Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – it’s impossible to go through a day without these sites having a relevant impact on your life and business even if you’re not a subscriber. Their significant influence goes beyond social networking into the fields of news, branding, and marketing. With news channels frequently reporting on viral trends and hashtags appearing in the commercials for your favorite show, social media is a mainstream force and a key to success in the future – both socially and economically.
Time investment into building and growing an online footprint has become a critical stepping stone in today’s digital age and it is important to know how to utilize all the different options available. While Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn provide a powerful foundation, it is crucial not to overlook other platforms that also target your interests – sometimes even more effectively. Our Top Five examples include:
Platform: Slide sharing site
Platform: social news sharing site
What started out as a simple site where people could post stories and articles to be upvoted or downvoted by other users (or “redditors” as they prefer to call themselves), exploded in popularity and now boasts over 174 million visitors per month. Different topics of interest are divided into groups called subreddits which are accessible from the homepage. To date, there are over 8 thousand to choose from ranging from general categories such as science, news, and gadgets to more specific or original content such as the very popular “Today I Learned” subreddit where users are encouraged to share something new that they have discovered recently in their lives.
Although it is often overlooked as a social media powerhouse because of its dissimilarities to “traditional” social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, Reddit provides many avenues for social connection and marketing that its contemporaries lack. As an example of its overwhelming popularity, there have been many times where a small website cited in an article received such an intense inflow of traffic that it caused it to crash. This is known as the “Reddit Effect.”
Platform: business review site
Yelp is not only one of the most useful apps available but it is also an excellent social platform for networking and marketing. Over 132 million users visit Yelp per month where they can check-in, write reviews, and rate different businesses such as restaurants, hotels, and entertainment. With their Talk option, local conversations can be started on a variety of categories.
As vital as it is for businesses to be appear on the Google maps, it has now become equally important for them to appear on Yelp. Beyond just providing a raising of awareness for businesses, Yelp furnishes an armament of local reviews and ratings serving as the ultimate reinforcement for the quality of their products and services.
Platform: meeting exchange networking
What sets Meetup apart from most social networking sites is its focus on getting away from the computer. The site allows users to discover others with similar interests or hobbies and set dates to “meet up” in groups. From dance groups to hiking excursions, Meetup provides a fantastic way to meet new people with the benefit of being one of the few social media sites where knowing other users is not a prerequisite to signing up and building a new social core.
Platform: social networking
According to the Statistics Portal, Google+ was the third most visited social media platform after Facebook and YouTube, edging out the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn. Then why is considered overlooked, you ask? Google+ has suffered from an unfortunate stigma that it only recently has shown signs of overcoming – and this probably thanks to its recent integration with YouTube which has forced users to adopt it en masse. It has been viewed as either too complicated to use or not offering anything unique to set it apart from its competitors. Both views are incorrect.
Google+ offers a wide range of personal profiles and business pages that users can add to their “circles” – Google’s equivalent to liking on Facebook. What sets it apart is how it has improved the art of networking by implementing its own vast search engine optimization to connect people and suggest groups based on one’s interests. Its notoriety as being difficult to work with is also greatly exaggerated and probably has more to do with Google+ having a seemingly overwhelming amount of options that has been scaring off potential users. Options that include Google Hangouts (which enables users to have real time interactions), seamless Gmail and YouTube integration, built in format codes allowing your posts to appear in bold or italic (a distinct feature that most other social platforms like Facebook lack), and Google+ Brand Page Audit (which allows users to view free metrics on how their page is performing online). The beauty of Google+ is that it can be as simple or as intricate as you wish it to be.
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