CFC: Using Social Media as a Business Tool

It was hard to decide which Breakfast Roundtable discussion to attend on Day 2 of the Creative Freelancer Conference last month in Chicago. Fortunately, a few of the moderators took notes.

Below are Damien Golden‘s notes on “Using Social Media as a Business Tool.”

BTW: These Breakfast Roundtables are not about the moderator having all the answers. It is more a chance for collective learning, where the moderator comes with a question they’ve been thinking about and everyone shares what others have learned — just one more thing that’s hard to do when you work alone.

The breakfast round table was made up of over a dozen hungry creatives all wondering 3 main questions:

1. Do I need social media?
2. How do I educate myself on the various social media platforms?
3. How much time should I commit?

So we spent our Friday morning delving into these main topics. Just as a note, I am not a social marketing guru, but I was about a year and a half ahead of my colleagues around the table and I remember having the same exact questions when I was starting out. The insight I share is what I’ve used in particular for my business, iKANDEgraphics, and should be taken as just that. My deepest hope is that it gives you a starting point to get started, but as you grow, you make your own decisions about what is best for you and your future potential while incorporating social media as a business tool.

1. Before even asking whether you need social media, I think you need to look at your own marketing goals for your company, your client’s company and/or your potential client’s business. Once you begin to answer these questions, whether you even need social media becomes clearer.

If you just want to stay in touch with friends and family on Facebook, just by doing so, you’ll eventually have some experience. So if a client asks you a question about Facebook, you’ll have something intelligent to share.

2. There is a ton of info out there on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn (there are other social media platforms out there, but these are statistically the top 3). Check out each on Google and Wikipedia to get familiar and to start your education.

I follow these occasionally (free tools and paid services):

3. You have to be careful when carving out social media time. It may not be very productive in the beginning and just setting aside an hour or two a week may be plenty, maybe on a Monday morning or Friday afternoon – which ever works for you. You don’t want to be spending so much time perusing social media sites that you don’t get your billable hours in. And believe me, it can become an addictive pastime.

These platforms can help keep your social media outlets organized in one place:

These may also be of some help later:

  • (Your Klout score measures your overall online influence)
  • (helps determine the best time to post depending on your brand)

Hopefully these starting points will help. And remember, the Internet is constantly changing- statistics will alter, upgrades will happen and your marketing needs may change. So be malleable and don’t be afraid to learn and try something new!

Also, if you missed them earlier in the month, here are notes from David Oldham’s discussion on crowdsourcing.

2 thoughts on “CFC: Using Social Media as a Business Tool

  1. N. Pugh

    Social networking can indeed be addictive and a questionable use of time. I just added a toolbar, but I almost feel bad because I can’t find the time to use it, or wonder what to use it for. I guess some research is in order.