Does this sound familiar or does this somewhat describe you? Perhaps you set up your Facebook account and you participate somewhat, even if it is mostly to see what everyone is doing out there. And you set up a LinkedIn account several years ago (as that was the thing to do at the time and/or were possibly seeking employment).

Now you can’t even remember your login and password for the account and you can’t figure out why people are still trying to “connect” with you. Lastly, you can’t stop hearing about Twitter, yet you have only sent out one or two tweets about a year and a half ago once you heard that Twitter was growing. Additionally, you are sold on the idea of social media, believe that social media can help you in your marketing efforts and have even started setting up your accounts. But, are you wondering which social media sites will work the best for you? Would you like to know which platforms you should spend the most time and effort on? Hearing so many of these questions floating around out there prompted me to write this article.

It is important to understand that perhaps when we hear about social media, we lump it all into one big “social media” category. I believe that it is necessary to consider that they are all different. Wikipedia defines social media as “the use of Web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue,” and while all social media fall into this definition, they need to be approached uniquely. Let’s analyze the top three social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Facebook
Facebook defines itself as “Giving people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” Facebook is largely a social network and an area in which one can share their information, including interests, education, marital status, photos, videos, etc. Most Facebook participants largely use Facebook for staying in touch with friends, family, contacts and sharing information with them. So if you receive business by referral, I would recommend engaging and re-engaging with your Facebook sphere of influence. For business and marketing on Facebook as well, consider a Facebook fan page and share listings, open houses and perhaps relevant industry information.

Twitter
What is Twitter and should I also be tweeting? Twitter is a micro-blog and a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply identify the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations. If you do NOT like to share personal information through social media, perhaps Twitter may be for you. Twitter also does not require you to “accept” friends and set privacy settings or enter a great deal of personal information. You can utilize Twitter in many ways and even if you only wanted to use Twitter to gather relevant information, you can do that too. Additionally, you can market yourself, listings and services through Twitter and gain brand recognition and direct people to your website(s).

LinkedIn
And finally, if you haven’t logged into LinkedIn in a while and/or you do not have a LinkedIn account, I would highly encourage you to do so. Why? LinkedIn is largely a professional social media outlet. This is your professional credentials and essentially allows you to market yourself and your business professionally. Many tell me that they engaged in LinkedIn as a result of their potential clients and prospects looking for them. I have yet to find a reason that it doesn’t make sense for you to get “LinkedIn.”

Lastly, whatever social media sites you participate in, I recommend these three things:
1. Be consistent
2. Be relevant
3. Be engaging

HAR offers many social media classes and instruction. For more information and to sign up for one of these classes, please go to: www.har.com/edu

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