The Five Giants of Social Media Your Company Needs to Be Using

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Unless youve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know that social media is the hottest vehicle for online marketing these days. Social media is the main source of online activity for teenagers, and sites like Facebook and Twitter are fast outpacing email as tools for casual communication. If you want your business to be taken seriously, social media must be an important element of your overall marketing plan. Without a presence on the five most popular social media sites, your business loses credibility and interest among key demographics.
Facebook
Social2With over 750 million active users, Facebook is the king of social media. On their profiles, users display the brands, places and people they like. Additionally, users can post videos, pictures or other content to their walls, which are then seen by everyone in their friend networks.
Many companies have enjoyed success by offering special deals to individuals who like them and share their advertising content with friends. By positioning your brand as a friend to your potential customers and posting entertaining and informative content on a daily basis, you can create a base advertising segment that consists of thousands of people passionate about your products.
Facebook plays a huge role in what analysts term viral marketing. Used to describe word-of-mouth advertising that reaches a tipping point online, viral marketing depends on customers willingly sharing advertising content due to its interest, humor or other entertainment factors. People will re-post your content if they enjoy it enough. This effectively allows a company to use Facebook for free advertising, though success is dependent upon the quality of the content.
Twitter
Twitter is a social networking medium primarily geared toward concise communication. Posts cant be longer than 160 characters in length, and each person using Twitter typically follow tens or hundreds of individuals and companies. From an advertising standpoint, a persons Twitter feed is like a personal television channel. Each person chooses which people and companies she subscribes to based on her interests and purchasing habits.
By offering great Twitter-related deals on your products, you inspire people to follow you in order to keep tabs on good offers for your products. People enjoy Twitter because it allows them to get real-time updates on the things that matter to them, so deals that prompt customers to act quickly are the best Twitter sellers.
Additionally, Twitter is a good way to send press releases directly to fans of your brand. This will further improve sales, as an informed customer is far more likely to buy your latest product than a customer who doesnt even know it exists.
LinkedIn
Designed for business professionals to network and find jobs, LinkedIn boasts over 100 million profiles. People on LinkedIn use the site to help find new professional opportunities and make connections with others in their field.
A presence on LinkedIn cements your company as a serious contender in the online world. In the way that traditional advertising improves brand awareness among the general public, a LinkedIn profile improves awareness of your company among professionals in your field.
Networking, participating in discussions and making friends on LinkedIn all go a long way toward establishing credibility for yourself and your business. You may also wish to befriend key media contacts on the site to get good press releases when you offer new products and services. LinkedIn is a social network for the movers and shakers of the world, and while it may not have the sheer numbers that a site like Facebook enjoys, it more than makes up for it in the quality of contacts. Nearly everyone you connect with on LinkedIn will be interested in how your business might help them succeed at theirs.
YouTube
Most viral video advertisements are initially posted as YouTube videos by businesses wishing to promote their products. This alone should convince you that a YouTube presence is essential for your online marketing success.
YouTube allows you to connect directly with interested customers through videos promoting your product. If your video seems interesting, dynamic or unique, a potential customer will watch it. If the customer is pleasantly surprised, he is far more likely to purchase your product. Therefore, the best YouTube marketing advertisements are those that dont seem like typical ads. Use your creative muscle! Fun is contagious on YouTube, so have fun while making your movie.
Even talking to the camera and doing weekly vlog updates has done wonders for companies in some niches. Make sure that what youre talking about is current, topical, and even controversial, and you will get a big boost from these videos.
As with any social media site, your companys success on YouTube depends on how many friends your company has on the site. Be social and friend as many people as you feel comfortable doing, and if theyre interested in your product they may friend you back.
Flickr
One of the least-utilized social media sites for marketing purposes, Flickr has served to boost the sales of businesses that take a leadership role in its unique community. Some of the ways to do this include getting a pro account to establish your credibility, uploading quality photos of company events or commenting on other peoples pics.
Social3The community is not geared toward business. Instead, high-quality photos with interesting content will entice viewers to look at your profile. A Flickr profile tied to your business should avoid going for the hard sell, but should instead use the site to offer pictures of how products are made, company parties and other positive imagery to strengthen your brand without being overly pushy.
You should be sure to allow others to reuse the images you post on Flickr.

People are always looking for quality images online, and Flickr is one of the main repositories. This allows you to get free advertising. For instance, if you own a winery and someone is looking for a stock photo of a bottle of pinot noir, your bottle might be used if the picture is really good.Ultimately, social media represents the present and the future of internet marketing. Dont be left out! Develop and maintain profiles on the Big Five social media giants today!

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