Facebook killed the Internet star
It is time we admit that facebook, and social networking, isn't going away anytime soon, and embrace it as a tool for our own projects. How do we use facebook, twitter and google+ as we once used RSS, search engines and email to promote and engage users to our websites.
Here are four ways to use social media: go where the people are and be visible, make it easy to share your brand message, use as authentication to makes it easier for users to actually use your website, and use it for notification.
If the mountaine will not come to Mahomet
If you build it they will not come, launch day does not magically create users. You have to go out and find users, you have to be where they are. Use facebook, twitter and google+ to create brand pages. These pages will be a point of contact to people unfamiliar with your brand/product. Update it regularly with news and information to keep it fresh and give the impression of a vibrant brand.
Share, and share alike. Make it easy as possible for people to share your brand and your message. The easier, and funner, it is to share and pass around links to your site using social media the more people will do so.
Setup your website to allow authentication using oauth, facebook connect, twitter or google plus. Using oauth gets rid of the sign-up step and lets users start using your website with very little trouble on their part. They will be able to use and engage with your website with just a click or two. This means no more passwords to remember (and forget) or email addresses to verify.
Use built-in notification through social media. Just as we used push email we now use push wall posts, or direct messages. People are already being notified by their social media tools, now you can bundle your updated messages too. A word of caution, don't over notify, you are probably not the only one using this method.
So where once facebook, twitter, google+ and social media was our enemies, the great distractor, now they are our unwitting allies. We will use their own platform as tools to be visible, share our brand, ease engagement, and notify our users of updates. Where once we feared the behemoth of social media we will use them to infiltrate and expand our brand and user base.