Social Media Overview

Deciding whether and how to use social media is easier than it looks. The most popular choices — Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google+ — have distinct audiences, and require different commitments of resources. In this section, we review the pros and cons of each. We'll also look at other networking options such as blogs, web analytics tools, and search engine optimization. The key to using social media effectively is choosing what you are going to use based on your individual project's needs and constraints. While social media is "free," it does require a commitment of time and resources.

So what is social media exactly? First and foremost, it's a tool to begin conversations. Conversation arising from social media can build awareness, engagement, relationships, and site traffic. On social media platforms, you should definitely share the latest news about your project. However, you should also contribute to the online community by sharing news that's relevant to the field, commenting on blogs or Facebook profiles, and retweeting other people's tweets. In other words, be a good conversational partner!

Getting Started

The Social Media Guide is organized into five parts: