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Social Networking Overload: Which Social Network’s Could Help Your Business Grow the Most?

With so many social networks online, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed trying to determine which site to update with what, or whether to create an account on a lesser-known or new site, such as Google+ or Tumblr? Check out our summary below to help you determine which site(s) would be the most beneficial to your business.

  • Facebook is good for both photo and text postings. Also it has the largest user base, therefore the largest potential target base.
  • Twitter, on the other hand, is more for text postings, although you can still post images, however users have to click on a link to see the image. Also, the 140-character limit makes advertising a bit tedious. For businesses that can get away with microblogging without appearing annoying, Twitter was created with you in mind.
  • Google+ is a combination of these two, although it is slightly more and slightly less than both. You can post both images and text, however, the extensive privacy controls sometimes create confusing situations as far as commenting on posts or images. This is especially true on the Google+iPhone/iPad app. Also, since Google+ is still the beta stage, and therefore remains an “invitation only” social network, potential users have a very high susceptibility to being turned off. Also, businesses have been advised to wait to start pages when Google+ rolls out the business pages.
  • Tumblr is a relatively new microblogging site, created in 2007, with a cross-platform format. The ability and easiness to post images, video, text, audio, quotes, as well as hosting your own blog, let’s a multitude of diverse users utilize the site in different ways. With a user retention rate of 85%, it is increasingly being seen as an alternative to Twitter, which only holds a 40% user retention rate.
  • MySpace is an exception in its own right. One of the first social networks to go online, the company that started as a social networking site in 2003 is now almost defunct in that sense, and is instead one of the foremost destinations for social entertainment, such as bands, musicians, actors, etc. that are just starting out. After being overtaken by Facebook in 2009, MySpace is down to just 400 employees, pushing it into the backseat of social media.
  • LinkedIn is a professional networking site, allowing professionals and business to network with each other. Colleagues or friends can write a letter of recommendation on your profile, which is then visible to anyone who views your profile. With more than 120 million users as of March 2011, this network spans across 200 countries and is available in a multitude of languages. Users can post their resume’s on their profile, which can then be downloaded at the click of a button in Word, online, or PDF format.
  • YouTube is a video-sharing site, that was created in early 2005 by three former employees of PayPal. YouTube allows users to record, upload, and share videos with both users and non-users alike. Videos such as TV clips, movie clips and trailers, music videos, video blogs, etc. have transformed the way we interact with each other and the world around us.
  • Foursquare is a very new location-based social networking site. It is one of the only social networks that is exclusively used on GPS-enabled mobile phones. When users “check-in” a list of nearby stores, restaurants, and other venues appears, allowing users to explore the area around them. This application is also an excellent way for small businesses to advertise for free. By offering tips, specials, and other content, users and businesses can interact with each other on an almost personal basis.
Speaking of the iPhone/iPad app, this another consideration to take into account. Does the social network you are considering have a smartphone app, and if so, is it available on a wide variety of softwares? Businesses utilizing Facebook, Twitter, Fourquare, and Youtube still have the biggest advantage to reach their customer base via smartphone apps, especially since society in general is increasingly mobile and continues to transition to smartphones. With the above information about some of the most popular social networks, you should now be able to make an accurate assessment as to which social networks would most benefit your business.

Myspace: from Social Networking to Social Entertainment

Remember that giant social networking powerhouse called MySpace? It was the most popular social networking site in the U.S. from 2006 through 2008 but was taken over by Facebook in 2009 (currently the second most popular site in the U.S.). MySpace has since changed its name (to Myspace), its logo, and redesigned its website several times despite steadily losing visitors to Facebook. Myspace has even changed its target audience and most recently, changed owners. News Corp finally sold Myspace to Specific Media for $35 million in 2011 after buying it in 2005 for $580 million which is an insanely huge loss. Super pop star/actor/producer Justin Timberlake also purchased a substantial chunk of Myspace in hopes of bringing sexy back.

So what is Myspace good for now? Around 2006, Myspace was experimenting with allowing small businesses to promote themselves through pages and ads, but they were not as effective as Facebook. Myspace is, however, an ideal website for the entertainment business. Myspace has become very music and film prominent.  As a matter of fact, the first thing that comes to mind when a lot of people think of Myspace is music. This is great for huge major stars, directors, producers and musicians to promote their work as well as the much smaller almost “underground” entertainment companies to showcase their stuff. Just look at bands and musicians like Panic! At The Disco, Lilly Allen, Kate Nash and The Devil Wears Prada who owe much of their success to Myspace.

Unfortunately, other small businesses outside of the entertainment business would have a hard time advertising on Myspace. Myspace teamed up Citysearch to start MySpace Local, a virtual directory of local businesses essentially made “to promote [themselves] and communicate with consumers through a social lens.” Which was brilliant on paper but has since been scrapped to focus on the social entertainment aspect.

LinkedIn: The professional Facebook

Maybe you’ve soiled your name on MySpace or Facebook or perhaps just refuse to support the ever-changing ways of social media. LinkedIn has proven to be something else. LinkedIn is essentially a professional Facebook. I would say it’s the “behind the scenes” networking of businesses, employers and employees. It’s the network that lets you post your resume, recommendations, (work) experiences, education, connections and more business-y stuff. It’s the kind of website that you would only have profile pictures of you in business professional clothing. So how popular is LinkedIn? According to Socialnomics, a new member joins LinkedIn every second, 10% of all college students in the U.S. have an account and its in the top three most popular social media websites. LinkedIn has become essential in making business connections through social media in a professional setting. Through connecting with business partners and employers, it’s a perfect way to either get a job or collaborate with other businesses.

But let’s face it, it’s no Twitter or Facebook. Yeah, it’s expanding, but a lot of people who have it, tend to be distracted by their other social media websites, like Facebook or Twitter, and don’t spend time on LinkedIn. As a business, LinkedIn is not aggressive enough with its promotions and marketability. How exactly is LinkedIn making capital? It hardly has any ads or way to make income yet it has tons of investors and tons of cash. And how many businesses and business people are actually using LinkedIn? Even more, how many even know what it is?

When it comes down to it, LinkedIn is a different kind of social media. It’s much more private, professional and almost dull. But when it comes to connecting with business owners and possible employees/employers, it works fairly well and it lets you advertise yourself to others in a very professional way.