Social Media is the new hot thing in the Web World. Some even believe the industry of SEO will quickly fade away. While I don’t think SEO is going to disappear, Social media is a big force that must now be considered in just about any web development projects. It’s importance continues to grow and the chances of it being a “fad” are now just about zero. The world of ”Social Media” can be a little confusing, so this document will hopefully provide a crash course to the social media novice and help explain our services.
There are a handful of sites you must know how to use for your business. How you use these depends on what type of business you are in. Also if you don’t have a smart phone you should seriously consider getting one. One can’t be a social media power user without one.
Be Social not “Spammy”
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We all pretty much know what Facebook is. Many of us have even set-up our Facebook business page and put a like button on our website. This is a good start. Facebook is a good way to get a little business out of your buddies.
If you are a business professional I suggest spending more time on your LinkedIn account than any other place. This is not a place to ask all of your buddies to join. Build up your list slowly, ask for referrals with everyone you work with. It’s the board room of the social media space.
Twitter is more important than Facebook in my opinion. It’s also a little harder to grasp the basic concepts. If you don’t have a twitter account, start one immediately and start following all sort of people, that is the best way to get your feet wet.
Whether you’re traveling, looking for a new place to eat in your home town, or trying to find a good local business, Yelp is probably the most popular site for your needs. You can search by phrases, like ‘cheap dinner’, types of businesses, like ‘lumber’ or ‘restaurant’, or even by the neighborhood you’re looking in just to see what’s around. With Yelp, users are rewarded for their input on the businesses they visit with status changes to their account, ‘Elite’ being the highest most sought after.
Like Yelp, it’s local business driven and thrives on user reviews. But unlike Yelp, Urbanspoon is linked with food bloggers and the local businesses themselves to make it a much better way to search local than just relying on a generic search engine. The Urbanspoon community is significantly smaller than Yelp, however.
Foursquare is a site where users ‘tag’ themselves wherever there are geographically on the earth. Your friends on Foursquare can see where you are when you tag yourself. The point of it is to track your friends, but also discover places you might not have heard of otherwise. Foursquare users get points for the more places they tag themselves at. Many business have Foursquare hotspots where if a user tags themselves there while visiting, they receive some sort of discount or reward for their patronage.
Aggregators: As far as Social Media goes, Aggregators are sites that collect content from all other reaches of the internet, and share it for people to see at their site. Examples; Reddit, Memebase, Tumblr, even Facebook and Twitter can be.
Digg is a sort of aggregator. It gathers news stories from all over, and from all different fields of interest, Sports, Politics, Music, Science, and everything else. You can sign into Digg with your Twitter or Facebook and share the articles you find interesting on the site you chose to log-in with. Digg also allows you to subscribe with your e-mail and get the ‘Top Stories’ sent to you daily.
Reddit is a collection of people on the internet who share anything and everything they find worthy of sharing. From my experience there is little to no censorship, so be careful when browsing Reddit’s pages, lest you stumble on something you did not want to see. Reddit also has a forum setup, so long threads of conversation over a single image or topic, regularly take place.
Memebase like Reddit is a compellation of everything from the internet. Memebase is moderated and censored for nudity and profanity. Also Memebase has creator pages where users can create their own media with stock images or uploaded images and submit whatever they like, as long as the Moderators approve. Memebase also has a voting system to see which submissions are the ‘Top Submission’ and get displayed on the Home Page.
Squidoo simplifies web page creation and allows users to create single pages devoted to something they know a lot about or love. You can create fan pages to your favorite bands or movies, or create an in-depth how-to on making your own meat smoker in your back yard. The thing that is different about Squidoo from other sites is that users can earn royalties from their writings if the pages are viewed and rated enough. Squidoo calls their sites ‘lenses’ because “they snap your point of view into focus”.
Hubpages is very similar to Squidoo, instead of ‘lenses’ they have hubs. It’s the same general concept except Hubpages has ‘rewards’. The rewards seem to mostly be ‘badges’ you can earn for the amount you contribute to the community, through answers, writings, and feedback. The ‘rewards’ are intangible, but show up as badges on your stats page. Hubpages does offer to allow you to cash in, like Squidoo, though Google AdSense. Users get paid for having Ads on their hubs.
Pinterest describes itself as “an online pinboard”. It is basically that. At Pinterest there are recipies, activities, fashions, quotes, all sorts of things, posted to the site. Your job is to ‘pin’ the things you see that you like to your page for all of your Pinterest followers to see. Followers can repin things to their page for their followers to see. Pinterest can be linked with Facebook or Twitter and the things you pin will also be posted on those sites as well.
Tumblr is considered by it’s users to be for more artistic people. Users can share their content in whatever form they chose; Photos, writings, drawings, computer illustrations, or just repost things from other sites. The big thing about Tumblr is the followers. People who follow you see everything you post on their dashboard, the front page. You can also add your own comments when you repost things, or like the post, which is reflected on the posters page. Tumblr is also completely uncensored.
Blog: A blog is an online journal. Blogging is the act of writing in said journal. Not to be confused with Vlog, which is a Video Blog. (or Video Log)
Blogspot and Blogger seem to be the same site. Both are run through Google and they are both blogging sites. With these sites it’s more about the writing than the pictures, but you can add pictures as well. Blogger allows users to customize their domain name slightly, where you can change the prefix before ‘blogger.com’ to whatever you see fit.
Flickr is solely an image sharing and uploading site. It is used to display many pictures, but also to host the large amount of, or large in size, images so they can have a URL and be used elsewhere on the internet, or just watched in a slideshow format on the Flickr site.
Instagram is both a website and a mobile app. The mobile app half takes the camera your smart phone already comes equipped with and adds various filters to your pictures, filters come with the app, and more can be purchased online. The website half is a social media site where users upload their pictures for their friends and followers to see. There is minimal text as the site is more about the pictures than anything else.