A few weeks ago, we talked about the “five types and the whys” of your business having a consistent social media presence.

But is it really necessary to incorporate all five forms of social media into a social media marketing plan? Our position at The Belford Groupis, no. You do need to use more than one social media platform, but trying to use all five forms is both unnecessary and unwieldy. Trying to juggle too many proverbial social media balls will just make you drop a ball at some point.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user SocialmediaVA

A closer look 

The five types of social media are unique and each serve a different purpose. Let’s take a closer look at the five types, what they include and how you might use them.

Social Networking– These are the most popular types of social media, and they allow users to share content, interact and engage with other people or businesses they find interesting.

The best examples are Facebook, LinkedIn and now Google+. As a business owner, you need to know that Facebook is generally best for business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing, whereas LinkedIn is more business-to-business (B2B). Google+ is still finding its place, so stay tuned.

Microblogging– Microblogging is a weird word that literally means “tiny blog.”  Twitter is currently the only relevant microblog. It allows people to record and share their thoughts, both profound and mundane, into the universe (on Twitter it’s usually called the “twitterverse,” by the way) in 140 characters or less.

As a business you can use Twitter to get in front of customers in a whole new way. You can create brand awareness; share links to your website and, most importantly, you can engage with your target audience.

Blogging– Blogs are a form of online diary. The written form is a blog but there’s also a video online “diary,” called a vlog. (You can incorporate a vlog in a blog but that’s getting technical).

Users can share information and opinions about countless subjects. By incorporating a blog into your website, you can drive more traffic to your website, establish yourself as an industry leader and educate your audience.

Social sharing-Sites such as Flickr and YouTube give users the chance to share pictures and video with the masses. Businesses can use these sites to provide information or instructions, or to share other visual content.

Location-based services– These sites give users the chance to “check in” at various locations throughout the day. Using these services gives businesses the opportunity to see who is coming to their establishment and to entice more visitors by offering specials for frequent customers. Two popular examples are FourSquare and Gowalla, but there are many of these location-based services. Yelp, just partnered with Apple as part of the new iPhone 4S’s Siri artificial intelligence.

Need help sorting out which social media site best fits your business? Or need help managing social media for your business? The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget …and any medium.

Call Stephanie, our social media strategist and community shepherd. She’d love to hear from you.