By John Eberhard
In the online world things seem to change, faster than fashion, faster than the weather, faster that yesterday’s clothes. What was the greatest thing last year could be completely washed up this year.
So it is with social media. In this article I will list out some of the current top social media sites. Except for the first couple, I am not claiming to rank these sites.
1. Facebook has really jumped into first place and doesn’t look like it will be leaving that spot anytime soon. I took a liking to this site from the beginning and have used it to market my business and make money. You start up a personal profile, can put up a fan page for your business (which has been enhanced in the last year), and can put up a pay per click ad campaign. If you have a fan page, you can now post a button on your regular web site for people to “like” the fan page. Of course the key with Facebook, either when marketing from your personal profile or from a fan page, is to have lots of friends (personal profile) or fans (fan page). You can post a status update with text, pictures or videos, and you can comment on other people’s posts, thus starting threads.
2. Twitter popularized the concept of “micro-blogging,” i.e. posting status updates with a max of 140 characters. You follow people, and others will follow you to see what you have to say. You can post what you’re doing with your business, and post links to your articles or videos or offers. It pays to use a URL shortener like www.goo.gl for any web addresses you include in your post, since the number of characters is so short. In terms of following people, you can target people who have certain keywords or phrases in their bio or in their “tweets.” You can also follow people that follow or are followed by another specific user.
3. LinkedIn is a popular business networking site. Your profile contains data on where you work now and where you’ve worked in the past, and you can connect to other people who have worked where you work or have worked in the past, or who have a lot of connections in common with you, or who are in your industry. You can post status updates just like Facebook or Twitter.
4. Ping.fm is a social media syndication site, which means that you can start up an account on it and then hook up all your other social media sites to it. It gives you a field to write your status updates in, with a limit of 140 characters just like Twitter. Then when you post something on Ping.fm, if you’ve hooked it up right, that post will go out to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other accounts. I like the idea of being able to send messages out to thousands of people at once, so I like this site.
5. MySpace. My how the mighty have fallen. MySpace used to be the top social media site a couple years ago, but has really dropped off. I personally think it is because of the idiotic way they let people customize their profile pages, so that every page you go to, you have to figure out where everything is. While I’m all in favor of originality, many people took it too far, some putting background images behind their page so you could not even read the text. I heard MySpace just got sold this week for $35 million, most of it in stock. That’s a pittance in this field. And I recently was working on adding friends to a client’s MySpace account, and had to struggle to get 50 in a month, because apparently hardly anyone goes on it anymore.
6. WordPress.com is a free blogging site, where you can sign up and then put up a free blog on the topic of your choice. There are several free blogging sites but I personally like WordPress.com the best because it is built on the WordPress architecture, which gives you a lot of features and options. It also has a feature built in to send out a notification (called a “ping”) to all the blog search engines, whenever you post anything.
I’ll explain something about WordPress that many people don’t understand. WordPress is a blogging system. You can download files from WordPress.org, and install them on your hosting account and customize your blog in whatever way you want. Also most hosting companies will help you install WordPress on your site so you don’t have to do the manual install which despite what WordPress says, takes 30-45 minutes. Installing WordPress on your site is free, and you can have your blog have whatever web address you want.
WordPress.com on the other hand, is a free blogging site, and you start an account and your blog is then hosted on their site, and will have “Wordpress” in the URL (http://yourblogname.wordpress.com).
7. Blogger.com is perhaps the #2 free blogging site. You can start an account and put up a blog of your choice. They have a lot of users and are owned by Google, but I find them a lot harder to customize your page.
8. Posterous.com is another free blogging site. They have one very special feature, which is once you set up an account on Posterous, you can hook up all your other blogs to it. Then you post something on Posterous, and it goes out to all your other blogs automatically. Another great time saver.
9. Blog.com is another free blogging site. Like WordPress.com, they use the WordPress architecture which makes it easier to customize and gives you lots of features.
10. Squidoo is a fairly high traffic site where you can put up a page (called a “lens”) about some specific topic. This page can have an article, pictures, videos, and links to your blog or blogs. Your article can contain text links (called “anchor text”) which are the best type of links to have to your site. Squidoo seems to understand that people may want to use their site to market products or services, and they don’t seem to think that’s a crime or anything.
11. HubPages is another site similar to Squidoo, where you can put up a page and include an article, pictures, videos, etc. The only problem is that Hubpages does seem to think it’s a crime to market anything using their site, so they limit you to only one link per page, and will sometimes disapprove your article if they determine it is not completely unique, i.e. if the same article is posted anywhere else. So according to them, you’re supposed to write an article and put it up on their site and not anywhere else, and do it out of the philanthropy and goodness of your heart, with no desire to ever (gasp) make money or anything evil like that. Guess you can tell what I think of them.
12. Google Knol is a new site sort of similar to Squidoo and HubPages, where you can post articles. You can include pictures and links to your heart’s content, and since it is owned by Google my guess is it gives pretty good link juice.
Good luck with social media marketing.