Social media tools for business
The choice of social media channels can be overwhelming. Below is a brief guide to help you understand some of the options available to you.
- Social networking sites
Social networking sites let users create profiles, build networks and share information. Businesses can also develop their own profiles or pages and attract followers for the purpose of gaining new customers, brand development and networking.
- Job networking sites
Job networking sites can be used to build a professional business profile and connect with networks of skilled people for the purposes of recruitment. LinkedIn is one example of a job networking site.
A weblog, or blog is an online journal of thoughts, observations, promotions, links, images or videos. Blogs are typically public and can allow readers to comment on posts and interact with the author. They can be hosted in-house or through blogging platforms that provide content management software and website hosting. Some examples of free blogging tools include Blogger and WordPress.
Micro-blogging sites enable users to send short messages to a network of followers. Micro-blogs can be useful for businesses with a lot of information to share. Twitter and Tumblr are two examples of micro-blogging sites.
- Video sharing sites
- Podcasts and vodcasts
A podcast is an audio file typically containing blog-style or lecture-style content and is usually available either for download onto a computer or portable device (so it can be played offline) or streamed live. Vodcasts are just podcasts in video format.
- Social-news communities
Social-news communities are websites where members discover and share interesting news or links to others in the community. Social-news websites are not intended for selling your products and services. Some examples of social-news communities include Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit.
- Private social network services
A private social network service hosts a series of private networks where users can share information within that private network. This type of service is useful for businesses that want to develop a secure organisation-only network for the purpose of knowledge sharing. Yammer is an example of a private social network service.
- Location-based services
A location-based service helps you connect and interact with other people and businesses in your area. Foursquare is an example of a location-based service that also enables you to recommend or rate businesses in that area.
The channels listed above are just examples of available social media channels. You might find it effective to use a few channels in combination with each other. For example, business.gov.au uses Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.