I read an article recently that stated 60% of US Fortune 500 companies will start an online social media campaign this year and half of them will fail at it. If these "deep pockets" can't figure it out, what about the thousands of small and medium sized businesses out there battling to develop an effective internet marketing program? We have discussions with our clients all the time about how to capitalize on this social media explosion, and we advise them to think hard about their niche.
In social media you must have a niche - something you are known for and something important enough to the audience that they want to hear what you are saying. I did a Twitter search recently as part of a client meeting and the entries some people put in Twitter - it's like who cares!!! However, if you have a niche or something you become known for and others are interested - now you are on your way to building your personal brand.
Now, do some hard thinking about what you are, what's important to you, what good things your business can provide to the marketplace. Make a short list and then do a Twitter search for these terms. Go to www.search.twitter.com. Type in some of the words you think people would use to describe your topics. See what people are saying about your topic. If there's good activity and after reading some of the "tweets" you think you can make a positive contribution to the online conversations, then maybe you found your niche.
We all struggle with making the connection between helpful online conversations and how it helps your business. Well first, don't get "salesy". Just like at a networking event you have conversations and if there's an opportunity to be helpful, you help. It doesn't mean you are constantly doing a sales pitch. On the social networks it's all about making a positive contribution to the conversation. By doing so you build your personal credibility and brand, and that often translates to business.