Do people, marketers, businesses, organisations understand that social media is more than just facebook and twitter? I’m not sure.

Sure, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have the highest profile and the largest number of users – but this doesn’t always convert to traffic for your site. A good social media strategy will customise the message for the audience.

Twitter is more topical and its audience seem to focus on immediate, fresh information about “right now”.

Facebook is more interactive and conversational, there are more ongoing dialogues between individuals as well as brands and their customers. Between friends facebook is a place to vent, to make¬†announcements¬†(relationships, new job, pregnancy etc), to communicate (messages and events are replacing email for group catch ups and organising) and just let folk know what you’ve been thinking about, what inspires you and what you’ve been up to.

One of the biggest differences in facebook is the sharing of photos, music, videos etc.

LinkedIn is for networking between colleagues, past and present, its an excellent tool for recruitment and job hunting. LinkedIn has really taken off in the last 2 years and is now officially the number 2 job board in Australia (sad for CareerOne.com.au who fought hard for this mantle over the last few years but has been relegated to 3rd, behind Seek and LinkedIn). Messages need to be relevant to this audience – it is not appropriate to use LinkedIn to call out your husband or boyfriend for not cleaning the bathroom.

YouTube - Watch and share Video onlineOne of the biggest websites in the world is often overlooked as a key social network – YouTube!
Video is the highest engagement tool you can employ for your digital content strategy. Video is expensive and time consuming to produce but your return on investment will be huge! As search engines get more savvy at optimising their algorithums for video and images, YouTube will only grow in importance for your social media strategy.
YouTube allows every website to use video as content, it takes on the video streaming and bandwidth costs for us, they have provided the technology for us to embed on our websites (so we don’t need to know how to code) and they have built in multiple other user friendly tools for our readers, to enhance their watching experience.

Wordpress is one of the world's most popular free blogging platformBlogs are also part of your social media strategy. Where Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are micro-blogging sites, a traditional blog allows you to have a much longer and more intimate conversation with your readers. Blogs add to the personality of a business, organisation or brand. It allows you to add a face to your name and a real life person for your readers to engage with.
Your blog content needs to be integrated into your website content strategy and therefore into your communications strategy, which your social media strategy and messaging will fall into. If you combine all of these channels, your audience will get a much more consistent and well rounded message – and the upside usually is, they’re more engaged, more loyal and they buy your product or service.

So we’ve cover the big boys of social media but did you know that for every industry, interest or group – there is a niche social networking site.

For the righteous social activities and campaigners among us there is Change.org and Avaaz.org.

Kickstarter allows communities to support and fund artistic projectsIf you want to support the arts and don’t mind engaging in a little philanthropy, have a look at Kickstarter – this is my new favourite site. I haven’t found an Australian equivalent, please let me know if you have come across one.

For the visual artists and creatives among us there is Pinterest and Tumblr. To my analytical and logical mind I would describe these sites as more like the fallen from grace MySpace – much more visual in their comunications. MySpace definitely still has its place and its now focusing its efforts on Music, which is really what they always did well, launching the careers of many great artists! Thank you MySpace for pioneering this space.

Pinterest social networking

 

 

For an industry example, there was Ground Floor Collaboration which was trying to find an online creative space for agency creatives to share ideas and briefs. I was involved with this group back in 2008, searching for them now it seems they’ve disbanded the website but there is still a LinkedIn and MySpace presence.

Ning.com is a bit different, they’re encouraging more people to enter this space by creating your own social networks. So if you have a great idea and have a load of friends and network that share your passion, why not?

There are probably a thousand more niche social media and social networking sites but this gives you some insight into the size and potential of this channel. Social media, if you find your niche and target an engaged and relevant audience, could be far more beneficial to your brand than just focusing on the big boys – facebook, twitter and LinkedIn. Consider if there is a more targeted social network out there for you and your customers.