Social Media Strategies have to be tailored for your business/organization because no two companies are exactly alike and neither are their customers/clients. Your messages will be different amongst your clients therefore the way you communicate to them needs to be different and customized as well. You should have a clear understanding of all the Social Networks and their platforms before posting your messages. How you communicate a message on Twitter should be different than Facebook. There are over 100 social media platforms! (And here you were thinking there were only three: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) How do you navigate amongst all of them and more importantly choose which one you should use to promote your business/organization?
1. Know who you want to communicate with.
2. What is it that you want to say?
3. What action do you want people to take?
4. Can you afford it? Many platforms are free however it takes TIME to build relationships and maintain conversations. We all know….time is money!
A.PR. Firm can help you address these points and get the conversation started and will even monitor your social media platforms for you. Just contact me!
Here is a list of the Top 52 Social Media Platforms By Jamie Turner , Chief Content Officer, @60SecondTweets , the online magazine of BKV Digital and Direct Response and @marketingreshma They’re broken into 3 categories — social media platforms that help you network (like LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.); social media platforms that help you promote (like YouTube, blogs, etc.); and social media platforms that help you share (like Digg, Delicious, etc.). Click here for the full article http://60secondmarketer.com/blog/2010/04/09/top-52-social-media-platforms/
Social Media Platforms that help you Network:
Classmates: An easy, simple-to-use site that can help you track down former classmates. Great for high school and college reunions. Strengths: Simple, uncluttered user-interface. Ease-of-use. Weaknesses: Since it’s a site set-up to connect former classmates, it would be wise to be cautious about using it for business purposes.
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook out of his dorm room for his fellow students at Harvard. Today, toddlers to grandmothers can be found on Facebook. Strengths: Widely-adopted by large segments of the population. Weaknesses: Will the younger generation stay on Facebook once Grandma has “friended” them?
Friendster: A way to stay connected with everything that’s important to you — hobbies, interests, causes, business, etc. Strengths: A simple web-interface makes this easy-to-use. Weaknesses: Not as widely adopted as some other platform-runs. Might have peaked.
hi5: This is a social networking platform that skews a little younger than LinkedIn. Members can play games, watch videos, flirt, give gifts or just hang out. Strengths: It’s a great alternative to MySpace and/or Facebook for the younger crowd. Weaknesses: It may not be the best social networking platform for business.
LinkedIn: This is the Grand Pooh Bah of them all. They’ve been around since 2003, which, in social media terms is also known as “since the beginning of time.” Strengths: Everybody’s on LinkedIn. Weaknesses: Most people have trouble knowing what to do with LinkedIn after they upload their business information.
MyLife: A clean, simple site that helps people connect with family, friends and other relationships. Over 750 million profiles. Strengths: The easy-to-use interface is one of the site’s great strengths. Perfect if you’re looking for an engaging, simple way to connect with old friends. Weaknesses: Not as widely adopted as some other sites.
Ning: This site connects groups of people who are passionate about particular interests, topics or hobbies. Co-Founded by Marc Andreessen, who helped launch Netscape. Strengths: Great for connecting with others who are interested in your area of expertise. Weaknesses: The user interface is so simple and uncluttered that getting started can be confusing. But once you’ve figured it out, it can be a good tool.
Plaxo: Currently hosts address books for more than 40 million people. Helps people stay in touch with “Pulse,” which is a dashboard that lets you see what the people you know are sharing all over the web. Strengths: Graphical user interface makes it easy-to-use. Weaknesses: It’s not as widely-adopted as some other platforms such as LinkedIn.
Twitter: A surprisingly-successful tool that is widely-adopted and used for everything from business to fun and games. Strengths: Used by large segments of the population. Weaknesses: Can be a distraction, especially if you have Attention Deficit Disor … wow, look at that bird outside my window!
XING: XING has more than 8 million subscribers worldwide. It has over 34,000 specialized groups and over 150,000 live networking events each year. Strengths: XING adds new developments to their platform on a regular basis. Weaknesses: Not as widely-adopted as some other platforms such as LinkedIn.
Social Media Platforms that help you Promote:
Bing: Bing, Google and Yahoo aren’t technically social media platforms, but they are tools that can be used to promote your product or service, so we’re including all three in this overview. The technique for using any search engine to promote your product or service is the same so you’ll want to optimize your website so that the search engines see it. By doing so, you’ll drive traffic to your website from the people doing searches on specific topics. Strengths: Bing uses “intelligent search” to make searches even more relevant for the user. Weaknesses: It’s fighting against Google, which is a tough battle.
Blogging Platforms: These are tools that are used to create blogs. Some of them, like Blogger, Tumblr, Vox or Xanga are straightforward platforms that are great for people who want to do a simple blog about their vacation, their company or their family reunion. If you’re ready to create a more robust blog that adds a lot of SEO value for your website, you’ll want to use Joomla, Drupal, Typepad or WordPress. These are the blogging platforms used by serious bloggers.
Discussion Boards and Forums: Are you interested in creating an online forum where members of your community can engage with each other and offer each other advice? Then a discussion board or forum is for you. The best-known platforms for forums include Lefora, Zoho, Drupal, PhpBB, Simple Machines, Vanila, JavaBB and vBulletin. Strengths: Forums are a great way to build a relationship with customers and prospects. Weaknesses: They require regular, ongoing time and energy to keep them running properly.
Google: Google is technically not a social media platform, but can be used as a social tool to drive visits to your well-optimized website. Strengths: Ease-of-use and pervasiveness. Weaknesses: Are they spreading their brand across too many channels? Does this confuse people? (Answer: Probably not, but we’re struggling to come up with any weakness for Google. They’re just so darn nice, it’s hard to figure out what they’re not good at. They’re even good at not being evil, you know?)
Email Marketing Platforms: Email can often get overlooked in the world of social media, but if you define social media as tools that help you have a dialogue with your customers and prospects, then email falls into the social media category. Popular email marketing tools include Constant Contact, iContact, ExactTarget and others. Strengths: Email is a highly measurable way to connect with customers and prospects. Weaknesses: Email marketing requires a concerted, ongoing effort if you’re going to do it right.
Flickr: This is a photo-sharing site that can be used to build awareness and drive traffic to your product pages. If you’re selling hunting rifles or tennis rackets or widgets, you’ll want to use Flickr to a) build awareness for your product and b) drive people from Flickr to your website. Strengths: Flickr is easy-to-use and has a clean user-interface. Weaknesses: Photo-sharing sites are important, but they’re not the very first thing you’ll want to work on in your social media campaign.
Howcast: Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a website where you could watch “How To” videos on the topic of your choice? Well, there is and it’s called Howcast. It’s an extremely worthy-competitor to YouTube. Strengths: A great place to upload high-quality content. Weaknesses: The default is still YouTube. Most people are conditioned to automatically type “YouTube” into their browser.
iLike: If you’re a musician, you’ll want to upload your work to iLike. It’s the dominant music application on Facebook, Orkut and hi5. Strengths: Over 50 million music lovers use iLike via Facebook, Orkut, iGoogle and other platforms. Weaknesses: iLike is a crowded venue, which makes it difficult for musicians to break through.
iTunes: This is not the only podcasting site, but it’s the best-known and most popular. If you’re doing interviews with industry experts or if you’re creating mini-radio shows, iTunes is the place to be. Strengths: It’s a well-known, well-respected platform. Weaknesses: If you don’t create scintillating content, people won’t come back for more.
MySpace: Ahhhhh, MySpace. They arguably started this whole social media thing to begin with. Today, MySpace is primarily used as a congregation point for younger people interested in pop culture. They’re evolving and seem to be finding a niche. Strengths: A well-known social media platform that most everybody has visited at one time or another. Weaknesses: They’re not the ubiquitous social media platform they once were.
Picasa: This is a photo organizing, editing and sharing site that’s owned by Google. You can tag photos to enable quick searches by users. Strengths: As with most Google services, Picasa is easy-to-use and loads very quickly. Weaknesses: Photo sharing is important, but it’s not the very first thing you’d want to work on in your social media campaign.
Vimeo: Think of Vimeo as a high-end YouTube. It’s perfect for people interested in sharing their videos with a community of positive, encouraging creative professionals. Strengths: You gotta love a site that oozes upbeat, optimistic, life-affirming energy that Vimeo does. Weaknesses: It’s not a default site the way YouTube is, but that may change in the near future.
Yahoo: Like Google and Bing, this is not technically a social media platform. But it is a tool that ultimately can drive traffic to your website. Be sure to optimize your website so that search engines like Yahoo can see it. Strengths: Yahoo is one of the work horses of the search engine world, so it’s always a good idea to keep it on your radar screen. Weaknesses: Is Yahoo a search engine? An online portal? A web magazine? Perhaps it’s all of these things. And perhaps that’s not a weakness after all.
YouTube: Of course, YouTube is one of the better-known platforms used to promote businesses. The key to YouTube is to keep the videos short and sweet. Make sure they solve the “what’s in it for me” equation. YouTube is perfect for “How To” videos, but it’s not a good place to upload the CEOs annual speech to shareholders. Strengths: YouTube is ubiquitous. Weaknesses: It’s a cluttered environment that can sometimes have some pretty racy videos on it. (Or so we’ve heard.)
Social Media Platforms that help you Share:
Crowdstorm: If you want to get the inside scoop on digital cameras, DVD players, televisions or other products, Crowdstorm is for you. The Crowdstorm community is built around the idea that when people share information about products, everybody benefits. Strengths: An easy-to-use website that leverages the power of ratings and reviews for the benefit of users. Weaknesses: Since the site crowdsources reviews, it’s not necessarily an effective tool for marketers. But it’s always good to check with sites like these to see how your product is being perceived in the marketplace.
Delicious: This is a social bookmarking service owned by Yahoo. When someone tags your article, video or blog post with a Delicious bookmark, it’s the equivalent of a “vote.” The more votes you get, the more visibility your content has on the Delicious website. Strengths: It’s everywhere. Weaknesses: You have to have a lot of traffic and a lot of votes to show up on the radar screen.
Digg: Similar to Delicious in that people vote for articles, videos and blog posts they like. If your content receives enough Diggs, it’s promoted to the front page for millions of visitors to see. Strengths: Like Delicious, Digg is everywhere. Weaknesses: You have to have a lot of traffic and a lot of votes to show up on the radar screen.
Feedback: This is a social media platform that allows people to provide feedback to companies as diverse as Starbucks and Chipotle. Members of the Feedback community can read reviews and make additional comments. Strengths: An innovative use of “crowd-sourcing” for information. Weaknesses: Since the site crowdsources reviews, it’s not necessarily an effective tool for marketers. But it’s always good to check with sites like these to see how your product is being perceived in the marketplace.
HootSuite: This is a tool that allows you to manage multiple social media channels through one dashboard. If you have a company with more than one contributor to your social media program, HootSuite is a good solution. Strengths: A very easy-to-use interface. Simple set-up, yet still powerful. Weaknesses: If your social media program is no more extensive than updating a Twitter account, then HootSuite would be over-kill.
Reddit: Similar to Digg and Delicious. Reddit is a source for what’s new and popular on the web. Users can vote articles up or down on the site, so readers can check out the hot, trending topics from blogs, newspapers and other sources around the globe. Strengths: Like Digg and Delicious, Reddit is everywhere. Weaknesses: You have to have a lot of traffic and a lot of votes to show up on the radar screen.
Scribd: This is the largest social publishing and reading site in the world. You simply upload your speech, ebook or PowerPoint presentation to the site so that others can be awed by your wisdom and expertise. Strengths: A great way to potentially get your content in front of thousands of readers. Weaknesses: There are a lot of other people competing for the same eyeballs.
SlideShare: One of the better-known places to upload your content for sharing with others. Take your PowerPoint, your ebook, your Podcast or just about any other content and share it with the SlideShare community. Strengths: Like Scribd, SlideShare is a great way to get in front of a large number of visitors. Weaknesses: There are a lot of other people competing for the same eyeballs.
StumbleUpon: Very similar to Digg, Delicious and Reddit. When you rate a website that you like using StumbleUpon, it’s automatically shared with like-minded people. And it helps you find great sites your friends recommend. Strengths: StumbleUpon helps spread your content to people not regularly exposed to your products and/or services. Weaknesses: Competes with several other well-established tools, like Digg, Delicious and Reddit.
TweetDeck: Like HootSuite, TweetDeck provides a way to track many of your social media channels on one dashboard. It can be a time-saver and a productivity-enhancer, assuming you’re not easily distracted. Strengths: It’s very easy to set-up and get started. Weaknesses: Like all dashboard tools, it can lead to distractions for employees who are easily … Whoa! Is that a fly on the ceiling or just a speck of dust?
Wikipedia: It still amazes us that this user-generated encyclopedia is run by just a few dozen employees (along with hundreds of thousands of contributors around the globe). It’s a great tool for legitimate entries. Don’t try to game the system by adding overly-promotional posts. But if your entry will be helpful to the Wikipedia community at large, have at it. Strengths: It’s a great tool for uploading legitimate, helpful content about your product, service or company. Weaknesses: If your target market is over the age of 40, they might struggle with Wikipedia’s miniscule type.
Yelp: This platform offers user-generated reviews on cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play. Yelp has an augmented reality Smart Phone application that makes using it on the run a blast. Strengths: User-generated reviews are a great way for customers and prospects to find out about your business. Weaknesses: Some people try to game the system with faux reviews, but Yelp does a pretty good job of keeping those faux reviews at bay.
A.PR. Firm can help you address these points and get the conversation started and will even monitor your social media platforms for you. Just contact me!