Week 17: Final Post

Over the semester my understanding and use of social media has changed drastically.  I was somewhat familiar with Facebook and its capabilities, however only on a personal account level.  After getting into the business side, I was pleasantly surprised and excited to learn about the business capabilities, through the business page and the advertising opportunities.  In addition to Facebook, I learned about the other social media tools that will enhance my products and social media presence through the visual platforms.  Instagram and Pinterest I see as the best options for the visual platforms, but still see Facebook as the main hub.

My viewpoint of social media has changed, and now realize that using it for personal use is one thing, but the opportunities for business are almost unlimited.  I thought that business use was a bit over the top and intrusive into the personal conversations on social media.  However, I have learned that most people are welcoming to the business involvement because they like to share, talk about and make comments about products and brands that people relate to.  Also, I now see it as a great way to interact with brands, or brand interacting with customers.  I think that is expected now.  The ads also are not intrusive, because they occasionally show up in the feed, and are targeted, so they are things customers are more likely to engage with.

I understand how to use social media better now to develop my business, mainly because of the real use of setting up our own business accounts and using the tools as if we were really in business.  Also making ads, and researching the different ads available also helped me to get me hands dirty by experiencing and having to thing through my messages and offerings.  I have a more thorough understanding of each social media tool, and what their strengths and weaknesses are depending on what business I have.  For example, I not realize the LinkedIn may be one of the most useful platforms for my business since I am selling to other businesses.  My market is right there hanging out on LinkedIn and that network can only foster some recognition.  My new understanding is that I may find other platforms can work better than others, and I am willing to consider that Facebook may not be the main one that work best for me.  So I am more confident now in considering each outlet to use for my purposes.

After some time looking into the different social media platforms and their services and products, I have a good idea of which ones I want to use.  To get straight to the point, I definitely will be on Facebook and LinkedIn, but for the visual aspect, I will be using Instagram and Pinterest while connecting my Blog and Website into the mix.  Twitter, is a platform that I occasionally use, and I am looking into that to see how I can best use that to my advantage. Clinging to the advice given about choosing a few good platforms over many, is a good starting point.  I need to consider my time and effort I will have to put forth.  The visual platforms will make for fairly easy maintenance since a photo and a line of text is all that is needed.  Within that, I also plan on utilizing the ads, to prime my audience with ads, and eventually close some sales with special offerings and discounts.

In the end, before taking the class, I knew that social media was a must, but choosing the right platforms and making the right use of them was the question.  I know have some solid opinions about what I want to do, and how I will use them.  I will remember that trying new things, and testing and changing are a must and will strive to continue to improve.  I imagine that what is available now is not set in stone, rather I need to stay up to date with changes and find what is best for my needs.  I have a couple of text books that give me topics and action plans at the end of each chapter that I will consider when heading into all these mediums.  The hands on use, and the discussions, viewing my classmates posts and seeing their usage, has given me confidence to step out and start promoting my business and most importantly engaging customers and having real conversations with them.

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