By Susan Tucker
Curious about all the sites out there geared to the business professional? Here are 15 to get you moving in the right direction. For the most efficient use of your time with social media marketing, it’s best to explore your buyers with a Buyer Persona, that will help you determine the best places to spend your time.
I predict a shift toward niche social media networking sites and always recommend small business marketers focus on their own assets such as their website, customer service and product development.
Here are 15 Social Networking Sites for Business Professionals:
General Social Media Networks
Long a general purpose social media giant, Facebook is in the process of a major overhaul that is making it trickier for small businesses to “cut through the clutter”. Quality content and uber targeted ads are going to be the way to go with Facebook in the future in order for small businesses to find the engagement they need to make it worthwhile.
Tumblr allows your business to connect with users on all levels. Text, videos and images are all prevalent there, so it offers great networking versatility.According to internet analytics service comScore, 50 percent of Tumblr users are age 25 or younger. So, if your demographic is a younger one, then you won’t want to miss out on the effectiveness of posting via Tumblr.
Twitter is no surprise, right? You hear about Twitter all over the place because it is THE social network to get a message out to a large number of users via prose. Their 140 character limit ensures that you deliver them concisely. Plus, brand ambassadors are most likely to share, promote and talk up your brand through Twitter. It’s easy.
Google loves Google. With their fingerprints on nearly everything in existence–whether they made it or not– the Google social networking platform is a MUST for small businesses. The reasons, in my opinion, are two-fold; Google is growing at breakneck speed and is most likely to pull from content within their platform before any other platform (SEO) and Facebook is making it tougher for marketers to connect. Google is slowly taking charge and we all need to get on that bandwagon!
Delicious is a social bookmarking site that allows users to tag and store articles from around the web. Small businesses will find value in terms of business intelligence. Need topics for blog posts or crowdsource Internet trends? This site is great. An added bonus is the integration for your own blog posts that make it easy for readers to share content.
Buzznet allows you to connect with the rapidly growing pop culture segment. According to Wikipedia: Buzznet members participate in communities that are created around ideas, events and interests, most predominantly music, celebrities, and the media.
Quora is an excellent place for small business owners. Not only can you crowdsource answer to nagging questions or product builds, you can answer questions to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
People LOVE stimulating video. It places information into their brains without them having to work. As the largest video social network by far, YouTube will allow you to provide people with stimulating video that connects them with your company on a massive scale. Plus, YouTube is a Google property.
Related: 5 Tips for Social Video Optimization
The VineApp – owned by Twitter – provides an opportunity for your business to provide people with video stimulation with the efficiency of a picture, also known as a microvideo. Their 6 second video limit increases the likelihood that people will open your media, because they hold fewer concerns about the risk of wasting their time on something they won’t like.
Even more than stimulating video, people love interesting pictures (although Instagram now offers micro-videos, too); they provide people with a story without taking up more than a few seconds of their time. With over 150 million active users per month, Instagram allows you to capture a large number of people’s intrigue.
Related: Instagram for Business? Absolutely!
In the realm of photographic social networks, Pinterest is Instagram’s polar opposite. Instead of a steady steam of chronicled photos, Pinterest allows users to organize and search for photos based on categories.
Both professionals and businesses flock to Linkedin in search of networking opportunities. This is an excellent place to find highly qualified employees and other businesses seeking to engage in joint ventures. And, the Groups feature is a wonderful place to share your expertise and engage in conversation with like-minded professionals (think after hours mixer on hot topics!)
If you run a retail or service-driven business, signing up for Foursquare is a good place to be. It alerts people when they happen to be in proximity of your business.
As an invite only network for job seekers, Doostang connects your business to some of your industry’s best.
Ning engages your customers by helping your business build a community of customers.
Your business’ website
A great way to connect to customers is to show them your expertise. A blog to your website where you post informative articles and engage people with forums and comments to make it the most powerful of all business social media sites.