Hey! In this video we’ll get a “lay of the land” in the realm of social media. There are some really big social networks that are important to know about, but there are also smaller, more niche networks that can be really valuable to your business, too. This video will help you understand what’s out there, and how to figure out which social networks you need to be a part of.
When getting started with social media, it helps to sort all the different networks into categories so that you can understand where you need to focus your attention.
Let’s start with some of the biggest social networks out there. For example, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn have some very big audiences. Did you know that Facebook alone has more than a billion users across the globe? This means that your existing and future customers are likely participating in these huge networks, so if you’re a business, you should probably consider having a presence on these large networks so you can find them there.
But beyond the big ones, you’ll also find niche, or industry-specific players that cater to specific topics or specific audiences who really know their stuff and are looking for more detailed or insider content. Think about sites like TripAdvisor for social travel reviews, or Opentable in the restaurant space. There are lots of different sites out there dedicated to lots of different industries, and you should search around to find the most important ones for your business.
And although membership on these sites might be smaller, those members can be exactly the kinds of people you’re looking to attract.
Another thing to think about when you’re deciding where you should participate, is the purpose of each social network. For example, some social networks are mostly used for personal relationships. Some are more focused on sharing content, and some are used more for professional networking.
Let’s dig into that a bit more. Personal networks are one way that people keep in touch with friends and family online, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t participate as a business: people discuss products and services all the time. You just need to be aware of the context. That means your updates should be light, interesting and useful — not salesy. For example, a vintage clothing shop could post photos of a customer carrying a fabulous vintage handbag, and that might get referenced or shared by people on the network, exposing the business to more people.
Content sharing networks give potential customers information they can sink their teeth into: facts, figures, graphics, reviews, and things like that. For example, YouTube, where that same vintage clothing store could publish videos that show “how to wear it,” or Pinterest, where beautiful photos of ‘street style’ outfits could be featured.
Professional networks tend to be aimed at the business world and attract people looking to network, find jobs or hire people. Again, it’s important to know your context here: you’re not likely to get much of a response by trying to sell vintage clothing here, but you might be able to locate your next employee.
On the other hand, if you’re a business that sells to other businesses, this might be exactly where you want to advertise your products and services to other professionals in very specific industries or job roles.
In the end, it’s all about understanding the objectives of each network, and the people hanging out there that you want to connect with.
The big networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, and others have lots of users, so you’re likely to find lots of people there. But beyond that, you might find smaller networks dedicated to exactly what you do, filled with people who are super-interested in the types of products or services you offer.
With each network, spend some time looking around to see how people are using it. This will help you better understand how you can participate in the conversations, or what kinds of content you might share.
- different types of networks
- understanding their contexts
- the best ways to get involved.