There are plenty of different, popular sites on the internet that fall under the banner of social media. Social media is anything that revolves around connections between people and where the majority of content is user generated. Many businesses are beginning to realize the potential of social media to help them cheaply and effectively find and engage with their target markets, so if you want to develop and strong internet marketing strategy, you need to understand the different sites and be able to identify which ones best suit your message.
While it is best not to rely too heavily on just one of the major social media sites and to at least hold accounts on the major ones (Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and for certain things LinkedIn and YouTube), understanding the different ways in which the sites are used and the demographics you will find on there will help you to intelligently plan where to direct different messages and which sites to focus given campaigns on. If you appreciate the different “moods” of the sites too, you can phrase your communications in a way that suits the site’s culture.
Facebook is largely used by people to interact with people in their personal lives. They are called Facebook “friends” because for the most part people only add friends, coworkers, family and other people they actually know. People go on there all the time to check what the people they know are up to and to share things with them – it is a site primarily used for fun. You will get the best results on Facebook by making your communications entertaining and funny, or interesting. Interactive stuff works very well here too, people will often happily take a second to vote in a poll or answer a question if it is interesting to them. Facebook is essentially a happy place, so dour communications will not fit in with your target market on there.
LinkedIn is a very useful site for business, because the relationships here are all work related. If you offer a business to business service or you want to engage with possible suppliers or affiliates, this is the place to go. People add people to their networks here because of a professional or commercial connection or because they belong to the same industry and want to share ideas. People don’t add their mothers or post pictures of their vacations on here like they do on Facebook – it is serious, organized and very professional. Keep your communications on here in the right tone for this culture, and use it for promotions you want to share with certain types of professionals.
Twitter and Google+ are currently a happy medium between the two, because people use their accounts for disparate things. On these sites, people can follow people they don’t know and respond to what they say, so things that are said by the same individual on Facebook and Twitter go out to completely different groups of people. Twitter is great for pretty much any kind of promotional message, and Google+ probably will be eventually once there has been more time for its user base to grow.