Creating Profiles

By creating an online profile for your business on social media site you create more opportunities for customers to connect to your business.  If you use your profiles well you can also connect to visitors in a range of environments and so increase the chances they will become paying customers.

Generally your goal would be to obtain user profiles that are an exact match as the keyword you are trying to manage. In most cases this is a branded term such as your company name. Additionally branded usernames are generally available on social media websites. 

Alternatively you may wish to pick a keyword that you believe will be memorable or attract traffic naturally.  One American women experienced this by accident when she picked the Twitter name @theashes, she knew nothing about cricket and so was amazed when she gained thousands of followers demanding to know the scores of the England v Australia Ashes Series.  So the use of a phrase that people are already looking for may be good marketing.

Which Social Media Sites Should I Use?

Many sites particularly niche sites in your industry may be of value to your company, there are hundreds to choose from, however most people should start with the four biggest social media sites.

•    Twitter
•    LinkedIn
•    Facebook
•    MySpace

Twitter

Twitter offers a social networking and microblogging service, enabling its users to send and read messages called tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the user’s profile page. Tweets are publicly visible by default, however senders can restrict message delivery to their followers.  Twitter has gained popularity worldwide and currently has more than 175 million users.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site.  It has a far higher proportion of professional users than other social networking site.  It is particualy useful for companies providing business services as many individuals will search LinkedIn when seeking business contacts.  LinkedIn had more than 90 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide

Facebook

Facebook has more than 500 million active users. Users may create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common interest user groups, organized by workplace, school, or college, or other characteristics.  The recent addition of Facebook Fan pages has made it much easier for Businesses to utilize Facebook.  This is something that will become increasingly important as increasing numbers of users are using Facebook instead of search engines to carry out searches.

MySpace

At one time MySpace was the largest Social Networking Site in the world; recently however it has been steadily losing customers to Facebook which has over taken it in importance. This has caused some people to ignore MySpace; this is a mistake as it is still the 25 most visited website in the world.  MySpace has recently shifted its focus towards being more music orientated.  It is also increasingly catering specifically for the younger audience it attracts.  The website is still however a significant social networking site that business should using to gain customers.

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