The importance of social media has been proven by Time Magazine’s Selection of Facebook’s founder as Person of the Year. And although Facebook is the largest and best known of all social media channels, there are many others that that are also extremely popular. But the best social media channels are not measured by size alone. Each of the well-known channels has different types of users and choosing the best for your purposes depends on what they are and how you plan to use the channel.
With over 300 million unique monthly visitors, Facebook is the largest of the channels. The term “unique monthly visitors” refers to the number of different users and not the number of hits the site gets each month – that figure is astronomically higher. Facebook is a general purpose channel and is used for both personal social interaction as well as business promotion. Facebook is a good place to begin and will give you a lot of publicity and networking opportunities, but there will not be a specific market niche you can focus on.
YouTube comes in second in the popularity stakes with well over 100 million unique visitors. Being a completely video based channel, it a good for branding activities. A well-made video can grab a lot of eyeballs and garner a lot of interest in your business. The effectiveness of YouTube is demonstrated by the fact in its early days large corporates disdainfully stayed away from it and it was the preserve of small businesses and personal videos. Today everyone, large and small is on it. Keep in mind that since the video is hosted on the YouTube site, it must contain a clear reference to your business and a call to action to drive people to your website.
At 100 million plus unique visitors, Twitter takes the third spot. Because it’s blogging site it is best used for communicating news and information to followers (those who are interested). This is not the channel to introduce a business or product because this is not the kind of information that visitors are looking for and the short nature of the blogs means very limited information can be conveyed. But if you have created interest in your business through other channels and publicized your Twitter account, it is a great way to keep those who are interested in you aware of what is happening in your business and maintain a continuous link with them.
Digg gets about 40 million unique visitors. It is a channel for news sharing and the more provocative the news the better it is received and the more people who will read it. It is not a place to promote a business directly, but it can be used to create industry buzz and references to your business within the article can get you a lot of traffic from those who want to know more.
LinkedIn is the most focused of the well-known social media channels with more than 60 million visitors. It is business-focused and is a good platform for B2B networking and brand building. Member profiles – both corporate and personal – appear high in search engine rankings. Tailor your posts and video to the channel you are using for the best results.