March 3, 2011

9 Social Networks Your Business Should Be Using

Earlier this week we blogged about why your business needs a social media strategy. Part of putting together your social media strategy is choosing which social networking platform works best for you. You may assume that Facebook is the end-all of social networks, but there may be better opportunities for your business with different platforms. Here are 9 different social networks and how your company can benefit from each:

1. Facebook. You will be hard-pressed to find any company or business that wouldn’t benefit from Facebook. Easily the largest social network, your organization will be able to reach the largest amount of fans. Facebook ads targeting feature is interest specified which means you can connect with the exact people who would be interested in your product. Facebook Insights also allows you to measure your page activity so you can track your progression.

2. Twitter. Twitter is the second most popular social networking site. Use Twitter to humanize your brand, provide excellent customer service, and engage with your fans. It is also great for seeking out new fans by searching people who are talking about your brand, product, or field of interest. The one thing businesses need to remember is not to tweet as a brand. Remind your followers that there is a real live person on the other end of cyberspace.

3. Foursquare. Businesses can benefit from Foursquare in a number of ways. Offering deals for check-ins or mayorships are a fun, competitive way to get your customers coming back for more. For bigger brands and promotions, you can even have your own badge. Although they are a huge investment, the badge will live on forever, even if it is only accessible for one day!

4. LinkedIn. To be the best, you have to have the best employees. Instead of waiting until the perfect fit comes and finds you, you can go out and seek them. LinkedIn has not only become the number one professional social network, but also one of the top places for recruitment. You can create a company profile and allow others to follow your organization. Also, LinkedIn ads now have the same targeting features as Facebook. Use this to advertise your company or find great employees.

5. YouTube. Using YouTube is another great way to give a human face to your brand. Posting videos of behind the scenes interactions will give your fans an inside look at your organization. Also, having videos of the CEO, or another top executive, will bring your fans even closer to your company. A video only takes about a minute to make, so grab a FlipCam and start engaging your followers!

6. Quora. If you are a company with a special expertise, then Quora can be very beneficial for you. Not only can you follow similar thought leaders, and ask questions about your industry, but you can also reach out to those in need and answer questions. Spread the word about your company by answering questions and becoming an expert in that field. This is an even more direct way to connect with fans that have similar interests to your business.

7. Flickr. Flickr can be especially beneficial for companies that are visual. Whether you are showcasing products or homes, you can use Flickr to have easily searchable photos. The tagging features on Flickr make it effortless for your fans to find exactly what they are looking for. They are also a great place for you to hold photos when having contests and giveaways. When using Flickr, it is important that you integrate it well into your other social media platforms.

8. Tumblr. Corporate blogging is the new frontier. Having a company blog will create a real conversation about your brand. Many organizations have corporate blogs, and not just social media companies. These blogs will help you showcase your expertise, attract customers and future employees.

9. Meetup. Meetup is all about bringing your social relationships into a real-life setting. Whether it is once a month or once a year, schedule a meetup where your fans and followers can get together and interact in real life. Make a special event out of it! Have a fan-appreciation meetup or maybe just a meetup for other thought leaders to gather and network. Social media may be enhancing communication from companies to fans, but nothing beats face-to-face communication.

No matter what your business, there is a social network for you. Do you need them all? Probably not. Specify what your social media strategy is, what your goals are, and from there decide which social network will help you best accomplish that.

Tags: Facebook, LinkedIn, Niche Networks, Strategy, Tools, Twitter, YouTube

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