What is social networking and what social media outlets should my business be on?

A business should not be on every social network. What are the right social networking outlets for your business? To know that, consider what each is good at doing. But remember, the social media landscape changes VERY quickly, and keeping abreast of new channels is a part of a good long term social media strategy. If you want to do your best in social media, but don’t have a full time marketing department to manage all those channels, the solution is to find those very few that are right for YOUR business and its industry. Here’s a rundown of several of the CURRENT social media biggies.


Businesses use Twitter to communicate with their network and drive website traffic (in 140 characters or less). What it’s good for: sharing links to content, quickly maintaining a presence, building and following others not known personally. All its content seems pretty great and concise, but it takes a lot of work to get your content to stand out.


Facebook is social MASS media, making it extremely competitive to gain attention there. What it’s good for: reaching the social media mass market, sharing the informal side of your business, developing an engaged community. Users expect businesses to act more like friends, and less like companies.


Businesses use LinkedIn to build and collaborate with a network of colleagues. What it’s good for: attracting and contacting talent, establishing professional credibility, learning from colleagues. It’s the most suited-up network, rather conservative, and reserved for business-focused conversations. Your business-related solution content can lead to perceptions of your company as a thought leader, which tends to bolster B2B sales strategies.


When you post content to Google+, it’s more likely to rank well in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). That’s because, much to the dismay of many other social networks, Google considers factors such as +1s of content when deciding how high to rank it.


This allows users to visually share and discover new interests by posting (also known as ‘pinning’) images or videos to their own or others’ inboards. Visuals tell a more powerful story than text alone, and Pinterest makes sharing them more effective. Research shows it’s more effective at driving traffic compared to other social media sites, even Facebook.


An online presentation website, its users upload presentations, Word and PDF files, then tag and share them on other social media sites, or embed them in their blogs and company websites. It can be a two-way process, letting companies connect with customers and clients in new ways, generating new business and enhancing their online image.


It’s different for an all too obvious reason – it’s all about (and pretty much only about) video. Use it to entertain or educate prospects. It’s owned by Google, so rest assured content here is effectively indexed for search engines.


YouTube has a high profile, and it’s FREE. Vimeo has filled the need for a professional video display environment, with advanced features and a more nuanced audience. YouTube is good for high exposure. Vimeo is better for building a brand rep.


This platform is built for business with a physical location, especially those where purchases at those physical locations account for a significant part of sales.


This is a photo sharing tool that lets users take photos, apply image filters, and share via many different social channels simultaneously. But it doesn’t do a good job (yet, at least) of producing search engine credit or allowing for analytics to guide improved results.


Quora does questions and answers. It allows for specific subject matters, and it allows for efficient grading of expertise. It’s best used for research (if you’re wanting to learn) and thought leadership (if you’re wanting to lead or teach or gain attention), either for the entire company or for specific employees.

Online User Review Sites

They let you manage perceptions of your customers and potential customers. What they’re good for: managing perceptions (good and bad) of your products and services, keeping abreast of community opinions, and responding to reviews. Just like social media sites, there’s an ever changing list of players in the space. You already know many: Yelp, AngiesList, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Google Maps, CitySearch, InsiderPages, and on and on. And the list will surely keep changing.

Are there any others?

Oh yeah. Hundreds. Thousands? Maybe. And maybe there’s one that better (and less competitive) than any of the above for your business. How do you find it? Try going to Google and doing a search for “social media for X” (where your industry is X).


Want to unload a project from your to-do list and make your life easier? Or need some help making dry content really pop?