There are literally hundreds of social networks, but only a handful are really important. Understanding which of these should be your priority will allow you to get the most out of the time you spend online.
Choosing From Social Networks
You do not have to be active on all the social networks to benefit from them. On each of the major social networks you should create an account. Add your Avatar (the small image in your profile). Create a short bio that sends anyone who finds it to your site or whatever other social networks you actually use.
Choose a unique username to use on all your social networks. You can use Knowem to verify what usernames are available on the major networks.
It is important to use the same username on all the social networks if at all possible because it makes you easy to find and allows influencers to recommend you. If you have even two usernames they would have to look them up every time – and most will not bother to do that.
Every person should create a LinkedIn profile. This is true whether you are an employee, consultant or business owner. LinkedIn is where recruiters and employers will look for your details and background. It is also where businesses find consultants, agencies, and talent to hire. Join LinkedIn by starting here.
Every business should have a separate LinkedIn company page. This is separate and different from your personal LinkedIn profile. Create yours by going to the official LinkedIn Getting Started with Company Pages.
These links provide you with excellent details on how to make LinkedIn really work for you:
LinkedIn is the best of the social networks for doing business. It is not the place for non-business-related socializing or entertainment.
Plus ones from Google Plus are believed to help your content rank, so many are now finally using Google Plus. The problem is it is much like Twitter where content flies by and gets very little exposure.
After joining and optimizing your Google Plus profile, research the most popular Google Plus Communities where your target audience is most likely to be found. How to do that is explained here.
By becoming active in a community you can create relationships and usually share content where it will stay visible longer and many more people will see and interact with it.
Google Plus pages, profiles and communities make Google + confusing to many. This video from this Google Plus Tips post can help:
There are two reasons Twitter is very important:
- Twitter is the best way to connect with influencers and busy people who have gate-keepers on their phones and email. Often even famous people answer their own Twitter messages.
- Twitter is what influencers use to quickly share your content and make recommendations.
You do not even have to be active on Twitter to reap the benefits. By adding your Avatar and making sure your bio has a link to your site, blog or whatever is most important to you, others can find you through your Twitter profile – and recommend you.
Many influencers use tools that allow them to unfollow dormant accounts, so be sure to tweet at least once a month or feed content from your blog or other sites into your Twitter account using a tool like Twitterfeed or Dlvr.it.
There are several different styles of using Twitter. You will want to choose which one works for you:
- Celebrity style: people who follow very few, but have many followers.
- Peer style: those who feel it is only right to follow those who follow them no matter how many.
- Personal chat: some use Twitter as though it were an instant messenger and only talk to people they already know.
There are also two different styles of content sharing on Twitter. Again, choose the one you prefer:
- Some share content and a lot of links as well as talking to people individually.
- Others do not like the sharing model and only use Twitter for discussions.
There is no absolute “right” or “wrong” way to use Twitter. But there is one thing you do not want to do there or on any social network. Do not only tweet about yourself.
Pinterest is the easiest social network to use – and the most fun. Doing Pinterest well can send more traffic than many of the other social networks. Two bloggers I personally know get 30,000-60,000 visitors a month just from Pinterest.
All it takes is finding interesting images and “pinning” them. And you can find them right on Pinterest. Just type what interests you in the search box to find pins, boards, and pinners. (Click the tabs to move between these three options.) See this video tutorial on how to use Pinterest for beginners.
There are two types of Pinterest accounts: personal and business. Practice getting the hang of Pinterest by creating a personal account and pinning whatever interests you. Then move on to creating a Pinterest account for your business.
Pinterest provides a lot of information on how to make Pinterest work for businesses on their Pinterest for Business page. There are also several “Pinterest How-to” boards you can follow which include Pinterest for bloggers and Pinterest tips for specific types of businesses.
Major brands consider Facebook the most important network. Individuals usually use Facebook more for personal interactions with people they already know. Many advise using LinkedIn for business connections and only allowing personal friends and family and not employers or co-workers to connect with you on Facebook.
Using Facebook for business is quite complicated. There are rules for creating cover images, apps for running campaigns, paid advertisements and promoted posts.
If you intend to use Facebook for business you will either need to spend a lot of time studying or hire experienced assistance. This is especially true if you plan to pay for ads. You will want someone who can measure results and ensure you get a return on your investment (ROI).
How to Get Started in Social Networks
You don’t have to be overwhelmed. Just follow these simple steps:
- Choose a username to use on every network. Make it short and memorable and ideally related to your business or interests.
- Create accounts on each of the networks above. If that seems overwhelming, hire someone to do it for you. This is inexpensive and quickly done by anyone with experience.
- Pick one of the social networks and spend a little time there. Twitter or Pinterest are easiest. If you get frustrated, ask someone to assist you. You are almost certain to already know someone who uses these networks. Once someone shows you it will seem so much easier.
- When you feel comfortable on one network, choose another and repeat the process.
Before you know it you’ll be sharing and enjoying social media. You will find that the social networks you spend the most time on will be where you get the most traffic and interaction. If you have questions, ask them in the comments.