Project Description

There is no denying the influence and presence of social media. Through real-time online connections with existing and potential customers, a company can convey information regarding its brand, product and service through a range of platforms and tools which are a key feature in online strategy.

Facebook
Launched in February 2004 for college students, Facebook has come a long way in a short seven years. Now with an estimated 800 million active users it is ranked as the most used social networking service in the world (by the number of active monthly users).
Lucky for you, starting a business page – and tapping into the power of Facebook – is pretty easy.Once your page is created, users ‘like’ it (opt-in to get your posts) and your news will be postedto their ‘wall.’
The Facebook interface makes it easy for your fans to ‘like’ or share your posts and when theydo, their friends (the average user has 130 friends) will see this activity, therefore putting yourbrand in front of an audience you may not normally have access to.

Google for Business
Google is a power-house, this is no surprise. Originally launched as a search engine company in1996, Google has continually added, updated and created new products that will appeal to it’s1billion unique visitors per month.
Google Plus was introduced in June 2011 for personal use and in November 2011 was opened tobrands. Some of the features of Google+ include: Circles, Hangouts, Messenger, Instant Upload,Hashtags and more. These products are definitely designed with the user in mind. The downside– there is no way to create a vanity url for your brand page.
Even though this is Google’s fourth go at a social media site, you cannot deny the importance ofadding your brand to there, if for search engine rankings alone.

Linkedin
Founded in 2002 and launched in 2003, LinkedIn is THE premier B2B social networking site. LinkedIn gets 2 new members every second, putting it at 135 million active users in more than 200countries.
Traditionally viewed as the spot to put your resume and search for a job, LinkedIn has growninto a robust networking site. From job listings to interest groups (there are more than 870Kgroups) there are great benefits to keeping your profile up-to- date. Look at it like a business afterhours event…. put on your suit, add a smile to your face and be on your best behaviour becauseyou never know what kind of business leads you’re going to get.
We always recommend dedicating an hour or so a week maintaining your LinkedIn profile. Also, be sureadd your company listing, and update it as well. Use your LI company profile page like a resumefor your business.

Twitter
A micro-blogging social media site that has been around since 2004, Twitter has an estimated300 million users world-wide. It has been described as SMS of the internet, because posts areshort, sweet and to-the- point.
Twitter is a tidal wave of information. Posts come in at 140 characters or less and can beorganized via hashtags (#). Topics range from totally practical.
Twitter differs from Facebook in that users ‘follow’ each other. If someone follows you, you canfollow them back. Therefore, it is easier to gain a following, but the followers are not as targetedas they are on Facebook.
We have found that Twitter is an awesome way to connect with people and/or other businessesparticipating in the same event. Following a hashtag at a concert, live performance or webinarcreates a richer experience. As a business owner you can utilize this at events your companyparticipates in – try it! – We bet you’d be blown away by the response.

YouTube
YouTube is a video sharing social media site that is owned by Google. There are more than 48hours of new video uploaded to the site every minute. Wow! As a small business owner, usingvideo in your online marketing strategy – and the back-end key words of your YouTube video –is just as important as your other online strategies.
YouTube recently announced YouTube for schools and I predict more ‘stations’ will be rollingout in the future. Will your specialty be included? Maybe!

Instagram
Instagram is a critically important social network. The photo-sharing app is not only important for retailers, restaurants, or travel companies; as one of the most effective brand-building tools available today, Instagram is increasingly important for every kind of business.
Instagram is now a hub where regular people find (and judge) the visual identity of a business. Without a strong Instagram presence, companies risk being ignored or forgotten, especially among the next generation of consumers. If you do take Instagram seriously, it can open up a world of opportunity for your brand. Forrester has named Instagram the “king of social engagement,” citing the fact that top brands’ Instagram posts generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21 percent. That means Instagram delivered these brands 58 times more engagement per followerthan Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter.
So, you now know why your business should be on Instagram.

Pinterest
If your products are visually appealing, then this social media site is for you. Pinterest is a visionboard-styled social photo sharing site that was launched in 2009. The mission is to connecteveryone in the world through shared taste and the things they find interesting.
Users find and create theme-based boards, populating these ‘boards’ with a “Pin It” button. Pinsmay be divided into pictures, videos, discussions, and gifts.
Users may follow anyone or any brand, users can also ‘re-pin’ your pinned items. Companieswith product photos can gain a huge following and quick.

Ryze
Started in 2001, Ryze is a social networking site for professionals – particularly entrepreneurs.
It’s free to join and there are paid memberships are available. There are currently over 500,000 members worldwide.
Users may follow anyone or any brand, users can also ‘re-pin’ your pinned items. Companieswith product photos can gain a huge following and quick.
More than 1000 organizations host networks on Ryze. According to their website, networks on.
Ryze let existing organizations and communities plus new ones use Ryze’s technology to connect their members with each other.
As of this posting, Ryze is not accepting new members. How intriguing!

Talkbiznow
Talkbiznow is a web-based business community that provides business services for smallbusinesses and professionals. In addition to the basic functionality of creating a profile andconnecting with others, users can manage a calendar, store files (up to 50MG of free space!),host webinars, manage all other social media sites with Social One and lots more.
The company’s mission is to simplify the essential business services and seamlessly integrateand deliver them through the internet for Free. Making it possible for businesses of all sizes tonetwork, collaborate and essentially expand their services in avenues they might not haveexplored before. Talkbiznow could be a great site to help get the social media newbie moving in the rightdirection. Sign up is easy, and the profile build and management is user-friendly. We especially likethe free collaboration and desktop services: file sharing, web conferencing and voice conferencing.

Affluence
This is a social media site for the (you guessed it) affluent. In fact, you you must prove your worth before you can even join, so I can’t tell you much about it, other than it’s intriguing.Affluence is a private social network where accomplished individuals connect, shareinformation, and engage in meaningful conversations. Members also enjoy exclusive, high-quality content and feature advice from industry experts on subjects such as art, technology andtravel.
So, if you fall in the income range of a “verifiable minimum household net worth of $1 million(US) or annual household income of $200,000,” then this most certainly could be the spot for you!

Quora
Now that LinkedIn has disabled their popular Answers feature, Quora is a great place for smallbusiness owners to be. For details, visit this recent post.
Wondering how to make social media marketing work for your small business? new self-paced, hybrid social media marketing course geared to help your small businesssucceed!