Accounting for 16.6% of time spent online in 2011, social networks capture the attention of many different ages and walks of life. The landscape of social networking is changing from people trying to gain popularity to people trying to find ways to make their lives easier. This is being done through businesses offering online exclusive deals that consumers cannot find anywhere else besides their official social network pages. Social networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest all offer ways to interact with people and increase awareness of your brand. But what exactly is the difference between each network? Why not just choose one and stick to it?
Facebook is one of the most popular social networks in the world having over 500 million people signed up for the service as of 2011. Additionally, over half of the 500 million that are registered log on and check the website at least once a day. One of the top reasons Facebook can be helpful to your business is the ability to buy ad space. By purchasing ad space, your advertisement will appear to the audience that you want to target. For example, say your business is a guitar repair center; you can have your ad shown to users between ages 13–30, who “like” playing guitar and live in a location that you specify. It is a simple and effective way to advertise to your target audience. For a broader and cheaper approach, your company can also create a Facebook page for your business. By doing this, people can “like” your page and see updates from your company such as deals and sales that they might not find anywhere else, giving them a reason to continuously check your company’s page. Facebook has helped many companies gain more exposure and get more business, and your business could potentially be next.
Related Article: Facebook: How to Use the New Timeline for Business Pages
Google+ is a new social network, but it has already begun showing how it can be a benefit to businesses. While it may not yet have the large number of users that Facebook does, it has something that no other network has, Google. The search engine Goliath created this network, which is similar to Facebook in that it lets businesses create “pages” to engage with followers. But the killer feature that this social network has that no others do is that it links Google+ to Google Search Plus Your World, making it an integral part of Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization. This means that any business that wants to improve its online presence through SEO must create a Google+ page and be an active user.
Related Article: Google Search Plus Your World: Strategies to Improve Your SEO
Twitter burst onto the social networking scene a few years ago and has continued to grow and expand ever since. In December 2011 alone, Twitter drew 37.5 million unique visitors. Twitter allows users to send out 140 character “tweets” to say what they want. What makes Twitter different from other websites, is that it offers businesses the ability to interact with customers in real-time, and stay up to date with the latest industry news and opinions. Through the use of hash tags businesses can create chat forums, or run contests or reach a wider audience. For example, if you own “Chester’s Cheeses,” you could send out the tweet, “We will randomly pick someone to win a wheel of our finest cheese. All you need to do is use the hash tag ‘#chesterscheeses.’ What this could do is make “#chesterscheeses” a trending topic on Twitter. Even if it doesn’t, each user that sees the tag may click on it to learn more, giving your brand a wider reach and, potentially bringing in new customers.
Related Article: This is Why Your Tweets Are Boring
The newest out of all of the social networks discussed is Pinterest. However this doesn’t make it any less powerful, Pinterest is already making a name for itself. Users create their own personal bulletin boards onto which they “pin” images they find interesting while surfing the Internet. It has exploded in popularity and is the newest way for companies to promote their products by ‘pinning’ captivating images. Users can then ‘re-pin’ those images thousands or millions of times, thus furthering the product’s exposure for free. For example, if you own a clothing boutique, you can create a “board,” (similar to a personal page) featuring pictures of your latest clothing available. Users can then comment on, like, or re-pin those images onto their own boards. When a user clicks on those images it will take them directly to your website, potentially increasing traffic and sales. It is estimated that Pinterest has already been generating more referral traffic to websites than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined!
As you can see, all of these social networks have their own unique way that they can help you promote your business and engage with your audience. While there is no clear “king” of social networks, you can become the king of your business by effectively using these networks to reach new customers and gain more business.
What’s your preferred social network? Why? Tell us by commenting below…