Which Social Media Channels to Consider for Your Business

in Social Media Marketing

Feedback from several business owners/operators I’ve talked with recently revealed a common concern with using social media for their businesses – what should they use from the growing list of hundreds of social media applications available in dozens of categories? Seems that almost every week a new social media application is touted as the next big thing.

Rather than try to review and follow all the available social media applications and new developments, consider the challenges and opportunities for your business that you can address with social media applications. Start with the business objective, then select an appropriate social media application.

The top 5 social media applications businesses use are Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. The following are the 5 major categories of social media applications to consider that cover the primary social media objectives for most businesses.

Blogs – the primary objective of a business blog is to connect with your audience of customers and prospective buyers by providing valuable and useful information. Blogs are usually complementary to a business website, providing advice, guidance, instruction and other information not typically covered by the company/brand/product/service/solution orientation of a regular website. Blogs also enable interaction with the audience via the comments capability. See the What is a “blog” and how can it improve your business? article for more information on using blogs.

Social Networks – provide the means to build online communities of people with common interests and/or activities. If your business is primarily B2B, a social network such LinkedIn has many communities (Groups) of business people sharing information and ideas with each other. Although Facebook started out as a personal social network, many B2C companies have a presence on Facebook to connect with consumers in an interactive social networking setting. Check out what companies such as Starbucks, Microsoft, H&M, Johnson & Johnson, Nike, Coca-Cola and others doing on Facebook for ideas on what you can do.

Micro-blogging / Texting – is a form of blogging based on sending brief messages that can be viewed by anyone or by a restricted group chosen by the user. Although these micro-blogging messages are intended to communicate a concise message in a limited space, many include links to more detailed information. Twitter is the most well-known and widely-used micro-blogging service. See the 20 Examples of Business Success with Twitter article for more information and ideas to use Twitter for your business.

Video Sharing – although YouTube started off as a personal video sharing application, many businesses are actively using YouTube as a social media marketing and networking resource. Initial business interest in YouTube focused on creating viral videos that attracted millions of viewers such as the “Will it Blend?” series of videos from Blendtec. Today, many mainstream businesses use YouTube as a social media marketing channel with product demonstrations, practical instruction on how to do something, community participation contests and other ways to engage with audiences using video. Companies are increasingly using video sharing as an integral component of marketing campaigns.

Social Bookmarking – when someone finds something of interest they wish to share, social bookmarking enables the accumulation and sharing of bookmarks on the Internet. These bookmarks are public for anyone to see, use, rate and add more bookmarks of common interest. Social bookmarking is another way to develop communities of common interest and influence people to visit your website or blog. See the Expanding your business Internet presence with Social Bookmarking article for more information.

How to use this information to benefit your business

  • Start with the fundamentals and which aspects or activities of your business can be improved or expanded with social media.
  • Develop specific plans on what you want to accomplish, which applications you will use, how to do it and how to measure progress and success.
  • Social media applications and social networking are serious business tools with great potential and associated risk. Acquiring the right expertise and guidance is crucial to success and avoiding pitfalls.
  • Explore and learn from what other companies are doing. Look at major corporations, companies in your industry, companies with similar challenges or opportunities, competitors, etc. to get ideas and insights.

Copyright © 2009 Ingistics LLC and Marketance™ www.marketance.com

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