Which social media sites should I use?

With a new social media site or app seemingly popping up every day and the next big thing written about by magazines, you often hear “which social media sites should I use?” The answer really all depends on what you want to accomplish, what you’re good at, and what your resources are.

The nature of your business will define what site to join. Some sites are specialized in the type of content that is shared while others limit the amount of length of exposure. The first thing to consider is exposure. Where are most of the fish biting? The answer is simple: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+, and Instagram. These are some of the most trafficked properties on the internet today so any effort put into them would result in instant results (positive or negative). On the other side of the equation are specialist properties that are designed to be geared toward a specific industry. This is common in, for example, the real estate industry where the industry is large enough and well-funded enough to support a specialist effort. Chances are that you too are in industry with specialist social media sites that are just a Google Search away.

The next consideration is for you to figure out what you are good at. If you are a good writer that can create compelling content in the form of articles, blog posts, and new releases, then just about any text-based social media stream site such as Facebook would be a good choice. However, if you are a talented graphic designer, a photographer, or even have skill in front of a video camera, then you might consider other options such as Youtube, Instagram, or Pinterest, although those skills can be applied to both Facebook and Google+ almost as well. Finally, if you are a networking and public relations star who can hold people’s attention and become a hub for the latest news, tips, and advice, then Twitter might be your best bet.

Finally, you need to assess the resources you have at your disposal. Chances are that you might have someone in your office post for you or update your feed on a regular basis. You must determine if they are competent enough to handle the task at hand. You must keep in mind that a social media presence is a permanent customer service engagement with everyone at the same time. Customer service people sometimes make mistakes but those mistakes are often on a one-on-one basis and are over the phone. If they make a mistake on the internet, everyone sees it and it’s there to stay. Finally, determine the amount of time you have to dedicate to this effort. One of the keys to success in social media is a consistent presence. If you work hard to build a following early on but do not sustain that effort, your followers might drop off or begin to ignore or forget you and most of your work would go to waste.

You have many options when it comes to social media sites. It’s important to understand the pros, cons, and practices of each one. It’s also suggestible to do upfront legwork to find those niche properties where you can become a real authority on your subject matter. Finally, make sure you put your best foot forward in terms of what you put out there and presence you maintain.

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