Quick Glimpse at Social Media Sites
Whether you are an internet marketer looking to capitalize on your investments or a blog owner that simply wants to engage with more readers, it is undeniable that social media is the way to do just that. With so many social media sites to choose from it can be difficult to decide which sites to focus on and which ones will deliver the results you are looking for. By examining some of the most popular social media sites currently garnering attention and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, you can make a more well-informed decision in regards to deciding where to focus your efforts. The top social media sites of 2011, in no particular order are:
Facebook the Future
If your goals are to engage with your readers and to build your brand, then Facebook ranks very well in these endeavors. It is wonderful for brand exposure and allows you to engage with your readers in both positive and negative situations. By connecting with your readers via Facebook you have the perfect opportunity to turn negative feedback into an opportunity to do better as well as to capitalize and self-promote positive feedback. Many companies have used negative feedback about them as an opportunity to "make it right" and show their commitment to customer satisfaction. While Facebook ranks well for reader engagement and brand building it does not fare so well in terms of actually redirecting readers to your website, and is poor in regard to search engine optimization. Bear these rankings in mind if you are trying to decide if Facebook is a social media channel that you want to concentrate your efforts on.
Twitter is another extremely popular social site that has seen phenomenal growth. All sorts of applications are constantly being developed to interact with the site, and many marketers are heavily involved with Twitter. Like Facebook, Twitter ranks well in regard to building your brand's exposure as well as interacting with your readers. The only condition of that interaction is that those readers themselves need to be involved in Twitter for your efforts to be worthwhile. If your target audience is not active on Twitter, then your efforts will prove less than fruitful. In terms of search engine optimization it has minimal impact and efforts to use Twitter to direct readers to your website will be directly related to whether or not you include your url in your tweets.
LinkedIn for Professionals
A social site that has garnered a great deal of attention lately is LinkedIn. While LinkedIn is excellent for building your brand it does almost nothing in regard to interacting with your readers. It does very little in terms of search engine optimization and your chances of actually redirecting readers to your website via LinkedIn are slim to none. It should not be overlooked in terms of its ability to be useful for networking but its usefulness in this regard needs to be weighted against its shortcomings in the other areas. Use it to connect with other like minded individuals and organizations but do not expect it to drive readers or customers to your site.
YouTube for Web Video
Another site that is gaining massive attention lately is YouTube. While not a website that you would normally think of as a social media site, it is actually one of the top performers in terms of reader interaction. While its ability to redirect readers to your site is only fair, it earns top marks for brand building, search engine optimization, and customer interaction. The key with YouTube is to keyword effectively any descriptions you place on your YouTube channel and then cross promote from your website to your YouTube channel and vice versa. This linking from one to another is one of the keys to successfully have your readers interact with both.
StumbleUpon for Popularity
StumbleUpon ranks well in terms of search engine optimization and is excellent for directing traffic to your site, but is abysmal in terms of creating an interaction with your readers. It does not rank much higher in terms of branding either. The randomness of the site makes it less than persuasive at building a solid brand. If you want to capture the interest of new readers it is definitely a site to take a look at but temper your efforts with it based upon the results that it will send your way.
Tumblr for Bloggers
Another up and comer in the social media game is Tumblr. While its results in directing traffic to your site are going to be less than stellar, it ranks well in all other areas. It is great for search engine optimization, wonderful for brand building, and excellent at customer interaction.
Digg and Reddit for Interactivity
While they are not necessarily major players in the social media game, both Digg and Reddit have their fans. They are definitely worth at least checking out, but efforts on both of these sites should be tempered by the knowledge that they are not necessarily the most popular or the most recognizable socially.
No matter which social sites you choose to use it is always advisable to monitor and be cognizant of your return on investment. Becoming involved in social media can be highly addictive so being aware of time spent versus results obtained should always be a factor in terms of how much time you spend on these sites. Know what they can do for you, but also be aware of their limitations too.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.