If you spend time with young professionals who carry out marketing-communications duties in their jobs, you’ll likely hear about social media sites that are taking off. Lately, that’s been led by Instagram and Pinterest with their visual photo board and video streaming templates. YouTube still dominates the video-sharing front (which has been embedded by its owner, Google), followed by Vimeo. Google+ has been seeing gains in its competition with Facebook; though Facebook has a ridiculously high membership number – 1.2 billion out of 7.1 billion people on planet Earth regularly use Facebook. For companies looking for positive reviews from their customers and increasing search engine rankings in their local markets, Yelp and Foursquare are the leaders.
My experience has been that Twitter and LinkedIn make for the best use of time for business-to-business (B2B) marketing and networking. To get a look at my sites, search for @GreenAutoMkt on Twitter and Jon LeSage, LeSage Consulting on LinkedIn. I also moderate a group on LinkedIn called Clean Transportation. On Twitter, Green Auto Market is now following nearly 1,200 individuals and groups and is being followed by 438. My LinkedIn page has connections with more than 500 people.
Twitter and LinkedIn seem to work best for networking with groups of like-minded people. LinkedIn calls itself, the “world’s largest professional network.” Twitter and LinkedIn send users suggested people to make contact with who share interest in similar issues. Along with clean transportation groups, some of the followers and connections have come through social media advocates and content creators; automakers and dealers; freight transportation companies; carsharing and ridesharing companies; transportation planners; autonomous vehicle advocates; and solar power companies.
They respond best to my postings from Green Auto Market on certain topics – my article last week on the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has received several “likes” and comments. Other hot topics have been “Keeping hybrid and electric vehicle sales figures in perspective,” and “Climate change is real for large institutions but it’s not making the case for cost-cutting fleets and consumers.”
Some of my colleagues complain about social media sites basically being a waste of time; or the source of annoying experiences that may include getting pulled into a debate that goes nowhere. Another commonly heard complaint usually comes from Facebook experiences – that might involve a group of friends and an ex-significant other from high school or college. That can get ugly and lead to people being blocked, or leaving Facebook behind.
All things considered, social media has become something like what used to be American institutions for social contact; years ago, that might have been pool halls, bars, gentlemen’s clubs, and union halls. These days its more likely to be a Starbucks location, online dating sites, and mobile apps for social media. If you’re spending time and energy getting the word out on your consulting practice, newsletter, or causes you’re quite passionate about, don’t ignore social media – and consider what you can gain from being active on Twitter and LinkedIn.