What can we learn from social media and the London riots?

One of the most fascinating things about the riots in London and elsewhere is just how quickly information spread – and not just over days or weeks, but minutes.

Everyone always talks about viral marketing, about social media and web 2.0, web 3.0… web infinity. Well this was a very real, very powerful example of all the different strands of ‘online’ coming together.

People looking for information on the riots used social networking sites to get ‘on the ground reports’, they tuned in to the media for tradtional coverage, they visited YouTube, they texted people…

If you really want to get through to people you have to be available on a variety of different channels. It’s no longer enough to stick a one page website somewhere on the Internet. Some people like to get their information in short sharp bursts, others prefer lengthy articles they can scroll through. More still prefer a combination of the two.

These days the most wildly successful businesses don’t rely on just one online channel, they rely on several. They send out regular emails, they tweet customers with special offers… they push them towards their website for more information or sales. They blog, they Facebook, they digg.

It sounds daunting but it really doesn’t need to be. Most of these tools are free or inexpensive to set up. It takes 30 seconds to write a tweet, about the same time to post a Facebook update. Blog posts don’t need to be great big essays.

Get these simple things right and you will sell. Why? Because you’ll have a direct line to your customer. They’ll know you, they’ll trust you and they’ll buy from you.

I’ll be showing you how you can set up and run several of these channels for yourself, for free. It’s not rocket science but it could dramatically increase your online presence – and your profits.

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