I’m often asked, which social media (platforms) are the most important? There are so many available, so many accounts to set up and keep track of, how is a person to know which social media platforms are truly important, which ones can really help you get noticed, which ones will provide the most ROI?
There are many factors to consider when answering these questions and while many people will give you a blanket answer, it doesn’t do any good to have an account on these social media platforms if you don’t maintain them or have someone manage them for you. It’s like going to a networking event with a pocket full of business cards and brochures then finding the broom closet and hiding in it. Sure, you are a professional in your field, you can schmooze as well as the next guy or gal, but what good does it do you if you don’t get in front of anyone?
Many individuals think they need to sign up for every social media platform. If you have the time to sign in regularly, and truly interact, make connections, you will definitely be found by those search engines. Question is, are you being found for the correct reason? Are you using your correct keywords and branding?
The key here, is to work smarter, not harder, some of the following platforms can be posted to simultaneously by using social media tools such as TweetDeck, MarketMeSuite, or HootSuite.
Facebook: With 800 million registered users as of September 2011 and the ability to target your market with affordable advertising, the ability to create fan pages, interact with your fans and potential customers, have brand ambassadors, the marketing potential for Facebook is a no-brainer.
Twitter: Over 300 million registered users as of June 2011, search engines have the ability to crawl tweets, and there are more than 1.5 BILLION searches per day on Twitter. I’ve made so many great connections and have closed business because of the relationships formed. Remember it’s relationships first and foremost.
Google+: With amazing stats of 50 million registered users in 88 days compared to Facebook’s 1,325 days and Twitter’s 1,096 days, not to mention Google’s number one search engine, how can you NOT use Google+? Google+ offers the same types of status updates as Facebook, now offers business pages, you can attach videos, photos, online video hangouts, the list goes on.
YouTube: This brainchild created by three ex-Paypal employees in February 2005 where users can upload their own videos, music videos, video blogs, and more, was purchased by Google in November of 2006 for $1.65 Billion (that’s right I said Billion with a B!). So if you were a geek or a nerd – who’s got the last laugh now? Videos such as “Charlie Bit Me” are what make YouTube one of the hottest social search engines and every company’s goal to have a viral video.
LinkedIn is more straight-laced and business-minded and although I like to focus more on relationships and say it’s P2P rather than B2B or B2C, LinkedIn still hasn’t quite entered into the social media realm (in my humble opinion). Don’t get me wrong, you need to have a LinkedIn account if you own your own business and you NEED to have recommendations from your clients and previous co-workers or employers (no I don’t mean reciprocal recommendations from acquaintances). What I am saying about LinkedIn, is the groups I’ve participated in thus far, have not been quite as social as Twitter or Facebook and the relationships haven’t matured as they have on Twitter and Facebook yet. That’s not to say they won’t be soon – I have faith LinkedIn is about to turn a corner. If you create a LinkedIn account, I would say you could get by with participating once or twice a week in one or two groups focused in your area of expertise. If you don’t actively participate in the group, remove it from the list – I’ve learned that the hard way and am still removing groups from my list.
If you are in the service industry you might also want to give Yelp a look. You can build online communities with Yelp, connect to your customers, other professionals in your network groups, send them messages. I didn’t initially think Yelp was a social media platform, but the more I learn about it, the more I see it is. (See, you can even teach an old dog new tricks!)
So, before you sign up for a new social media networking account make sure you spend at least 10 – 30 minutes each day in the ones listed above. Truly interact with the other people online, don’t just post quotes or links to online articles. Share a bit of yourself, get to know people and let people get to know you. If you don’t know what to post, visit my Facebook fan page, or ask to join my group Kickin’ it with Klout on Facebook. It’s a great online community. 🙂