I was having a discussion with someone on LinkedIn and was asked for my opinion on a few of the major social networks. I’m still learning about social media marketing but these are my observations based on what I currently know and have experienced.
I like LinkedIn and think its one of the best, if not the best social network. I have no desire to share the details of my day-to-day life (it’s not that interesting) or to read about the personal details of other people’s lives so I appreciate that LinkedIn users discuss that stuff elsewhere. Not to mention that I prefer networks/websites where you can learn about things. I’ve also had a few people contact me about projects, jobs, etc. so I definitely think it’s worth the time investment.
Facebook & Twitter
I tend to lump Facebook and Twitter into the same category as being time wasters for users. They’re great for some companies but I don’t think that when people visit those networks they are in the right frame of mind for being interested in my services/products. Another issue is that it takes no real effort to like or follow someone so a brand might have a large number of fans but that audience might mainly consist of window shoppers who have no intention of ever making a purchase or are just looking for freebies. In addition, from a usability standpoint there is a lot of noise and clutter, especially on Twitter. (I’m actually toying with the idea of leaving my business pages/profiles inactive for a while so I can devote more time to LinkedIn and other networks.)
I’m biased because I don’t see why people find them so interesting (I felt the same way about MySpace). That being said, there are positives for both networks. For example, my hard drive crashed last week and Dell’s regular customer support was helpful but annoying because they kept trying to sell me services while I really just wanted to get my computer fixed. However, I reached out to their customer support via Twitter and the person that replied was excellent and helped me to troubleshoot and then find the drivers that I needed after l replaced the hard drive. Maybe Twitter isn’t that great for lead generation (depending on the company) but it could be great for keeping in touch with clients and answering quick questions.
Pinterest is on the short list of social networks that I use for business but also personally like (the others being YouTube, Quora, and of course LinkedIn). People can certainly browse the network without ever purchasing anything but I do like that it offers the option for tagging items with prices and being able to have pins click through directly to a page where the item can be purchased. I also like that while comments are allowed, people typically don’t write titanagraphs about their life story or constant updates about their day.
I honestly haven’t spent as much time on Google Plus (G+) as I have the other networks but plan to in the near future. I have an interest in graphic design and photography and find connecting with other designers/photographers and viewing their work to be very motivating. There aren’t as many people or as much activity compared to some of the networks but that’s not necessarily a bad thing because so far there is not a lot of noise or clutter. The biggest advantage for being active on G+ is that it’s tied into Google search and anything that can potentially offer a boost to SEO/SEM is always welcome.