The advent of social media has revolutionized marketing. Savvy entrepreneurs know that the best marketing campaigns utilize both offline and online elements. While offline marketing has remained largely unchanged for the last few decades, the online world changes constantly. Here are fifteen current social media sites that should be considered for your next marketing campaign. Their functions vary greatly, but all of them have loyal followings and can help you build a network and attract new traffic to your site.
Facebook.com: Originally conceived as an in-school network by a group of Harvard roommates, Facebook has evolved into a global giant boasting over 400 million active users worldwide. This means that the Facebook community is larger than the population of the United States! Of these 400 million users, around 200 million will access the site on any given day. Facebook features advanced marketing analysis and can help you filter users by age and interests. With its amazing networking opportunities, Facebook is a free service which offers many opportunities to entrepreneurs. You can create a fan page for your business, which will allow you to announce promotions, introduce yourself to new visitors and keep in contact with your online followers.
YouTube.com: This video sharing website has a worldwide audience and attracts millions of visits each day. With billions of videos viewed each month, YouTube’s scope is unprecedented. Most of its content is contributed by individuals, but some media enterprises have begun to release some of their material on the site as well. Users set up a free account, then have the opportunity to upload videos from this account, also referred to as a “channel.” Entrepreneurs who have made video presentations for work or put together multimedia videos for their blogs love the ease with which they can upload these materials onto their YouTube channels. Like-minded individuals can subscribe to your channel, meaning you have a targeted audience who will be notified automatically every time you post a new video.
Twitter.com: With millions of followers “tweeting” every day, this social media site has experienced phenomenal growth. Those who are unfamiliar with this free service can sign up and reserve an account in their business name. New users should spend some time getting used to the unique interface. You can search for keywords related to your niche, which will help you target your research. Twitter allows you to easily keep in contact with your customers and to grow your online following. You can announce special promotions, discuss current events and relate to your followers in a casual and friendly way.
MySpace.com: Headquartered in Beverly Hills, MySpace is a worldwide social networking website. Users are able to network with like-minded individuals through the simple friend-adding process. This free social networking service also allows you to start your own group, create a unique page and operate a message board. You can control who joins and is able to participate in the dialogue. As you develop an online following, MySpace gives you a convenient platform to share information with them and keep them updated on important events or promotions.
Digg.com: This social news website helps users discover new online content and share it with their friends. You can submit your own links and stories, and if they’re voted for by other users they’ll appear on the front page! Digg has a large community of active users and is ranked within the top 100 sites on the internet that receives the most traffic. It is easy to set up a profile on the site and it can be used in conjunction with other social media sites, such as Facebook. By establishing a distinct profile on Digg and making your voice heard, you can network with other individuals and drive traffic to your website.
Delicious.com: Previously known as Del.icio.us, this social bookmarking website has millions of users and over 150 million bookmarked URLs. With its simple and fun interface, Delicious has become one of the most popular bookmarking services. Users can also view bookmarks from their fellow users, allowing like-minded individuals to network and share links. Membership is free and the sign up process is quick and easy.
Reddit.com: This social news site allows users to share links with fellow users. You can vote on other user’s links and the most popular appear on the Reddit home page. A free registration allows you to participate in the online discussion forums, where you can share information and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Entrepreneurs can even start new forums based in their particular niche, providing them with a built-in network from which traffic can be directed to their site.
Blogger.com: Online entrepreneurs must establish a network if they want to drive traffic to their site and Blogger offers a free service to enable you to do this quite easily. Blog posts are a great way to share business-related news and to grow your network of online followers. By becoming a fan of other blogs in your niche, you can create a community of users with similar backgrounds. Blogging is a great way to bring traffic to your site and introduce your products or services to a broad audience.
StumbleUpon.com: This social media community provides a simple platform from which its users rate and share links, photos and videos. Entrepreneurs can use the simple blogging interface to share business news and grow their network. You can also join interest groups and participate in niche discussions, which is an effective way to grow your community. By establishing yourself in these forums and generating interest in your business, you can drive traffic to your website.
LinkedIn.com: This business-oriented network is a must for modern entrepreneurs. With nearly 50 million users worldwide, LinkedIn allows you to build your network and get feedback on your website. Plus, you can encourage your past customers to leave positive recommendations on your profile, which will establish your professionalism and help your profile come up higher in search engine results. A quick search can help you locate subject matter groups on LinkedIn that relate to your business. Joining these conversations allows you to establish your expertise in the field. You can even start your own groups and build your online network that way.
Flickr.com: Hosting more than 4 billion images, Flickr is a preeminent hosting website and online community. Many entrepreneurs use Flickr to store and host images that are used on blogs and in other social media. With its additional video capabilities, Flickr provides users with a robust collection of tools. Free accounts are limited in their capabilities but still offer excellent options. Pro accounts allow unlimited uploads and bandwidth, as well as access to account statistics.
WordPress.com: Many entrepreneurs have discovered the convenience and power of a business blog. You can introduce new products and services, announce new hires and create a bond between yourself and your online fans. WordPress in the most popular blogging software available and employs a user-friendly interface which allows entrepreneurs of any computer skill level to create professional looking blog material. It’s integrated link tools, search engine compatibility, post tagging make WordPress a traffic-producing machine.
Vimeo.com: This social networking website is focused on videos. The free basic membership allows users to upload one HD video a week, making it available to the website’s over two million members. The first video sharing service to support HD, Vimeo has established itself as an elite social media provider. Users can freely comment on most videos, creating dialogue and allowing entrepreneurs to reach out to a vast audience.
TweetDeck.com: With its 19% market share, TweetDeck is the most popular of the Twitter applications. This Adobe AIR tool also works with Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace. Entrepreneurs will find it a valuable tool because it is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and the iPhone. You can also organize your groups and manage your followers with relative ease, making Tweetdeck a unique asset to entrepreneurs.
PhotoBucket: One of the best hosting sites available, PhotoBucket offers image hosting, video hosting, photo sharing and slideshow tools. When using other social media sites, such as Myspace, it is usually necessary to use an image hosting site. After creating a quick profile, you can upload photos into your account. PhotoBucket offers image correction tools that are extremely handy, and once your photo is just as you want it, you copy the link provided and paste it wherever it is needed. If you are creating an avatar for other social media sites, you should consider storing it PhotoBucket. You can also make your PhotoBucket profile public, allowing you to share your photos and information with a broad audience.