The New Way to Think about Social Media

When people think social media websites, they usually keep them separated in their minds. In other words, there is no need to group Twitter with Facebook or LinkedIn with Digg because all have separate audiences and all appeal to different types of people. Each social network works independently from the other, so businesses generally treat them the same way—as different. Recently some social networks have partnered up to make things easier on businesses, but nonetheless they remain separated in the minds of company owners. This, obviously, makes complete sense. However, the sheer number of social media sites exploding onto the marketing scene leaves room for another type of separation. If businesses think about their goals as a company, or more specifically as a marketing department, I think they will find that many of these social networking sites can be grouped together.

goals

Staying active and factoring in every single social media site available can be a bit overwhelming, so it is important to realize the different benefits each network can have for your company. For example, if your company is primarily interested in brand exposure, there is no need to put all of your focus on a social network that works best for site traffic. Consider a few of the most popular business goals when it comes to social networking, and then consider the social networking sites that fit into that goal:

5 Marketing Goals and Their Corresponding Networks

1. Brand Exposure—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr

Every company wants their brand to be recognizable. If this is something your company struggles with consider using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr. In other words, go toward the big networks. Although the people who see your logo or brand name may not stop to buy your product, you will be getting the largest number of eyes on your brand; thus helping your brand increase publicity

2. Drive Traffic—StumbleUpon, Digg

Social media sites normally drive traffic to a company’s social media accounts and not necessarily to the actual company website. For this reasons, companies are urged to put links to their company websites on their social media accounts as much as possible (without looking like spam; limit yourself to 4 or 5). However, visitors on social media sites are usually interested in your news or your deals, and this doesn’t involve going to your actual website. The two best social networks to drive traffic to your site are probably StumbleUpon and Digg. If you have an article or a webpage on the home page of one or both of these sites, chances are that webpage/article will get a lot of traffic. Although the traffic may be short-lived, it’s definitely better than nothing.

3. Credibility—Quora, YouTube

If you want visitors to understand how knowledgeable you are about your subject, Quora and YouTube are the best places to make this happen (after all, Twitter only allows 140 characters). With Quora, you can answer questions that pertain to your topic. People will be able to vote on whether or not your answer is adequate. If you continually do this and get a lot of positive feedback, people will be looking for your answers. In addition, YouTube is a great place to put out a video about your subject. If people want to learn how to do something, they often turn to YouTube. This should give you plenty of time to show that you know your stuff, and once again people can vote and comment; thus hopefully helping your cause.

4. Interaction with Customers—Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr

Once again, the big name networks are best for this marketing goal. It is not uncommon to find yourself with hundreds of Facebook fans and/or Twitter followers, and there is no denying that YouTube draws in millions. One quick message and you have just reached more people than you would with those small networks.

5. SEO—Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Tumblr, Digg, StumbleUpon

Almost every social networking site works well if you’re looking to increase your SEO success. Links shared on social media sites are taken into account when determining page rank, so the general rule of thumb is “the more the better.”

What about LinkedIn and Google+?

You will notice that I did not mention LinkedIn, yet LinkedIn is certainly one of the most popular social networking sites around. This site works great when wanting to connect with business professionals or possible investors with business proposals, but in general is not recommended when it comes to the public. Nonetheless, it is still an important network for every company to understand.

I also did not mention Google+. As most of you know, business pages just emerged onto the scene. It appears as those this site will work in a similar fashion to Twitter, so it will be great for connecting with customers and improving brand exposure. Only time will tell!

Photo Credit: cloud9media.wordpress.com

Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to document management. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including business phone systems to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading business B2B Directory, Business.com.

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Good point on the fact that social media networks all have different audiences and can be used for different purposes.