What Is? A Guide To Social Platforms

by Natalie Alaimo | Follow Her On Twitter

We live in a day and age where a new ‘social platform’ is created almost every day and as business owners it can be hard to keep up to date with exactly what they are and if and how they can actually work for your business.

I also think that because I’m in the ‘industry’ I forget that not everyone reads the same blogs, magazines, etc. as I do so they might not know exactly what each platform is.

Now of course I can’t cover every single social platform but I’m going to cover the ones which have the most Australian’s represented.  …. or “which have a large number of Australian

In the image below you will see the Statistics for Australian users as at April 2013 for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

SMSApril2013

So, what is…?

Facebook

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site which allows users (once they create a free account) to interact with their friends, groups and pages.  Pages are created to represent companies, brands and causes.  Worldwide there are over 1 billion active users on Facebook with 11,489,380 Australian users.  Facebook has the most amount of Australian users of all social networking sites.

Users interact by sharing a variety of media including; text, links, images + videos.  They can then join in conversations by ‘liking’, commenting or sharing others’ content.

For business owners the power is in having their own Page in which they can facilitate conversations with their current and potential customers.  When using a Page to it’s full potential, not only can you reach the people who have ‘liked’ your Page, you can also reach their friends, who help you spread the word about your business.

Connect with me on Facebook

If you want to know more about using Facebook for your Business view my Free Webinar – Effective Facebook Marketing

Twitter

Twitter is where the world shares their view in 140 characters or less.  Hailed as a micro blogging site, registered users share their message in text via Tweets.  With just over 2 million Australian users, Twitter is all about sharing ‘real time’ information so is very popular with news sources, journalist and celebrities.  Twitter also introduced the ability to share links, videos and photos which add to the overall experience.

Due to the ‘real time’ interaction, Twitter runs at a quicker pace than Facebook and I’ve personally found it handy for support and customer service.  Within Australia you can get feedback relatively quickly from the major telcos and airlines.

For business users the benefits of Twitter is the real time interaction which allows you to share information and gather real time feedback and of course build relationship with current and potential clients.

Twitter is more represented by a ‘techie’ crowd (i.e. have more online experience) than Facebook.

Connect with me on Twitter

YouTube

YouTube is an online video portal where users can upload, rate and view millions and millions of videos.  Each month over 11 million Australians view a video on YouTube, and YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google.

Just in viewing videos alone on YouTube, the information, education and entertainment would be huge.  However for business owners the power comes with producing and uploading your own video via a channel.  Again, it’s a free service where registered users create their own branded channel which stores their videos.

Depending on your account you will have different options in terms of video length and customisation, however sharing videos is an excellent platform for building your brand and expert position within the industry. Due to the nature of a video you can build rapport and relationships with viewers very quickly.

Visit my YouTube Channel

The best training for creating videos I’ve found is iVideo Hero which teaches you how to produce high quality video with your iPhone or iPad.  And for more specifics on YouTube check out Video Traffic Academy

Instagram

Instagram is an app based social networking and photo sharing site which was acquired by Facebook in 2011.  Mainly based on your smartphone, they have recently released a web based platform, however it doesn’t have as many features and is mainly just for viewing rather than uploading your own images.

One of my favourite features of Instagram is the photo filtering.  Instead of just uploading a standard photo taken from your camera you can apply a huge range of filters including; borders, colours, exposure and shades.  They are already pre built into the application making it really easy to apply.

Users of Instagram then follow others’ photos where they can like and comment.  The main viral spread on Instagram is by #hashtags.  Hashtags are words or phrases which are searchable.  For example if I uploaded an image of a bird and used the hashtag #bird.  Other users can either click on my hashtag or search the hashtag bird and find other images.  This allows users to find other people who are sharing images which are relevant to them.

For business owners, it really depends if your market is represented on Instagram.  Currently there are just over 1 million Australian users and I have found that they are mainly creative, spiritual and foodies types such as graphic designers, life coaches, health coaches and chefs.  Well at least the people I’m following.

Follow me on Instagram or by searching @nalaimo

Google+

Google+ is the social network created by Google.  Dubbed as the second largest social network, it has about 235 million active monthly users.  As it’s owned and operated by Google, all users with a Google Account automatically have a Google+ account, therefore I believe the numbers are somewhat skewed.

Google+ offers a full range of features including personal profiles and company pages.  User can interact via text, links, video and images.  They also have more interactive features such as live “hangouts” which are live video chats.

Mainstream users haven’t hit Google+ yet as they have other social sites such as Facebook, however  as Google+ is linked directly to Google, it will become more and more important for business owners in terms of them ranking in the Google search results.

At this stage business owners should at least create a profile and company page and aim to share fresh content as least weekly.

Connect with me on Google+

To find out more about Google+ join the Ask Natalie Academy

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the world’s only Business to Business social networking site which has over 2.7 million Australians users and 200 millions worldwide. Users create a free account which allows them to create their own profile and connect with other profiles.  Users can then interact via sharing status updates (either text or link based) and via groups, company pages and private messages.  LinkedIn also offers a range of premium plans which offer additional features.

LinkedIn has a more professional white collar feel compared to other sites and conversation topics are of a more ‘serious’ nature.  Personally I don’t enjoy hanging out on LinkedIn, but I can see the benefit for my business.

For business owners it’s vital that you have an account set up and optimised.  From there it would depend on if your primary target market is on LinkedIn.  If yes, then you should commit to spending more time, building relationships and connecting with people.  If no, then just check in every now and again.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

For more information on setting up and optimising your profile join the Ask Natalie Academy.

Pinterest

Pinterest is an online virtual pinboard where users can create their own boards and share images they love.  Their images are grouped together on the boards they create.

Users interact with each other via liking, commenting and repinning others’ pins.  A pin is an image which users either upload or share from a website.

Pinterest currently has 48.7 million users with 630,000 Australian users.  The average users is spending more time on Pinterest than on any other social networking site.  When users click through to a website from Pinterest, it’s been found that they spend more money on average than when coming from other social sites.

Therefore for business owners, if your market is on Pinterest, or if your product is visually appealing then you need to be on Pinterest.

Follow me on Pinterest.

And to learn more about using Pinterest for your business join the Ask Natalie Academy.

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