How Should I Utilize My Blog?

Your website and blog are unique among your online accounts in that you should have total control over the functionality, appearance, and content of both. Social media accounts are never really “yours” in the sense that while you own the trademark (registered or unregistered) to your business name and the copyright to your posts and multimedia, you are not the owner of the social media site or even your account within the site. You do not have full control over how your brand or user homepage is presented on each service. Social media services are also limited in ways that you may not anticipate. For instance, Facebook does not provide the means to add a full online catalog of your products or services to your Facebook profile, but you can add that to your website. Twitter does not allow you to attach a full-length profile of your business to your account, but any modern blog easily provides that capability.

You fully own your site, the blog, and the content contained within it. Therefore, your site and blog should be both the focal point of your social media efforts and the ultimate repository of all the content you create. While you should freely distribute content to your accounts on other social media services, such as publishing blog post excerpts on Facebook or videos to YouTube, you should always direct users back to your site and blog. Remember, you are utilizing social media to build an audience and attract potential customers to your business, not to produce content solely for the benefit of other companies.

How Should I Utilize Facebook?

Facebook is unique both for its robust functionality and its popularity. If you were limited to only utilizing one social media service, Facebook would be the clear choice for most individuals and businesses. You can share full-length updates, photos, videos and maps with your followers. Facebook also allows for moderation of sharing and comments, giving you granular control over comments left by others and access to your content. Furthermore, Facebook offers options for integrating content from other social media services like Twitter and YouTube, allowing you more freedom to share content from different sources with your “Friends”, or followers on the service. The popularity of Facebook allows your business to reach a wide and diverse audience through just one account and service.

Some potential drawbacks of the service include the inability of potential customers who aren’t members of Facebook to full access to your content and they will be unable to send you direct messages through the service or comment on your posts.

How Should I Utilize Twitter?

Twitter is unique among social media services in that it specifically mimics the format and nature of a widely-used communication protocol – Short Messaging Service (SMS) or text messaging. Twitter messages, or “tweets”, are limited to 140 characters in length. This gives your Twitter followers the ability to sign up for your updates via text messaging through their cell phone provider. Twitter is an exciting service because you can instantaneously post updates to both your followers and all Twitter users who may discover your messages through searches and repost s by your followers, or “retweets”. You can also instantaneously receive feedback as well. Twitter, like Facebook, is also very popular in the U.S. and around the world – you should be able to attract a wide and diverse audience on this service as well.

Twitter is an excellent way to post short, concise updates and links to other content. The limitations of the service make it less versatile overall than Facebook, but the immediacy of Twitter can better promote an event, a sale or limited-time offer and important advisories to customers. Also, Twitter can be utilized specifically to request feedback and address customer support issues. Bill Gerth, an employee of Comcast Corporation, operates a Twitter account with the handle “@ComcastCares”. He uses this account to directly support Comcast customers through the social media service.

How Should I Utilize LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social media network that specifically focuses on businesses and professional relationships. While the service is less popular than Facebook or Twitter, it can be very advantageous for some individuals and organizations to specifically cater to this audience of businesses and professionals. LinkedIn can be an excellent way to attract both leads and support. LinkedIn is an especially valuable service to salespeople, recruiters and individuals and businesses that specifically cater to other businesses and professionals.

Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows users to post updates and share multimedia. LinkedIn also supports a limited messaging system (which is limited by design to discourage spamming) and groups which feature members of specific industries and businesses. One of the drawbacks of LinkedIn is it’s not a completely free service for users – more advanced messaging and sharing capabilities are reserved for those that pay a subscription fee to upgrade their accounts. This is different from Facebook and Twitter – those services do not limit user features or offer tiered memberships. Whether or not the free membership tier fits your needs, or if it is advantageous to pay for an upgraded membership, depends on how well this service fits within your marketing and social media strategy.

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Read the Marketing Strategy Series

Google Services For Your Business

Getting Started: Social Media Strategy

Forming a Social Media Strategy

Developing a Social Media Strategy

Forming a Social Media Strategy; Developing a Universal Social Media Strategy

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Applying Your Strategy to Different Services

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Targeting Your Audience

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Should I utilize online advertising?

Forming a Social media Strategy: Marketing Your Social Media Accounts Offline

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Local Directories, Part One

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Local Directories, Part Two, Google Business

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Directories, Part Three, Bing Places For Business

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Local Directories, Part Four – Should I use Yelp?

Forming a Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Local Directories, Part Five, Superpages and Dex. Are there any other business directories I should use?