Are you part of a community? Of course you are! And more than one. In fact, if you are on Facebook you are part of the 4th largest country in the world! That’s because Facebook now has more than 300 million accounts.
This means that how we communicate is changing – and rapidly. Many youth today don’t even pick up a phone to talk; they pick it up to text. I don’t send emails to one of my dear friends because she won’t read it. If I send a message on Facebook, I know she will get it, read it, and answer it. By the way, she’s 70!
Last week I attended the PRSA-Richmond chapter meeting. We heard from Dave Saunders of Madison + Main, who talked about social media, which he says “is the marriage of creativity, technology and interactiveness.”
With more than 1.5 million people on the Web today, he says it’s critical to be connected. Most in the audience raised their hands to say they are participating in social media through LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Several had a blog. Then he stumped us. “How many have Tumblr” accounts? Very few hands. I don’t know much about it. If you do, I’d love for you to comment.
When I Googled it (and when did that become a verb?), I discovered it is a “free and lightweight blogging platform aimed at quick and easy linking and sharing.” I’ll start experimenting soon; heck, I’m still adjusting to life with a blog. I promised myself I would post every Sunday and Wednesday so while I’d love to be reading a good book, I’ve got to finish this post. It’s just like being a reporter on deadline except that the only editor standing over me is in my head.
Dave also shared the benefits of social media and what it won’t do. As for benefits –
- Increased brand awareness
- Reputation management
- Improved search engine rankings
- Increased Web site traffic
- More sales for your product or service (if you didn’t know it, Dave says, “Cold calls are dead.”)
What it won’t do –
- Fix a broken company
- Make you rich
- Replace your other forms of marketing or PR
Quite simply, social media is another platform that is used to enhance your community, personally or professionally. So how does your community grow?