The Good, the Bad and the Indifferent Social Media Channels

With as many social media networks as Elvis impersonators these days, how do you know which ones are right for you?

Social Network4

And like Elvis impersonators, some social media channels are definitely worth their weight in gold, a couple are niche performers that appeal to a particular audience, while others try hard but just don’t hit the mark.

According to the  “source for everything”, Wikipedia, social media is described as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”

Which really doesn’t tell you a whole lot, unless you focus on the words “user-generated content”.

So I’m going to assume you already know what social media is, and go on to share with you how and why to select the right social media for your online business.

Which Social Media is Right For Your Business?

Yep, and how long is a piece of string? With estimates ranging from 2,500 to 250,000 social networks available, I GUARANTEE the perfect social media is out there, it’s just nobody else knows about it…yet.Social Media Icon7

So, better that I focus on the popular social networks, while you bear in mind that by the time this post hits the Web, one or more of the “unknowns” may sprout wings and fly onto our radar screens with the speed of “Top Gun” ace Tom Cruise in his F14 Tomcat.

To state the obvious, social media is about networking and open communication by leveraging the power of the Internet. To really insult your intelligence, the right social media for your business depends on the type of business you have and how you want to spread the word about it. How much simpler can it get?

The Big Daddy’s of Social Media

Social Pages

Facebook is the 800lb gorilla of the social networking world, with estimates suggesting that 93% of businesses now use it as an integral part of their marketing arsenal. The big plus with Facebook is its ability to integrate with a number of other social networking interfaces to extend your presence across the length and breadth of the Web.

LinkedIn is a popular social networking site that focuses on business and professional connectivity. As at March 2011, it was estimated that LinkedIn had over 120 million registered users.

In 2008, Google launched Orkut to grab its slice of the multi-billion dollar social networking pie, but it hasn’t been the success Google had hoped for, unless you live in Estonia, where it is the most popular social media platform.

MySpace was the first of the social media sites to take off in a big way prior to the launch of Facebook. These days however, if you’re over 18 and don’t know the names of the latest heavy-punk-rock-industrial-metal-indie bands, then it’s not the place for you.

My recommendations? You just ain’t doin’ the do, man, if you’re not doing Facebook, and if you want to say I’m in business and I mean business, then LinkedIn is the place for you.

Do You Tweet?

Graph showing the content of Tweets

Graph showing the content of Tweets. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

According to current statistics (as at Sept 2011), Twitter has over 200 million users, generating over 200 million tweets (read 140 character “messages”) and handles 1.6 billion search queries per day.

According to Quancast, 63% of “tweeters” (Twitter users) are less than 35, 60% are Caucasian, and 58% have a total household income in excess of $60k.

My recommendation: Twitter is a powerful communication tool if:

  • Your customer  demographic  fits the average Twitter user demographic;
  • You can actively encourage your customers to follow your tweets;
  • Your business would gain competitive advantage by communicating information instantly;
  • You are a celebrity who feels an urgent desire to tweet how many flakes of cereal he/she ate for breakfast – yawn! (Which means you probably wouldn’t be reading this anyway.)

Video Sharing Networks

If the mention of a paltry amount like $1.65 billion paid by Google to purchase YouTube in 2006 means anything to you, then YouTube has got to be the place to be.

How about the fact 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or YouTube gets 2 billion views per day?

Upload a video that is out-of-the-box, quirky, unique or touches that indefinable, mysteriously curious part of us that is indefinable, mysterious or curious and you could possibly have a viral phenomenon that captures the attention of millions of visitors across the globe. (Unlikely, but I wanted to keep you alert, okay?)

Other entries in this category include Metacafe, which is well organized, very professional, has some fabulous DIY videos and movie out-takes to watch and best yet, uses a pay per view system, so you can get paid every time a viewer clicks on your video.

Blip.tv is aimed at professional quality, longer-than-5-minute videos. Blip.tv  would appeal to the creative online business that wants to raise its business profile by producing a commercially viable series of videos.

Vimeo is a sophisticated, professional video sharing site that enables each user to upload up to 500MB of video each week. Vimeo supports HD uploads and has a community forum, but tends towards an artistic bias.

Social Bookmarking

Social news sites and social tagging is a strong marketing tool, particularly when you have an active and supportive stream of regular readers.

Yahoo! Buzz is an extremely powerful and popular network of communities that can do amazing things when you do amazing things; like write a provocative article that others want to link to, or participate in the Buzz activity and develop a strong, supportive community network. With the power of Yahoo! behind it, Yahoo! Buzz can take your blog to a whole new level.

Digg can generate enormous streams of fresh traffic if your readers like an article enough to Digg it, and as a result it gets to Digg’s first page. They key is to create engaging content that compels your readers to Digg it.

StumbleUpon is a popular and practical social bookmarking site that can yield enormous social benefits, simply by adding their icon to your blog.

Like most social bookmarking sites, Reddit thrives on content, images or videos that have that unique edge (the thing that makes people want to look). Get your content on to the front page of Reddit and you’ll be amazed at the throngs of fresh, eager visitors.

Del.icio.us is another bookmarking site that can attract strong crowds if the content is appealing and fresh.

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