intuitive
online environment. People talk about everything under the sun and, as
savvy entrepreneurs know, they talk about the products they buy and the
jobs that enable their purchasing preferences. So, social media is
word-of-mouth or referral. It’s just that Facebook for instance, now
approaching a billion users, has discovered how to monetise our social
This sounds straightforward. Build a presence on Facebook and
LinkedIn, tweet often, interact with prospects, tap into their social
circles and let the word spread about your remarkable product.
This is just the beginning. Take job classifieds. It was a newspaper
realm until the early 2000s when job websites emerged. Now, social media
is proving superior. For instance, a business owner may wish to
advertise a position but the role is not specifically reflected in a job
site’s industry categories and drop down menus. Go to LinkedIn and you
will discover exact matches and vibrant, buzzing communities of these
potential candidates, probably discussing best practice nuances of the
role you need to fill. Join these conversations. Build profitable
relationships quickly. Exploit a more targeted and pure candidate pool.
A structured word-of-mouth environment to sell your product plus the
best place for properly qualified candidates, these are just tasters of
the possibilities offered by social media.