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Choosing the right social media platform

Mark talks about the differences between the main social media platforms and the importance of choosing the right one for you.

"As a business it can be quite overwhelming to start using social media. Everywhere you look, on the TV, in the news, in articles, some one or something is telling you that need to be on Facebook or Twitter, because that is where your customers are at.

But before you jump in just stop, take a breath.

You do not have to be on social media.

Businesses need to be realistic about social media, its more that just setting up a profile and then all your content going viral. You should only truly invest in social media if you have the time and are genuinely excited about it.

When you have made that decisions, that you do want to be a part of social media, make sure you cherry pick the right platform for you. There are a lot of social platforms out there, and a new one cropping up every month. And the all have there own distinct audiences and different benefits. It is not a one size fits all solution.

So before you set up a Facebook Business Page, or a Youtube account, you need to first know what each social network does and whether it's useful to you and your business.

I'm just going to run through the top few social media platforms and talk about the individual aspects of each one.

Twitter, is a micro blogging site, tweets are short snippets of information and you have access to a relatively large audience. You can get feedback and it is relatively easy to network with people, in a short, quick, convenient way. It is good if you are a particularly busy person.

Facebook is more about conversation and community. It is particularly visual, you have videos, images, weblinks and content can really go viral on Facebook, with its in depth commenting, sharing and liking features.

Then there is Linkedin. Labelled as more of a professional social network, it gives you the ability to communicate with a range of business professionals, whether they are in your industry, related industries, or completely separate. Linkedin also has a Q&A forum or group area. This is where you as an individual can go join and add your opinion, knowledge or answer questions.

You also have YouTube. It's not all about cute cats and dogs, you can easily create amateur or professional videos without spending thousands and thousands of pounds. It can be used for tutorials, interviews, news updates about your company or your latest product line.

And don't forget that it is the second largest search engine next to Google.

Pinterest is the fairly new kid on the block. It is all about social discovery. The idea is to create a highly visual pinboard, a collection of logos, images, websites, with a mixture of good design and copy.

It's particularly good if you are in e-commerce with a fairly visual product, as you can add images of your product or range to your Pinterest pin board.

In summary, remember you don't have to be on a social network. You need to be realistic and think about the time you have to commit to social networking. Remember that once you have made that decision to do social media that you should take the time to choose the right one for you."

Poorly executed Social Media could cause long term damage to your online reputation!

So if you take one thing away from this article it needs to be that you either need to do Social Media and be 100% committed to it, or not do it at all.

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