Social media marketing is a great way to help promote your small business without spending a ton of marketing dollars. All it really takes is time and effort. However, if you are to develop any kind of social media marketing plan for your business, you need to understand the different channels that define each category of social media service.
While one advantage of Web 2.0 is that it has allowed commercial businesses to make a web presence online and reach potentially millions of customers, a small business owner will be wise to take stock of all the types of social media channels in order to make a social media marketing plan more effective.
Thus, here are the major categories of social media so you can make informed decisions as to which social media sites you should join.
Let’s start with the major social sites that most people are aware of and utilize every day. These are social media that help people and businesses network together in one huge location. Not only do these sites help people stay in touch with each other, but they have been very successful for businesses, big and small, to network with current, past, and potential customers.
Of course THE social network is Facebook. With over half a billion people worldwide on Facebook, it is the biggest and most popular networking website on the internet. Preceding Facebook was MySpace, another social site where people and businesses could mix it up and network.
Microblogging networks have also become popular social networking sites. Microblogging is simply sharing thoughts through brief updates. Twitter is the most popular of this category.
But because social networking is so popular, there are hundreds of sites that all have a special niche, such as academia, culture, religion, painting, and more. Do your research to find these niche networking sites that fit your business industry.
Don’t let business networking slip your radar. Sites such as LinkedIn, BizNik, Plaxo, and more have been developed to aid entrepreneurs in most any industry or field in their constant endeavor to promote and network their business.
Media Sharing Sites
Some social websites are aimed at hosting media like audio, video, photos, art, graphics, and more. Take a look at these media sites to help promote your business. Host video on YouTube. Your photos on Flickr, Picasa, or Photobucket. Upload podcasts or video blogs to BlogTV or BlogTalkRadio. These are great places to attract your target audience who are keen on technology and media usage.
Blogging is an easy and great way to update your business to followers, subscribers, and customers, and attract new ones. While you could host your blog on your own domain, the best blogging sites that can connect with your website include WordPress, Blogger, and TypePad.
Location or Geographic Social Sites
With the ever-growing popularity of mobile phone technology, location or geographic sites are becoming even more popular. Sites like FourSquare or Groupon can help your local or regional customers get special deals, and actually help people meet up face-to-face.
Information sites can help build an online community, as well as share opinions, such as TripAdvisor, WetPaint, Wikia, and Wikispaces are all great places to share and find information. You can contribute to these information communities, while placing your website and business information in your profile or even your footer.
Social News Sites
Online social journalism sites may be a great way to share news in your industry. Sites like Digg, Reddit, or LiveJournal, are all virtual places and portals to swap links for news.
Have you run across a site you want to share with your customers? Social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, Technorati, and Del.icio.us, are all great places to store the websites and web pages that have meaningful information about your business or industry.