When it comes to managing your online presence, the task is not so simple. This is especially true with respect to social networks. There are way too many social networking websites out there, and it can be a confusing decision about which one to choose and which one to ignore.
So, how does one pick the right social networks, and ignore the wrong ones? In this article, I shall attempt to answer this question by evaluating and analyzing some of the top and most well known social networks out there.
Which Social Network Should You Opt For?
You just cannot talk about social networking without starting the list with Facebook! Focusing more the personal aspect of your life, Facebook is the most popular social networking website out there!
Facebook offers a wide range of intuitive features which allow you to share your thoughts, photographs, videos, music and a lot more with your friends and family members. You can just connect with those friends of yours whom you know very well, or you can simply add even the distant relatives and then use the sorting feature in Facebook to create lists. Either way, Facebook offers you a great deal of control over your profile, and you can also set privacy options for the content that you share.
In terms of having a business presence on Facebook, you can create a page for your company or website, and then people can “like” or follow your business or website easily. Facebook allows only one profile per person, though you can of course create multiple pages if you have multiple businesses or interests.
- Join it: To connect with friends/family/foes; to share media such as photos and videos
- Ignore it: If you just want an entirely formal presence on the internet
Twitter is a social network with a rather unique appeal to it. It lets you share statuses, popularly known as “tweets”, in less than 140 words. People who wish to stay connected with you can “follow” you, and similarly, you can follow those folks whom you wish to be connected with.
Twitter is a perfect medium if you wish to share your thoughts, views, or updates regarding your business with your followers, friends and even clients. Tweets appear in real time, so whoever is following you can easily get updated regarding the content that you share on Twitter. If you are running a business, you should definitely consider joining Twitter. You can then tweet information such as special deals, updates, holidays, etc. and update your customers.
Also, Twitter has maximum number of celebrities, politicians, sports persons and other big names that matter who wish to stay connected with their fans and followers.
- Join It: If you are running a business; or need a quick no-nonsense network
- Ignore It: If you prefer the longer version of things
Google+ is generally regarded as a social network for geeks. In manner of approach, it is similar to Facebook. However, the implementation is different: you can sort your friend list into “circles”, or lists. Also, unlike Facebook, Google+ allows you to have multiple profiles.
You can also create a page or a community to promote your business. The interface is visually amazing, and Google+ has risen to the top in a short span of time, which says a lot about its popularity.
- Join It: If Facebook doesn’t suffice for you; you have a tech-related audience
- Ignore It: If your clientele does not use G+ (many people do not)
Pinterest is not your average share-em-all social network. It lets you create pin boards, wherein you can share content that you like. As you browse the internet, you are bound to find stuff that impresses or inspires you. Go ahead, Pin it!
You can also create pin boards to promote your business. For example, if your website is about designer jewellery, you can create pin boards about jewellery making, diamonds, semi-precious metals, jewellery designs, patterns, and so on. People who like such content will start following you, and you will easily attract an audience for your business. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
- Join It: If your business (or you) prefers sharing pictures often
- Ignore It: If pin boards are not, you know, “your thing”
LinkedIn is more of a professional network rather than the average social networks which cater to casual users. As such, LinkedIn has a well defined audience: you are either an employer who is looking for professional, or you are a professional who intends to impress potential employers and clients.
If your business requires you to make newer contacts on a daily basis, and also especially if it pertains to something of a serious nature, say academics, media, or publishing, you should already be on LinkedIn, no excuses! However, if you are looking for a casual social network that just lets you share pictures of your bakery with your clients, LinkedIn would be overkill and even useless for you.
Also, you should keep in mind that out of all the social networks mentioned in this article, LinkedIn is the one with the maximum number of privacy issues, simply because it requires you to enter detailed information about your jobs, education, professional life, etc.
- Join It: If you are a professional or an employer
- Ignore It: If you are not into media, publishing, computing, academics, etc.
Tumblr, unlike the other social networking websites that we have discussed so far, is not an actual social network per se. It is more of a blogging website, but since Tumblr is nowadays known as the originator of tumblogging or micro-blogging, and has its own thriving community, it is only natural to consider Tumblr in the list of social networking websites.
Basically, Tumblr lets you share content in the form of images, videos, statuses, quotes, links, or normal posts. Tumblr has its own community of active users, who can follow your tumblog.
Tumblr was recently acquired by Yahoo! so be sure to watch out for changes!
- Join It: If you primarily need to share a wide variety of content
- Ignore It: If your business does not need a blog; or if you do not have the required time
So there you have it — a simple guide to which social networking websites you should join, and which ones you should skip.
Are you active across social networks? If so, which ones do you prefer to use? Have your say in the comments below!