Entrepreneur Program Blog / Social Media Accelerator Session Recap by Gary Chamberlain, Founder of Pro Diagrams

Below, Sandbox Accelerator Finalist Gary Chamberlain blogs about the Accelerator’s “Social Media Session”  with PR expert Bobbie Carlton.

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The Accelerator had a great session yesterday, with Bobbie Carlton of Carlton PR & Marketing and Mass Innovation Nights.  She presented on a whole range of social media platforms and how to use it effectively.

Bobbie first gave an overview of Mass Innovation Nights, which provides an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to launch their products and get a considerable amount of exposure. And actually, in January it will be hosted by Progress Software in Bedford, and Pro Diagrams is part of the slate of companies launching new products!

The she dove into all the basics of social media, how we can use it and answered our many questions about the pros and cons of various platforms. Social media essentially gives everyone a megaphone. However, it can be a real “time suck”.  It can be an addiction because it is so easy to just keep going.  You need a plan.  Done right, social networks can provide a substantial targeted audience.

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The power comes from what Bobbie Carlton calls, “the Linked In effect.”  In all networks, there is a second degree of separation. Those are the people in the networks of people in your network.  LinkedIn clearly shows you the count of those people.  Because of this, it’s possible to have a very far reach with social media marketing; a megaphone.  However, you cannot directly communicate to that extended set of people. You need to find influencers in your network that will forward your messages, and they are more likely to do that if your messages are meaningful and personal.

The goals of social media are to get someone to try something, buy something, or recommend something.  On rarer occasions, there might be another goal such as to find funding.  Everything in marketing targets one of these goals.  Bobbie had coined the term, “freestrapping,” which is a play on bootstrapping by people that are not trying to achieve at least one of these goals.  These are the people that might not need a lot of money initially, because they don’t pay a lot.  Perhaps their logo was made by their cousin, and their friend made the website.   They’re mooching wireless from a local coffee shop.  There is no business plan.  If they don’t have a business plan, and do not have a marketing goal, they will not succeed.  Bobbie estimates that freestrappers usually have a lifespan of no more than 18 months.

Think of social media as person-to-person marketing.  Create content for “that person.”  It is a way to talk with them, a way to track them.  Make it personal.  Set up alerts so you know when they are talking about you.

Remember that social media is just one tactic in marketing.  If you think of social media as a golden hammer, it is easy to look at everything like a nail.  Social media is just one tactic for marketing.

There are many social media platforms.  You should use the ones that work best for your type of business.  A simple way to think about the big ones is…

Be sure to keep separate accounts/profiles for company and personal use.  Also, if you start it, do it well.  No one wants to follow people with poor or limited content.

Check out my blog on my  ProDiagrams entrepreneur profile to learn more about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.