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Social Networking Platforms Part 1: So many options, so little time


There are a lot of social networking platforms on the web today—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Myspace, Meetup, myLife and the new Pheed to name only a few. Unless you have unlimited headcount, chances are, you can’t possibly create and maintain a social presence for your company on all of them, let alone more than one or two. That’s why, in this week’s addition to the partner social media series, I start addressing some of the most popular platforms—Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

I’ll say that with the caveat that overall Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube were the top five social media tools used by marketers, with Facebook leading the pack. But if you break it down by business-to-business marketers—like you and myself—marketers are more focused on LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging. That’s, at least, according to 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report by Michael A. Stelzner and sponsored by Social Media Examiner.

Chances are you’ve used all of these mediums as an individual, but depending on your company size and role, you may not have used them to promote your business or find customers—yet. For that reason, in my next few posts, I’ll cover these platforms for business-to-business networking at a fairly high level and dig deeper in later posts.

This week, let’s look at Twitter

Twitter is one of the preferred social networking site for business-to-business marketers. It’s a fast-moving platform that’s best for up-to-date news, breaking trends and link sharing. It’s clean interface makes it fast and easy to scan your page and others’ tweet. Tweets are restricted to 140 characters, so users have to be brief and to-the-point. You can follow others and they can follow you. Users can post or “tweet’ on each other’s pages and reply to tweets. Users can also share others’ tweets or “retweet” (RT) them. Tweets can be favorited, much like a “like” on a blog or Facebook.

If you choose just one social networking platform, I recommend starting here or with LinkedIn. These are my suggested best practices for your Twitter presence:

  • Post 1–3 times a day—feed moves quickly
  • Follow the right feeds (more on this later)
  • Engage with others whenever possible
  • When you do engage, aim for super-fast turnaround with your responses
  • Keep it casual, keep it brief
  • Follow appropriate use of @replies and direct messages will be appreciated

Do you use Twitter today? If so, what's been your biggest learning when using the service?



Next time: Facebook and LinkedIn and then a look at best practices for all three.