By now you’ve probably realized how important social media can be to your internet marketing campaign but may have some questions as to which are the best sites to use and just how to utilize which site to its fullest potential.
Back in June, I wrote a blog post on why social media was so important to internet marketing however, I did not really get too much into which sites were the best or most frequented or the ways you could use each individual site to drive traffic to your website or blog. Today I’ll discuss the top ten social media sites and some interesting ways to use them to your benefit.
Flicker is an image hosting site created in 2004 and now run by Yahoo. Though it isn’t as widely utilized and some other image hosting sites, with a reported 87 million users and 3.5 million images uploaded daily, Flickr has a lot of potential for growth.
Though you don’t need an account to browse images, you will need one to upload them and this is where Flickr can really help you out. As mentioned earlier, Flickr boasts an online community of 87 million members, the majority of them researchers and bloggers. Once you’ve uploaded your images, you can then tag and imbed the images with your web site address thus creating valuable link backs. If people choose to use your images in their blog posts (with permission and credit), visitors to their site can click the image and be directed to yours.
To give permission to use your images and give credit back to your site, you would add a description to the image which gives the blogger the right to use the image in exchange for a photo credit back to yourself or your site.
Founded in 2002, StumbleUpon is still relatively new to a lot of users and although it’s more of a discovery engine (search engine), it finds and recommends web pages, images, blogs, tailored to the users’ interests based on peer-sourcing and social-networking ideals. It creates a virtual network of like-minded visitors that are linked by common interests.
StumbleUpon boasts more than a million and a half users creating a significant community and valuable resource for driving traffic to your blog or website. The very nature of Stumble Upon allows for content to spread very quickly.
The key to using StumbleUpon is creating great content that can be shared by users. The more it is shared, the more your brand gets out there and gets noticed.
LinkedIn is a business oriented social media platform launched in 2003 and claims 259 million users in more than 200 countries. LinkedIn basically allows its users to create a profile and network with other users creating real world professional contacts.
LinkedIn also allows users to invite other potential users via email as well as provide status updates much like Facebook or Twitter.
They key to using LinkedIn to promote your brand and drive traffic to your site is to create a profile that is inviting and post your blog articles or relevant links to your site as status updates. Posting during high traffic times such as lunch time or early afternoon aids in your effort as does engaging with comments left on your status updates.
YouTube is a very popular video sharing website that allows users and corporations to upload video content, post comments, “like”, and share appealing content.
As with most social media sites, YouTube allows unregistered users to browse and watch video, as well as share content but you will need an account to upload media, comment or “like” videos. It’s free and takes only a few minutes.
One great thing about using YouTube to promote your brand is that Google likes to list YouTube results among its normal search results. If your blog is about home maintenance and you do a video series and tag the content correctly, it will typically be among the first few hits on a Google search. Also, there are millions of bloggers out there but not quite as many video bloggers or “vloggers”. Something to keep in mind if you’re good at producing great videos
Instagram is an image hosting site similar to Flickr but is by far more popular.
Instagram allows users to take images, upload them to the site, add filters, hash tags and has recently added video. The site also allows you to share your images or video across many social media outlets, increasing the saturation of your material onto the web.
Properly tagged and shared, images on Instagram can be a leading source of traffic to your blog or website. You can even add your web or blog address to the description in your profile. You can interact with other users via comments and tag individual users when you upload images.
Tumblr uses a microblogging platform and social networking to up its social media power. Users can post multimedia and other content to a short form blog of sorts.
Tumblr users can follow each other via a news feed similar to that of Facebook. They can “like”, reblog, and comment on content which is a great way to interact with your (hopefully) consumers and get your brand noticed.
Using Tumblr to drive traffic to your site is pretty easy. After making an account (it’s free), select a theme for your Tumblr blog. After that, you simply start creating content and tagging posts. Tagging is key, Tumblr has an inbuilt feature that allows you to add your blog or site address to your tags thus getting your brand out there and pushing traffic to your site.
Pinterest is a virtual discovery tool that is used to save ideas, pictures, DIY lessons, virtually anything, to a virtual bulletin board. Users can follow particular boards or “pinners” (members) and receive all the followed material in a home feed. There is also a search and messaging option available now. A visual image is “pinned” from the web as a visual bookmark, with a link back to the original source.
Many business owners are just now starting to see the value of Pinterest in driving traffic to their website or blog. With millions of users and the capability of linking your account to Facebook; it’s a social networking resource not to be taken lightly.
Using the site is simple. You simply make a free account, create some virtual boards and begin pinning. You can pin links to your blogs, items of interest to your target audience, and even humorous images or quotes to draw users in. The more your pins are pinned, the more they are shared, the more they are shared, the more your brand is put into the spotlight.
Twitter is an online social networking service that uses short, 140 character messages, which users can post or read. When you make a free account you can post, follow, and “re-tweet” messages from other users.
Twitter utilizes hashtags as its tagging service. With 100 million users posting an average of 340 million tweets a day, it is an advertising powerhouse. Most major corporations are using Twitter from everything to announcing sales, product launches, and blog posts.
After making a free Twitter account, you should begin by browsing Twitter and finding posters similar to your target audience and following them. Twitter is all about gaining followers so many users will do what’s called a “follow for a follow” which means they will follow you in return for you following them. Once you start tweeting your content, your followers will pick them up and retweet giving your brand a spotlight but remember, good content is still key.
#2. Google +
Google + is the second largest social media site behind Facebook and as such, is a powerful tool for getting your brand out there and recognized.
Described as a social layer, it is not simply a social networking site but holds the ability to credit authorship to multimedia directly to its author. It can be connected with all things Google and most social media, particularly YouTube.
Chances are if you’re an android user, you already have a Google+ account just waiting to be utilized. Google+ allows you to share content, follow other users and in turn be followed via social groups so not only are you spotlighting your content but you’re targeting your specific audience.
Now we come to the mother of all social media sites … Facebook. With an estimated 500 million users globally, Facebook has some serious reach when it comes to social media networking.
Founded in 2004, Facebook allows you to create a profile, add and categorize friends, private message, upload multi-media, create business pages and groups, as well as advertise for a fee. Setting up your profile and using Facebook is free.
By creating a business page for your site or blog and posting links to content on the page, you can drive an amazing amount of traffic to your site but only if your content is fresh and current. Creating a group around your brand is a great way to encourage sharing of your content as well as knowing what your specific target audience is. Advertising on Facebook is typically cost effective and place ads on the news feeds of those who have performed web searches of either your brand or anything close to it. You can also pay a small fee to be sure that followers of your business pages see all of the content you post. Facebook has changed their algorithm a bit to encourage this.
As you can see, using social media to drive traffic to your website or blog is not only a great idea but also relatively easy. All of these sites now have mobile apps so you could conceivably work on your various social media site right from your phone. As great as all of these sites are though, keep in mind that content still and always will be key!