What are your favorite social networks?

In a day when social networking could mean everything marketing your company, it can also mean a lot of trial and error. Not every social network will work for every company as a form of marketing.

With hundreds of social networks out there and a limited amount of time each day, which should you choose?

Let’s take a look at three of the larger social networks and which one may work best for your business.

Twitter

Twitter is the social network that requires the most attention. It is not a network that will allow you to sign up, walk away for 6 months and still get business. You should be able to dedicate at least a little bit of time each day to Twitter if you plan to use it as a marketing tool.

It is a great platform to meet other businesses as well as other people within your industry. Twitter allows you to post updates about your business, advertise new products or services, and interact with other people all in 140 characters or less.

For businesses that are not too sure about the marketing power of Twitter, spend a little bit of time once a week with Twitter. Over time as your profile begins to grow and you gain new followers you will get an inside look at what your potential clients want to know. This will help you not only market to those on Twitter, but others on other social networks.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has been one of the quieter social networks. Its user base has been slowly building over the years but it hasn’t been in the spotlight as much as Twitter and Facebook have. LinkedIn is a “business” social network. It allows you to friend current and former co-workers and share information about your professional life.

Part of LinkedIn is the ability to claim your business. On your business page you have the ability to add in information about your specialties, your history and your website. If your target audience is other businesses, this may be a perfect place for you to inform them of what your company has to offer.

Some of your employees may already be signed up on LinkedIn so it’s important to at least have a profile attached to your company. As your employees’ friends read their profiles, they have the ability to click on your company and learn more.  Anyone who has a company email address has the ability to control the company page, claim it now before one of your employees does. You can populate your company profile page with the information you want people to know about your business.

LinkedIn also offers the ability to pay for advertising. You can set up a campaign with up to 15 different ads to advertise your business. Their network is a little pricey in comparison to other ad networks with a minimum of $2.00 per click on an ad.

Facebook

One of the founding social networks, Facebook was originally geared towards college students and quickly evolved into the largest social network. Between Pages, Places, Groups and Ads most companies have a wide variety of options when it comes to marketing on Facebook. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to Twitter, but you want to dig into a social network a little more than LinkedIn, then Facebook is the social network for you.

If your company has a physical location, the first thing you should do is to claim your Facebook Place. Depending on the type of business you run, people may or may not check into your office when they visit. It may just be your employees. Nonetheless when they do check in, it advertises your business on their friend’s news feed.

Having a Facebook Page for your business can also help encourage people to learn more about your business. Facebook Pages is a public way for people to contact your business with questions and isn’t going to benefit your business if you don’t have the time to maintain it.

One perk of Facebook Pages is the ability to advertise your Facebook Page to potential clients. Facebook’s Ad Network allows businesses to create ads that will display on the right hand side of their clients profiles. Businesses can choose specific demographics to target, which will limit unwanted clicks. If they do click to your page they have the ability to “like” your page, giving them exposure to your company on their news feed every time you post something new to your Facebook Page.

The important thing to remember about social networks is that social networks are not a one-time thing. When you sign up for Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook people who add you as a friend will know when you haven’t updated your profile in months.  If you are not sure if you have the time to dedicate to a social network, started slow with LinkedIn and your Facebook Place. As you become more comfortable with social networking, you can evolve into other networks such as Facebook Pages and Twitter.

Don’t hesitate to ask other members of your industry if there are other networks out there that they use. Many industries have their own networks where members of that industry can share information and news.

What are your favorite social networks?

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