What Are Your Best Social Networking Sites?

With 200+ opportunities for social networking online, what is right for your business? You gain authority and leads, but you might take a closer look at the top five social networking opportunities.

You may find that some of those networks fit perfectly in with what youíre doing, but for the most part, youíll probably focus your efforts into the some of the five big systems we're discussing in this post. My goal is to help you understand what these networks are about and how they might fit in with your marketing plan.

Facebook

Was launched in 2004 and reported as of the first quarter of 2018, Facebook has 2.19 billion monthly users who are active. Facebook social networking reaches by far a wide audience and age ranges.

Facebook could serve you in two ways:

(1) You create your account page and start networking with people who fit your client or buyer persona.

(2) Facebook offers marketing through ads directed to your well-defined audience. Facebook has become a more visual network of companies and individuals sharing higher numbers of photos and videos. Your ads, then, are visually appealing. In summary, businesses advertise cost-effectively to grow their following and Facebook provides insights and also analytics to help understand the effectiveness of posts.

Having a Facebook group provides you with an interactive network that allows for content sharing, and the commenting system offers a stronger or cohesive connection. Interestingly enough, Facebook is a closed format, more so than networks like Twitter and Pinterest. Still, with a large number of people on Facebook, you can build a strategic presence and monetize that.

Twitter

Launching in 2006, Twitter now has over 500 million active users and receives over 1.6 billion search queries daily. Twitter also reaches a broad demographic as Facebook does.

Twitterí's uniqueness comes from the 280-character limit on tweet updates. Can you create concise tweets for your business that interest and entertain the users.  While you can upload photos to Twitter, the text-based social networking serves some businesses well.

While twitter updates are private, any user can search the content of people they follow. Can you imagine 6000 tweets go into cyberspace every SECOND? That amounts to "200 billion tweets per year." (www.internetlivestats.com/twitter-statistics)

LinkedIn

Linkedin, the oldest of these five social networking opportunities,  was launched in 2003. By design, the network was for professionals making professional connections. You will find that searching for professionals by the job, skill set, or interests is easy. Linkedin is smaller than Twitter and Facebook, but it is a focused network. With a claim of over 500 million users, the networking professionals can also purview the job market, which has increased since the recent change in ownership to Microsoft Corporation.

Service providers do very well on LinkedIn, but most businesses can benefit from a LinkedIn presence. The site is a source for not only finding employment and clients but also allows like-minded business people to share ideas, advice, connect to work on projects and more through groups.

Google+

Google, a relative newcomer in comparison, launched this network in 2010: http://plus.google.com-- Of 2.2 billion users, the active ones amount roughly to 111 million. Google+ attracts an audience with technical minds and offers interesting possible connections with Google's other products, including the search engine.

Google+ allows for the sharing of lengthy content, creating discussions, and sharing photos. And while Google+ does not necessarily reach the average social media user, the strength in Google+ comes from some important sources:

The +1 button -  On the network and throughout the web, Google users can show appreciation for content by giving it a +1. The +1 can help grow word-of-mouth audiences, but also have an impact on traffic through search engines.

Google Hangouts - Sophisticated video / audio conferencing software is built into Google, allowing businesses to make more meaningful connections with their audience. Even the President of the United States and other public figures have held their personal Hangouts.

The bottom line is if your audience is on Google+ (it may or may not be), you should explore the possibilities.

Pinterest

Currently, Pinterest is social media popular destination. They officially launched in 2012 and according to Comscore, by January 2012, had 11.7 million users. While on the surface, it seems like they have a tiny audience, it ís a unique network that many business strategists are keeping an eye on and businesses are tapping into the image extravaganza.

This network is the most visual by far, as its focus is on sharing photos (videos can be shared too) of things that interest users. These shares are called pins and allow users to create virtual pinboards in a variety of categories. The site also attracts considerably more men than women, giving you something to consider in your participation.

If your web content tends to be visual or your product photos are visually appealing, there could be a place for you on Pinterest. Like Twitter, Pinterest is a very open network, and you will find that your Pinterest content is readily seen and shared by people who don't directly follow you.

Parting Thoughts

Where you put your focus is where you will succeed. It is always better to do one or two things well, instead of a bunch of tasks haphazardly. If you are just getting started with social media, pick one in which to get your feet wet. If you're already involved, consider if you are putting your attention into the right areas and perhaps make a plan to explore new areas or dig deeper into existing ones.