If you’re thinking of starting a social campaign – or even getting your business involved in social media at all – there are a few websites you’ll need to be aware of, at least as a starting point. There’s a vast array of social networks on the ‘net, so it’s fairly easy to become overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Naturally, we’ll be focusing on the “big three,” but we’ll also be discussing a few lesser-kn0wn sites which, if utilized correctly, could very well skyrocket your business above and beyond the competition.
Facebook: This one’s the most obvious on the list. As one of the largest, most successful social networks in the world, Facebook’s probably your best bet for a social media campaign, and it’s also the most commonly selected (right up there alongside Twitter). There are plenty of ways to go about marketing your organization, if you’ve got it in your head to do so, and as such, Facebook’s a great place for any organization to start.
Twitter: You’d be surprised how many users go to Twitter for their news. As such, simply establishing a professional presence on the site can go a very long way towards strengthening your brand. As we’ve said before, you’re going to want to be careful about setting up a marketing campaign on Twitter – the free and open nature of the website means that a poorly-planned campaign could end up damaging your brand far more than benefiting it.
Google +: Simply because Google + didn’t unseat Facebook as the world’s dominant social network, that doesn’t mean it should be discounted – there’s still plenty of dedicated users, and for what it’s worth, Google does understand that social marketing is a big deal. At the very least, it couldn’t hurt to have a few people establish a presence on the site.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn has been receiving some pretty negative press lately (long story short, they didn’t take account security as seriously as they should have), but that doesn’t negate the value of the site as a social networking tool. It’s a social site for the business professional – and a great place to connect with other people in your industry. This isn’t the site you want to go to for a social marketing campaign; it’s where you want to go if you’re looking for a few new people to add to your staff.
Hi5: Although it was one of the fastest growing social networks on the web back in 2008, Hi5 has kind of fallen by the wayside in North America recently. Nevertheless, it provides a unique opportunity for someone who knows how to properly utilize it – it’s a social network centered around bringing people together based on shared interests. Plus, if you’re looking to establish yourself in Mexico or Latin America, it’s a good place to start: it’s one of the most popular networks in that region.
Deviantart: This technically isn’t a social network, but it’s still worth knowing about, particularly if your business is involved in multimedia of any sort. Deviantart serves as a sort of online social hub for artists of all kinds, and many often submit fan works- pieces devoted to their favorite character, game, or TV series – to the site. To my knowledge, there hasn’t yet been a successful social campaign executed over Deviantart, but that doesn’t mean that one isn’t possible.
YouTube: Like DeviantArt, YouTube isn’t technically a social network, but it’s so closely integrated with all the top networks that it’d be foolish not to at least consider it as far as advertising’s concerned – after all, it’s one of the chief sources of media on the ‘net. While it might not be a great idea to plan a campaign completely around YouTube (though it’s certainly achievable), it’s still a great way to incorporate video into your social strategy.
51.com: If you’re planning on establishing yourself in China, and you want to cobble together some form of social marketing strategy, you need to incorporate 51.com into it. Since it was founded, it has established itself as China’s premiere social network, with hundreds of millions of users in the country. It might be a bit of a stretch, but 51 might be even more important than Facebook, as far as a Chinese audience is concerned.
Orkut: In Brazil, Orkut is king. Though Facebook’s usurped a considerable chunk of its userbase, it’s still one of the premiere social networks in the country. As such, you’re going to want to consider taking a look at Orkut while planning anything out. It’s currently owned and operated by Google, so it has a certain degree of integration with Google + – use that to your advantage.
Reddit: If something’s worth seeing on the Internet, it’s on Reddit. If it’s not, it will be soon. While it’d take one of the most talented marketers in the world to successfully develop a campaign on Reddit, it’s still a website that’s worth looking into if you want to see what’s new, popular, and interesting online. And hey, if you can establish a bit of a presence on there, all the better – customers like an organization whose public faces are personable.
What other social networks do you think should be added to this list? Leave your opinions in the comments below!