Like it or not, social media is a pervasive new aspect of many people’s personal and professional lives. Like the advent of television or cell phones before it, it is transforming the way we perceive and relate to the world around us. In its early stages, use of social media was typically confined to the personal — sharing vacation photos, expressing emotions. As the popularity, flexibility, and increasingly savvy user base of social media sites have grown over time, more and more businesses are latching on to these channels as the latest and greatest way to market themselves.

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool for your company. But before you dive in, you need to be aware of the key differences between sites, and why not all social media is created equal.

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1. Facebook

With over a billion users — yes, billion with a B — Facebook is the grand poobah of social media sites. More than any of its ilk, Facebook has wormed its way into the lexicon and transformed the way an entire generation interacts. A study conducted by Pew Research Center found that 67% of internet users use Facebook. Compare that to the next highest number: 16% for Twitter.

With its booming popularity and ease of use, Facebook has a lot to offer for businesses. For example:

  • Pages can be as minimal or informational as a business owner wants to make them.
  • Businesses of all stripes use Facebook. Whether its an indie band, a local bakeshop, or a massive entity like Walmart or Amazon, there’s a Facebook page for it. It’s become the expectation that a business is tech-savvy and socially competent enough to have a Facebook page.
  • Consumers can talk back, posting comments and feedback on business pages.
  • Facebook enjoys a certain air of legitimacy. With its clean layout, international presence, and users ranging in age from adolescent to elderly, Facebook is known and trusted by just about everyone.

2. Twitter

Twitter is probably the next best-known social media site after Facebook, and businesses of all types and sizes have joined the “Twittersphere.” However, Twitter is very different from Facebook in one huge regard: format. Twitter focuses almost entirely on short-form “tweets.” Imagine if Facebook was essentially nothing but status updates (limited to 140 characters each), and you have Twitter. What it has to offer:

  • Tweets can be “retweeted” by consumers or other businesses, boosting visibility.
  • A Twitter account is a great platform to share links and content a business thinks will be interesting or relevant to its “followers.”
  • 140-character entries will never be skimmed because they’re too long. You can pack a punch with your tweets.

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3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn differs from Twitter and Facebook in that its purpose is strictly professional. LinkedIn users post not photos of their lunch or their pets, but resumes and portfolios oriented toward current or potential employers and co-workers. Advantages of LinkedIn include:

  • People are there specifically for professional networking.
  • Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkeIn can be used to find new employees for your business.

All of these services are free to use, easy to navigate, and boast huge populations. Don’t let your business lag behind — because social media isn’t going away any time soon.

If you would like to find out more about social media to boost your niche I invite you to contact me. I have been helping professional service providers such as CPAs, attorneys, and financial services providers focus their business development efforts on profitable micro-niches for over 10 years. Email me at david@themirconichemethod.com.

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