“Which social networks are best for me to sign up?” This is probably one of the top questions that we hear when we are setting up a client’s social profile and website. The answer is more complex than you’d think, primarily because it depends on several factors. Part of the mystery that surrounds the decision to sign up for networks is because many people new to the social network field have no idea what the primary and/or “best” uses for each profile is. I’ve heard more times than I can count “I don’t get [insert social network].” This post aims at describing what Essence Interactive, Inc believes to be the best uses of each network and how people in common industries can use it to their advantage.
Facebook is a unique social profile because there is several ways to use it to maximize your online social profile. You start on the website by creating a “profile” and then once you have your profile, you can create pages for businesses or for your professional image.
PROFILES: The best use for the profiles as it relates to building an online image is to keep it closed for personal friends and family. The reason for this is because there is a maximum amount of “friends” that you can have on Facebook, and there isn’t a maximum number of people who can “like” your page. You use Facebook as a less-than-public blog where you can keep family and friends updated on your regular day-to-day life. There will be a lot of information sharing on the rest of your public profiles and it’s nice to give your friends and family a more personal glimpse of your life where they don’t have to sift through the yards of posts related to your profession. Profiles -> Friends and Family
PAGES: Pages can be a useful tool for you. Pages allow a fairly unlimited amount of people to “like” the page, which exposes your brand to more and more people over time. You use pages to share value with the people who “like” your profile. You can also choose to share the information posted on the page via your personal profile as well to share with your friends and family, but you can choose not to as well. You can share stories, photos, news, discounts, and create incentives that drive people to your page. Pages are good for promoting your brand as a product and for providing technical support. Don’t count on it to have a far “reach” (which is when your information is shared by someone, and then someone on their profile shares it, and so on).
Pages -> Consumers & Customer Support
Twitter has a variety of uses, and how each objective is carried out can vary. It’s not generally a tool that you can easily get into. You need to “shape” your use of it, which means that you need to spend time using the tool. Twitter is far more interactive in many ways than Facebook, because in order to increase your “reach” you will need to actively participate and interact with other users. Some people choose to share their day-to-day details with others. The kind of posts like this that work well is if the information shared relates to a lot of people or is something a lot of people want to do. “I just climbed Mt. Everest” is a big feat. “I just read another magazine” is not. Which one do you think would get more attention?
Aside from discussing your personal details, one of the more popular ways to use Twitter is to answer questions people have about your specialization or to offer short tips. You can also, like on your Facebook page, offer incentives.
How about an inspirational quote regarding your field?
No matter what kind of content you intend to share, you will need to spend time responding to others, and “cultivating” your profile so that it keeps people engaged. You will need to send mentions (using the @ sign in front of their username) to people who are not following you so that they will consider following you and you will want to respond to anyone asap. Twitter is a “real time” social network, so if you take a day or two to respond, people will forget what they had said originally. If you respond immediately, they will feel heard. Feeling heard from a customer perspective can only increase your improve your customer satisfaction rates.
Twitter -> New/Potential Consumers & Customer Support
Linkedin is to be used strictly for professional reasons and professional reasons only. It is extremely faux-paus to use Linkedin for anything else and you will likely hear from your fellow Linkin members if you engage in non-professional sharing. You should connect to people you know that are of a similar business status as you are. If you are a business owner in the field of carpets, connect to floor manufacturers and other related company CEOs. Your connections should be strategic. In this sense, you are really looking at who can help you in a pinch and who you can help in a pinch. First you connect to people, and then you join groups and discussions and add value to those discussions. Then you connect to more people through the six-degrees of connection and expand that way. This way you can connect to people in your industry or related industries or even people you simply admire and have an increased chance of interacting in a meaningful way.
Linkedin -> Other professionals.
Tumblr tends to be a more creative stomping ground than people sharing forward-moving information. It’s not that the information shared on Tumblr is not good. It tends to be filled with images or videos with a message about life in some fashion. Many people use it simply to build and store media that they find entertaining or inspirational. It’s also a place for you to collect quotes. Tumblr has a very large reach if you are active enough. If you upload a stunning photo of you climbing Mt. Everest, with an inspirational quote photoshopped on it, you will most likely see that post shared several times by the end of the day if you’ve cultivated your friends list.
Tumblr -> Content Curation
Google+ is currently still trying to get a feel for what it’s primary use will be. The main flow seems to be a place for peers to connect, whether it is other professionals or other hobbyists. You can connect with people who have similar interest. In many ways, Google+ is a hybrid of the major social networks. So with this emergent property, it may take a few months for Google+ to get it’s sea legs, so to speak. Of course, the best way to encourage this distillation process is to hop on and use it however you feel most comfortable, but most importantly, USE it.
Google+ -> Just Use It.
These are the major social networks out there that are used by most people. Nearly any person in any industry could use a profile on each of these for various uses and reasons. There are, of course, other social networks that are specialized for your industry. If you are interested in learning more about those, feel free to send an email or drop a note and we can provide a consultation to get you on your way.
Perhaps the most important two cents you can get out of this article is… it doesn’t matter which social networks you choose to work, just work them. Use them even if you don’t understand. You will start to understand the more you use them. Dive in.
Good luck and have fun!
PS. If you have profiles are start one, be sure to add these profiles so we can keep up with you and how you’re doing!
Linkedin: Tabitha Chapman
Google+: Tabitha Chapman