The Word on the Street is "Social Media" Part 3

Which Social Media Platform is Right for Your Business?

This week we will focus on the top 5 of the hundreds of social networks/platforms used to engage customers and visitors and discuss briefly the benefits of each to help gain a better grasp of which social media platform you should engage your time in order to reach more customers and generate a higher ROI.

1st you will need to look deep into your industry and see what your competition is doing and see who exactly your customers or clients are. Being able to cater to your customers and clients what they want and need will get your business in the right direction in regards to choosing which platform and which avenues to pursue.

2nd something that should be considered is ease of use of the platform. Some platforms like Facebook and Myspace are relatively easy to use, that is why many people use them. however there are other social media areas that may be specific to your industry that you will want to tap into to reach more customers and these platforms may require some coding skills or design skills that may or may not need to be hired out for.

3rd and probably the most important is security.  There are out there in the web space websites and social media platforms that do not provide much if any information security. Be careful when filling out an account creation about what information is put in and what will and will not be shared. Facebook by default has good protection but you have to dig in deep into the account settings to change settings about who sees your posts and what information is shared with others. Just be careful and do some research and homework. This part can be critical for businesses wanting to create a good secure area for their customers to share their experiences and positive feedback so keep it simple and safe. This is also a great place that if you have questions, ask someone who has done it before even if they are your competition. Being safe is always better than being sorry.

Now for the top 5 Social Media Networks / Platforms for growing a business:

Facebook- Social Networking - The Largest Social Media Platform on the web with more than 500 million active users according to facebook. Business profile pages range from basic to very interactive. Check out Best Buy's Facebook account for a great example of how a business can interact with customers through Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/bestbuy

Check out Our Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Crexendo

Twitter- Micro Blogging- One of the best examples of the use of Twitter for giving updates had been the restaurant industry and especially the Food Trucks. Since Food Trucks are mobile they work perfectly with Twitter to share with the followers where the next location in the city they will be and any good promotions or discounts currently being offered.  Two great examples are http://twitter.com/AUSdailypress and http://twitter.com/GrillEmAllTruck from the new tv show " The Great Food Truck Race" on the Food Network.

Check out Our Twitter: http://twitter.com/crexendo

Youtube-Video hosting- Video Marketing and Viral Videos seem to be in a whole other world. Youtube says that every minute about 24 hours of video is uploaded to the You tube website. This amounts for millions of hours of videos. Granted there is a lot of videos on Youtube that are just plain silly, but there are hours and hours of good instructional and informational videos from businesses that have helped them grow. Creating a Youtube Channel is the most effective. A Youtube channel is basically that a place where you can upload all your videos about your business and have them viewed all in one place. Another greta benefit of a channel is that you can customize the background and make it very user friendly and inviting for your customers to use and enjoy. We will get into video creation and marketing in the future.

LinkedIn- Professional Profiles- Many people use this platform as kind of an online resume where you can get recommendations from former employers or co-workers, but LinkedIn also can be used for companies to share a profile of the business and employees can follow the company and other people can follow the company to get updates.

Check out Our LInkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/companies/crexendo-business-solutions

Blogger/Wordpress- Blogging platforms- Blogs allow you to post information and basic happenings of the business as well as run promotions and gain a following. We use our built in blog feature in our software platform for this blog but other wordpress and blogger sites have been created by businesses for the purpose of blogging or keeping a log of their updates and news.

Up and Coming:

Foursquare: Gps based location game where visitors can "check in" to your business and share or recommend their friends to visited your local business also. Foursquare has been gain a lot of traction and getting noticed lately because of how easy it is to use, so it is worth checking into.

Basically it comes down to getting more followers/users that are qualified and want to hear what you have to say and offer.

Once again, look into each of these platforms and decide which ones are right for the business and industry  you are in. Some of these may not be suitable for your industry or business and some may fit like a glove when promoting new products and building the business.

www.mashable.com is a great resource for social media tips and advice on how to get more customers, realize ROI and branding to help your business grow.

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