There are obviously numerous platforms available in the realm of Social Media. The biggest question is which ones work for you. While I can’t give you that answer specifically, as it depends on your needs and goals, here are some of my favorite platforms to use.
Twitter is the microblogging site that allows you to share thoughts and information in real time, while restricting you to 140 characters. Each post, called a “tweet”, allows you to share your thoughts with the twitterverse. You can share text, videos, photos, or links. However, remember that photos and website links will post as hyperlinks, with each character taking up one of your 140 characters. Try using a url shortener (like Google’s http://goo.gl/) to shorten your website links and save you some characters. You can also “Re-Tweet” others posts, thereby sharing other valuable information with your followers. Using Twitter will develop your skills of brevity! While there’s no standard for frequency of posts, you should tweet or re-tweet regularly and frequently. Just be careful not to post so many times a day that people drop you for “spamming” their feeds with seemingly needless or redundant information.
You can follow me on Twitter at @jennherman31
Instagram is currently the hottest new platform out there. People are slowly migrating away from Facebook and finding Instagram (yes, the irony is that Facebook actually owns Instagram). This site is all about photos! Every post is a photo – it’s that simple. Whether photos of you, your pets, your kids, your business, your products, or your random life experiences, everything is documented as a photo. You can add descriptions and comment on photos to add additional layers of engagement. Instagram is a lot like Twitter in that you aren’t able to approve who follows you, unless you make your account private. So, be careful about what you’re sharing – anyone really can see these photos! Like Twitter, there’s no real limit on frequency of posts, you can post as often or as little as you like.
You can follow me on Instagram at @jennherman31
Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform that allows you to share pretty much anything you can imagine. As the largest platform, Facebook could give you the broadest scope for developing your brand or sharing information about your business. It is my opinion that nearly EVERY business should have a Facebook profile. Your profile page allows you to define who you are and to post text (without character limits), photos, videos, and website links. Ensure that you set up the “About” page and all contact info for your business or brand. Facebook is a great source for sharing content so make your content valuable and shareable. Photos generally provide the greatest shareability but don’t just post something because it’s “cute” – make sure that it is relevant to your brand. Use call-to-actions on a variety of your posts (not every one!), asking fans to “like” or “comment” or “share”.
You can join me on Facebook at Jenn’s Trends
Linked In is the professional networking site that connects you with other professionals around the world. ALL business professionals should be on Linked In. Make sure your profile is appropriately public! We want to see your photo, your title, your description, your current position, and your talents. This site is not for job hunting – it’s for networking! These networks of people will help you develop your brand, share your information, provide you with feedback, provide you with potential business leads, and help generate conversations for you. Linked In is a 24/7 virtual networking seminar. Your profile is the most important part. People will likely be searching for you, not necessarily your brand. Make sure that you keep your profile current by reviewing and updating it at least every 6 months. Beyond just your resume of experience, you can include lists of your skills and talents; education and certifications; and lists of projects, websites, or books that you’ve produced. There are also an abundance of groups that you can join to develop your network. Find local groups, industry groups, college groups, and whatever other genres match your goals. Share articles in these groups, comment on other members posts, and get actively involved in these communities. You should also have a business page that others can follow and which will have information specifically related to your business and industry. Postings can be anything you like and should be on a regular schedule as determined by your Social Media strategy.
You can connect with me on LinkedIn via Jenn Herman
You’ll probably notice from the comments that this wasn’t always on my list. It is a platform that has grown on me and now I really enjoy it! Google+ works a lot like Facebook in terms of posting – you can post any style of post (from text, to links, to videos, to photos, etc.) but you get even more here than you do on Facebook. G+ is constantly updating and adding new features that have put it leaps and bounds ahead of Facebook. The ability to add different people to different groups (called Circles) is a GREAT feature that really allows you to keep control of who sees which posts. If you join the communities on Google+, you will find that they are much more interactive and are well moderated compared with similar groups on LinkedIn. Of course, because it’s a Google product, posts and information shared here rank higher in Google searches than similar posts on other sites – and this can really help get your content found! If you haven’t given this platform a real shot yet, I suggest you give it some time and see how well it can work.
You can connect with on Google+ via Jenn Herman
You Tube is the video sharing platform, also owned by Google, that provides the largest search engine for videos. Videos are a great way to share information about your brand. Videos can be of any style and variety. Create your own channel where you will upload videos that you create to represent your brand. Do interview style videos and information/webinar style videos to provide valuable content to your followers. Keep videos “real” and engaging. These can be a little more promotional about your brand or product but keep the content light and conversational. You can also include blooper reels or make a blooper video – these show your followers that you’re a “real” person that they can relate to.
WordPress is one of the largest blogging platforms, and the standard version is free to use. You can opt to upgrade for additional features. There are other similar blog sites out there but I find WordPress offers the most user-friendly functionality. Blogging sites allow you to create new content on a regular basis and store it for all to see. Your blogs can be text or videos and give you the freedom to type as much as you want – though keeping in mind others may not want to read that much. This allows you to really show the world who you are and your perspectives. All businesses and brands should have a blog, either on their website or on a blogging site. Google searches now incorporate new criteria that look for new, relevant, and frequent content and blogging allows you to keep your site ranking in those Google searches.
Pinterest is the highly visual content sharing site that allows you to “pin” images to boards of interest. Though this site started as a craft and recipe sharing site, it has quickly evolved into one of the best content sharing sites. Everything posted is done so for sharing purposes so make sure it’s visually appealing and link the photos and images back to your site to generate additional traffic. Photos, infographics, images, memes, etc. all make for great Pinterest content. You can also include descriptions of up to 500 characters. Always type your website address in the description! If you’re selling products, you can also type the price (just use the $) and Pinterest will automatically create a price banner across your image.
Quora is the professional site where you can find answers to almost anything, as answered by other professionals. Choose topics, people, and questions to follow. Answer other questions and pose your own to generate conversation and credibility. Define yourself and set up your profile for topics you’re interested in discussing. Signing in through your Twitter or Facebook accounts will allow you to follow any of those contacts already on Quora, instantly expanding your network.