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July 11, 2013

follow-us exampleThere are many social media networks for you to make a profile for your business. There are the big four: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Linkedin. Beyond that there are a few more fringe ones like youtube, flickr, myspace, and pinterest. And even going beyond the fringe ones, social media like functions are built into pandora, netflix, amazon kindle, and a host of others. So how do you know which ones to choice from?

What is a social media profile

To start with the very basics, there are two common ways to integrate social media into your website. One is to allow people to share your web page with their friends. The other is to link to your business’s profile onto a social media network. This is the latter, we are talking about, your business’s social media profiles, not to be confused with sharing your website on social media. That is an other topic for another day.

And while I am making points for clarity, I will add:  This is for the United States of America centric business. Some of this may differ for other regions of the world.

Why do you want a social media profile

The very short and simple answer to this is simple. Your customers are there waiting for you to communicate with them. These are effective, simple, free tools to speak with your customer base. Most users of these social media networks are connected on their smart phones, tablets and computers. Since they are on social media networks consuming information often, you should be there too.

The Big Boys

Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Linkedin all have active user bases that are very large, hundred million or better. Facebook being the biggest sports over a billion active users.  Yes a billion, as in one million times one thousand.

These four social media networks are not only large but very general purpose, which is why you should have your business listed on at least one. Don’t know which one to do, pick one you already use. If you personally have an account on one of these sites, start your business profile there and then work on the others. The reason why I recommend starting with the ones you use, is because you will know how they work and will have a feel for who your audience might be. Each social media network also has unspoken standards about what is expected of a business account. If you are already on that social media network, you likely know the expectations.

It’s my opinion you should have a facebook page, and very likely you should have a twitter account at least. I almost think that is bare minimum. If you only have experience with one, go with that one first.

If you don’t have a personal account on any social media network, well, I guess I would say start with facebook. Make a personally account, use facebook for a little bit and then start your first facebook page for your business.

What about the others

So other than the forementioned, there are tons of others, what about them? While I think most businesses should focus their social media efforts on the big four, there are exceptions.  Do you make videos? Look at YouTube or Vimeo. Are you a photographer?  Think about flickr. Is music made or produced by you? Give MySpace a try. If images of neat things are often authored by you, hop on the Pinterest band wagon.

Although I didn’t list YouTube or Pinterest in the “big boys” category, both are sizable social media networks. In fact, YouTube is even bigger than Twitter, but it’s sort of a niche type of social media network, not as general purpose.

I would not worry as much about these fringe social media networks, unless you have the right type of content for that service.

What about the other others

You will also hear about other social media networks and so many people are putting social media like functionality into their products like:  Amazon, Pandora, and Kindle. I say,  “Don’t worry about those just yet.”  Most of them have not developed tools for businesses. Their primary focus is for the consumer of their product/service.

Alan has been creating websites since CompuServe was huge. Today he still is developing websites using technologies such as CSS3, HTML5, jQuery and CakePHP.

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