The 6,528 Word Guide to Social Media

By: Ramsay | 110 intelligent opinions, add yours

social media guide

A quick list of social media sites: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Reddit, Digg, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Yelp, imgur… oh and your blog, that’s social media too!

Jeez there’s a lot!

So which one do you focus on?

Or, like me, perhaps you prefer to crawl up into a tiny ball in the corner of your office and rock back and forwards while listening to the “ding!” and “pop!” of the constant stream of social networking notifications emanating from your computer.

Is it all too damn hard?

Well, it can be if you don’t have a clearly defined social media strategy. If you’re not careful you will spend all your time checking these needy sites for updates only to realize that you aren’t actually creating anything valuable or doing anything productive.

In this post I’m going to talk about my own thoughts on this matter as well as sharing a few interesting facts and figures about where you might want to spend your social media time.

HONESTY TEST: Leave a comment now telling me where you focus your social media efforts and then read the post and see if you have changed your mind. I’m very interested to know who has thought their strategies through.

The uncompromising base for all your online activities

Let’s get something straight right from the beginning: the focus of all your online activities should be your blog or website.

People like Brian Clark have been saying it for years.

You see the whole point of a social networking site (for a business) is to increase traffic, engagement and sales for that business.

We’re not posting every 30 seconds to Twitter because we want more followers, unless those followers do something for your blog. We’re not uploading images to Pinterest because we really want Pinterest to succeed – they’re doing okay.

The whole point is to grow your asset.

But even that get’s confusing!

Why?

Well, a lot of bloggers seem to focus on growing an email list or getting more comments or getting more traffic. But those things are also completely useless unless they are making money.

Of course this stuff only applies to people who are using their blog as a means to make some sort of income. Not everyone is. But if you are, you need to remember that the whole blogging and social media thing is a means to an end.

So which social networking site should I use? Should you be everywhere?

Now that I’ve got the “focus on your blog!” rant out of my system we can go on and talk about how to determine which social networking site is best suited to your particular needs and aspirations.

And that is a very important point: there is a big difference between all these social media sites and the way people use them.

A furniture store will not get the same returns from Reddit as they would from a successful Pinterest account. Likewise, a local pizza shop would be better off with a healthy dose of Yelp and Google+ reviews than a super popular pizza-based Pinterest page.

Pat Flynn has become quite famous for the catch phrase “be everywhere” but is that a realistic expectation for bloggers and small businesses who don’t have unlimited time and resources?

And how do you know which one to focus on?

Well, there are a few things to think about first:

  • What are you trying to achieve?
    It’s surprising how many businesses have no idea what results they want from their social media budgets. It’s important to know where you want your social media traffic to go and what the end result will be.
  • What are your strengths?
    Not everyone has a Canon 10D SLR camera with 15 years of photography experience. The person who does will do really well on Pinterest because they love photos over there. You need to know what you’re good at.
  • What is your target market?
    When people say “target market” they are usually talking about a demographic like age, sex, marital status, etc. I’m more talking about the “type” of user that you want to go after. For example, do you want people who regularly leave reviews or people that share photos?
  • Do you have the staff power?
    Some social networks demand a lot of constant attention. For example, if you have a big Facebook presence and you are a relatively large company you’ll want to make sure there are enough people addressing complaints. If left too long without a response those people can get vicious!
  • What is your budget?
    One thing that a lot of small businesses and bloggers forget is that social networking costs money, even if you aren’t doing a paid advertising campaign. Why? Because it is time you are spending there instead of on actual product development. Business owners often don’t understand that you are effectively still paid for your time.
  • What is trending?
    If you spend enough time online you start to notice trends. This is both a good and bad thing in terms of where you should focus your energies. Trends can drive a lot of traffic but also die off quickly and can end up being a waste of time and money. Identifying value for time/money and the trend is very important.
  • What is working?
    The last point I want to mention here is that, as simple as it might sound, you need to measure what is working as you go along. You’re not going to know which site is the best fit for your business until you have a go and see what happens.

Once you have thought about those preliminary things you can start to assess what kind of a social media player you might want to become.

Should I use one at the expense of all others?

I don’t want you to get the impression that you should be focusing on one social networking site at the expense of all others. That’s not wise.

What I am trying to get across, though, is that some social media outlets are better for some kinds of businesses. And some businesses only have limited amounts of time/money to throw at this stuff so it’s important to know what you’re up against.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some information that might help you make a more calculated decision.

Google+ (a.k.a. G+, Google Plus)

A description of Google+

Dubbed the “Facebook killer” because Google needed to come up with a solution that was so comprehensive that it became essential to use to help to stave off Facebook’s social domination. Google+ integrates all of your Google services into one social networking platform that is now intimately linked with SEO and personal branding.

Google Authorship
A screen grab of your photo in Google search results after you have set up Google Authorship – a must for SEO.

Google+
Local search is now intimately linked with G+. Users can review your business, check in to locations and search results will be different depending on what your friends recommend.

Google+
Google Hangouts are video conferences that can be held between you and your various circles.

Google+
Google Communities are gatherings of people around niche topics. A good place to grow authority and renown.

The main users of this social network

Around 71% of Google+’s 500 million users are male between 25 and 34. It seems the most active types are business owners, bloggers, writers, technology sectors, individuals growing a personal profile, photographers, etc.

The main features of Google+

This is an extremely feature-rich platform that has many huge advantages for publishers, bloggers and small business owners. The main features of Google+ include:

  • Circles -
    Following people on G+ is called Circling. You put people into different circles that you create based on how you might interact with them in real life. For example, you might put me in a “Blogging” circle or a “Jerks” circle. You then see updates from people you’ve circled on your homepage.
  • Hangouts
    A massive feature of G+ is the ability to do video hangouts, much like a webinar. This is a great community building function that has even been used by the Australian Prime Minister and other high profile people.
  • Communities
    Interested in landscape photography? Start a community about it or join one that already exists. Great hubs that form an integral learning base.
  • Google Authorship
    One of the most important features of the whole deal. This is where you link your Google+ profile to any website/blog content that you’ve written in order to get your photo to appear in Google’s search results.
  • Pages
    After much user backlash, Google+ finally launched a Pages feature much like the way Facebook Pages work. These still don’t seem to be a very popular part of the site, however, as it is much more focused on the “person” running the account.
  • Complete Google service integration
    Unlike a standalone social networking site like Twitter, Google+ integrates with all your other Google services. Gmail, YouTube, Local, etc. are all now connected with this social device. You’ll see different search results based on what your Circled friends are talking about, etc.

The Advantages of Google+

Google+ is still relatively new and as such people are still “feeling it out”. That said, there are already some huge advantages to this social networking platform.

  • Personal brand growth
    As Google+ is focused on individuals you have an opportunity to grow a really strong personal brand that you can then apply to your various business projects.
  • SEO integral
    People on Google+ are already reporting many search engine optimization advantages. For example, having your profile picture appear in Google search results dramatically increases click through rates. Many SEOs are predicting a much higher weighting for active G+ users in the near future.
  • Grow a broad authority
    As Google+ is integrated with your local restaurant reviews, YouTube channel, etc. you have the opportunity to create a really broad sense of authority and trust.
  • Reach
    Google+ is now the second largest social network in the world behind Facebook. This is largely part to the huge swaths of Android mobile devices being sold but what it means is that there is a large and active community for you to reach and connect with. Many people are reporting better conversion rates than other social networks too.

The Disadvantages of Google+

As with every social network there are some pretty glaring disadvantages. The main ones are:

  • Extremely complicated sign up
    Many people report that they find the sign up, activation and navigation of the site extremely complicated (slightly simpler on the app). It’s difficult to understand what exactly G+ does until you’re inside it making mistakes.
  • Huge amount of settings
    Many tech-heads love this but a lot of mom and pop users hate it. The sheer number of setting is mind-boggling, especially because you’re talking about all your Google services, not just one social network.
  • Pushy, pushy, pushy
    I’ve heard so many people complain that they are sick of Google+ encouraging them to sign up or, once signed up, encouraging them to change their user names on other Google sites to match their G+ profile.
  • Privacy concerns
    Although I personally don’t buy into this, many people suggest that Google has too much information with our social activities being linked to emails, YouTube, local places, etc. I’ve heard of people staying away from G+ just because they want to retain some sense of privacy.

How should you use it?

As I’ve said before, Google+ is not an optional network if you want to succeed on any of Google’s platforms, particularly organic search results. If you have a physical business location you’ll need to make sure you’re letting your customers know they can leave positive reviews on Places and you’ll want to ensure Google Authorship is set up for any content marketing that you do. Join communities, share people’s content that is relevant to your own niche and become a “power-hub” for that industry. It appears that the more weight you have on G+ the more you’ll be able to organically rank an article or website.

Facebook Pages

Description of Facebook Pages

If you are using a personal Profile to grow a business you’re in the wrong place (according to the TOS). Facebook Pages are Facebook’s place to promote a business, community or create a fan base. These pages are controlled by moderators and allow you to create galleries, location-based checkins, contact details, posts, etc. People “like” your page or business and then interact with you by sharing, commenting or liking your updates and posts. There is also a paid promotion option.

Facebook stats
Detailed statistics are one of the best features of Facebook Pages for businesses.

Porsche
Porsche use beautiful photos and sneak-preview content to get massive brand awareness.

The main users of Facebook Pages

The major advantage of Facebook is the sheer diversity and size of the user base. Men, women and children (over age 14). Over 2/3rds of online adults say that they are on Facebook. Paid advert campaigns can be targeted towards specific demographics such as marriage status, city, etc.

The main features of Facebook Pages

Facebook Pages are an ever-changing and updating phenomena but the main features are:

  • Galleries
    Photos are big on Facebook. Creating neat and well structured photo galleries of your products or related content can get a lot of shares and exposure.
  • Status updates
    Once a way to connect with a large portion of your users, these days Edge Rank means that your text updates are seen by less of your fans and followers than before. Perhaps a reason for less business interest.
  • Paid promotion
    You can now pay to promote your content if you want it to be seen by more of your fans or non-fans.
  • Multiple moderators
    You can add several people to help you moderate the page. It is, in fact, a good idea because if you lose your personal account you can then maintain your Page.
  • Apps
    You can develop or use certain apps to help change the functionality of your page, add different features under the header bar, etc.
  • Invite friends
    Facebook Pages makes it pretty easy to invite your friends to any new page that you create. This can help small businesses get started quicker.
  • Sharing
    People can share your content with their personal friends such that anything you post can potentially be seen by thousands of people that don’t actually follow your Page.

The main advantages of Facebook Pages:

There are a lot of people who claim that they get some very good results from Facebook Pages. Some of the main benefits include:

  • Viral potential
    If you know what your posting and have the right people following you there is a good chance you can send something viral. The sharing and re-sharing is extremely potent.
  • Connection
    People are on Facebook all day long so it’s a good place to connect with your existing users and develop the relationship further.
  • Surveying
    It can be a very good method of surveying readers or customers to get feedback about the process.
  • Increasing visibility
    People can check-in at your physical business location or store which can be great if you are a cafe or bar or somewhere that people want to be seen. All their friends see that they’re at your store.

The disadvantages of Facebook Pages

Although a lot of people have been raving about Facebook Pages there are also some pretty big critics. Some of the main criticism include:

  • Constant changes
    Many big businesses have commented that it’s too risky to invest large amounts of money into Facebook now because it isn’t certain what access they’ll have to their followers in the future.
  • Viral problems
    Just like the viral content can help your business it can also harm it. We’ve all seen the posts where someone has made a complaint about something and it’s been re-shared 10,000 times around the world. Be careful.
  • Edge Rank
    While Edge Rank is a necessary evil, it is still really annoying. It means that you spend time and money getting followers and then those followers aren’t guaranteed to see your updates.
  • Privacy concerns
    Critics of Facebook have long been saying that they gather too much information about users. While this may apply to personal accounts more than Pages it is still something to be wary of if you are worried about it.
  • Ownership
    Who owns the content that you post on Facebook Pages once you put it on there?
  • Actual conversions
    There have been some interesting studies come out lately into how effective Facebook campaigns based around pages actually are. It seems that perhaps people on FB are willing to interact with and share content but not buy it.

How should you use it?

I’m toning down my use of Facebook Pages. It still has high interaction for some niches but the constant changes and requirement of paying to reach users that you’ve already acquired is frustrating. It is a good medium for creating better relationships with existing customers but I question the idea that Facebook users are in a buy-ready mindset. Unfortunately, people expect you to be on Facebook if you are a business but the level of investment you make will depend on your own testing.

Use strategies like adding shareable content like photos, stories and memes as opposed to focusing on direct sales tactics. Use Facebook as a means to be seen as more human and in-touch.

Pinterest

Description of Pinterest

Pinterest is like any other social network (actually, a lot like the social bookmarking sites below) except that it is all based around the sharing of photos and videos and less about the people or the business. You organize photos by categories called “boards” and then repin other people’s photos into your relevant boards.

Pinterest Boards
A Pinterest board I created where I post motivational quotes on photos that I’ve taken.

The main users of Pinterest

The experts tell us that 83% of Pinterest users are women from good income families between the ages of 35 and 50.

Main features of Pinterest

Pinterest has taken off almost unlike any other social network. The user base size and ability to drive traffic to websites has made Pinterest a serious consideration for many businesses. The main features include:

  • Pin photos
    The main gist of the site is pinning photos. You can pin them from sites where you find them or you can upload your own photos straight to your account.
  • Repin stuff
    You then repin the pins of the people you are following into your own boards. If you curate the content well enough people might think you’re a good person to follow.
  • Follow boards
    As mentioned, the photos are organized into boards and you can follow certain boards about certain things or follow the person who published the board.

The main advantages of Pinterest

This site hasn’t got this much attention for no reason. Some of the main advantages of Pinterest include:

  • Big traffic
    Pinterest is reported to drive more traffic than Google+ and YouTube combined which makes it a site you probably shouldn’t ignore.
  • Get your products exposed worldwide –
    Imagine you own a business that sells some really beautiful products. You can get those products photographed well and then create boards by pinning those photos off of your website. If they get repinned by big users you can get seen all over the world.
  • Become a topic authority –
    If you run an antique store, for example, you might create antique boards and pin content as a means to position yourself as an expert in the field. Occasional sprinkles of your own products then send you a lot of traffic.
  • Build backlinks -
    Backlinks are really important for your SEO rankings. If you put photos on your website and then people pin those photos you get a link back to the original website page.

The main disadvantages of Pinterest

As always, there are a few downers. Some of the main concerns people have about Pinterest include:

  • Photogenic businesses only
    Although Pinterest experts will say that anyone can find the right content to Pin, a lot of people complain that unless your business has some good photos to put up there’s not much you can do there. For example, an accounting firm might find it a bit limiting.
  • Unresponsive
    Again, a lot of people will tell you the opposite of this but some users find that the site can be full of people pinning and creating boards but not really interacting with other people in a real way. Pinterest does drive sales, but not for every topic.

How should you use it?

Let me start this section by saying that my friend Jamie has written the best post ever on Pinterest over on ProBlogger. That is a good place to start. If you have a business that lends itself to photos, videos or quotes then you’d do well to get on Pinterest and start creating boards around your niche. Pin your own stuff from your blog and then re-pin lots of other relevant content from people that you follow.

Twitter

Description of Twitter:

Twitter is a micro-blogging service where you can send out Tweets of 140 characters or less. People only see those Tweets if they are following you. It is the third largest social network in the world and has global reach and has the potential to be the most “live and up to date” source of news.

Twitter Profile
My Twitter profile page that shows images I’ve uploaded, my latest Tweets and the cover image.

The main features of Twitter:

Twitter is extremely simple in its functionality – so much so that beginners often struggle to “get it”. The main features of the platform are:

  • Short messages (tweets)
    Messages are capped at 140 characters so you have to be creative with how you communicate.
  • Following
    Twitter is all about following people you are interested in. You then see a stream of all your followers’ updates. People often “follow back” when you follow them as a thank you.
  • Ability to re-tweet
    If someone says something that you agree with you can re-tweet their original tweet which then spreads the news to your followers. This can drive huge amounts of traffic if you have a loyal and interested following.
  • Direct messaging
    If two people are following each other you can direct message each other which is Twitter’s version of a private message.
  • Mobile friendly
    Twitter is possibly the most mobile friendly social network and many people use it on the move to tweet about their daily activities. It also played a large role in the Arab Spring to mobilize people to certain locations in short spaces of time.

The main advantages of Twitter:

Twitter has an extremely vocal and loyal group of supporters and “experts” who believe it is the most effective network for building a client base, developing relationships and finding new customers. The main advantages of Twitter include:

  • Active users
    A lot of people find that Twitter users are more active than other social media sites. For example, if you Tweet about a blog post you might get quite a few re-tweets from your followers.
  • Faster interaction
    People leave their Twitter window open all day so you often find replies are extremely fast. This can be a great way to develop a relationship or stay on top of industry news.
  • Public tech-support
    As a consumer/customer you often get extremely good tech support on Twitter because companies don’t want public complaints to go viral or be seen to remain unaddressed. Tell your phone company about bad coverage and they will reply within minutes.
  • Visibility
    Due to the fact that re-tweeting is embedded in the Twitter culture you often find that even new accounts can get traction and visibility to their tweets early on and without many followers. For example, you may only have five followers but if one of those five has 100,000 followers and re-tweets your content you have an audience of 100,005.
  • Broad user base
    Twitter is used by people of all ages and categories and as such it is quite easy to tap into at least some people who are interested in your niche.
  • B2B is strong
    A lot of users comment that the main advantage of using Twitter is interacting with other people in your industry. It can be a great way to tee up new relationships or partnership.

The main disadvantages of Twitter:

Interestingly, the main advantages of Twitter also sometimes become the main disadvantages. For example:

  • Public re-tweets
    If you write something slanderous or offensive in the heat of battle and it gets re-tweeted that message is out to thousands of people before you know what to do. People have been sued for libel.
  • Public shaming
    If you run a company that has poor tech-support you can expect people to be vocal on Twitter – especially if you want to have a Twitter account for the company itself. If you want to do business on Twitter you need to address the good and the bad.
  • Bot accounts and faking
    Quite a few people have noted in recent months that Twitter is being overrun with fake accounts, bots and spam. This means that those 20,000 followers that you have might actually only be a few thousand “real” people. Some studies have even shown that over 50% of people with accounts don’t use them.
  • A lot of noise
    Stats can be deceiving. Many users have noted that Twitter seems to be very active but it’s often just people up on a soapbox and not interacting in a meaningful way.

How should you use it?

Twitter has become the “go-to” social network for many businesses and groups of people from around the world. It is such a fast paced medium which lends itself really well to news items as well as complaints or tech-support. Use Twitter to grow your authority in your topic by promoting other people’s content – this will, in turn, lead to you being promoted as an authority. Follow relevant people in your niche and talk to them. Reply to Tweets, especially negative ones.

YouTube

Description of YouTube:

Not everyone would consider YouTube a social networking site but it serves the same purposes, especially for people looking to build a new audience or drive traffic towards a website. With over 4 billion views a day, people upload videos of different kinds, subscribe to channels and share on other social networks.

The main features of YouTube:

The main things that you need to know about what you can do on YouTube include:

  • Upload videos
    Obviously the main purpose of YouTube is to upload video content in order to grow an audience.
  • Subscribe to channels
    Subscribe to other people’s channels in order to make contacts and keep up to date with people who might be interesting to your business.
  • Comment on videos
    The main social activity of YouTube is to comment on various videos. Be warned, there is a huge amount of spam.
  • Embed videos
    Once you have uploaded a video (or found one you like) you can then embed that video on your website or blog in order to provide a variety of content to your readers. This makes it a good hosting option.
  • Promote your videos
    YouTube gives you many ways to promote your content. For example, you can do paid promotion through Google’s Adwords program or you can use your other videos to show new content that you’ve posted.

The main advantages of YouTube

There are a lot of really good things about this site, especially for people who have interesting ideas that may not always be well communicated with the written word.

  • Huge traffic
    As mentioned, YouTube gets 4 billion views a day. There is a large and very global user base to tap into which is very important if your product is digital or shippable.
  • Very sticky
    Sticky is a term web marketers use to describe sites where people click around and spend a lot of time. People don’t just watch one video – they look at the channel, view related videos and spend a lot of time down the rabbit hole.
  • High quality content
    Videos give you an opportunity to create very high quality content on a network where people can help you do the marketing. As Pat Flynn always says, be everywhere.
  • Relationship developing
    If you do “talking head” videos you have an opportunity to create a deeper relationship and more trust with your readers or customers. People love to know the person behind the brand.

The main disadvantages of YouTube

Here we go with the bad stuff, again:

  • A lot of spam
    I am always really surprised at how much spam gets onto YouTube considering it is owned by Google. The comments on some popular videos are just full of link based advertising.
  • Faceless negativity
    For some reason YouTube seems to attract a lot of faceless negativity. People will leave horrible and hurtful comments on wide range of video niches. These do get voted down by the community but continue to appear.
  • A lot of noise
    Again, YouTube is extremely popular so it is difficult to cut through the noise and get your message out there. It is, as always, good to have an email list that you can promote new videos to and get help with the content spreading.
  • A strange “featured content” system
    Popular YouTube users like Phillip DeFranco have noted that the new system of selected featured and popular content makes it very difficult for non-established users to hit the front page. This, again, can make it hard to cut through.

How should you use it?

I recommend only using YouTube if you have money to invest in quality content. Whether that is a charasmatic staff member (or actor) who can do educational videos or by paying a company to create animated or instructional videos that might help position you as an authority. Simple works best. You’ll get more traction on a quality “How to Make a Cake” video than you will on something complicated with a narrow appeal. Learn from the top subscribed accounts.

Bookmarking sites (Reddit, Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, etc.)

Description of the bookmarking sites

This part was a little difficult for me because I couldn’t decide whether to write about them individually or lump them into one group. When I really thought about it, however, I realized that the functionality, features and benefits of these sites is so similar that I may as well just put them together (although Reddit and imgur has the coolest users!). Essentially these sites let you create an account, bookmark content (photos, movies, articles, gifs, etc.) that you like and then vote on content that other people have uploaded.

Each of these sites does have a slightly different emphasis/interest so it is a good idea to examine them for yourself and see if it matches with your industry.

The main users of these sites

Regardless of what the stats say, the main active users of these sites are young people and technology professionals. Some sites (like StumbleUpon) that lend themselves to photos have a heavy photographer user base.

The main features of bookmarking sites

Let’s take a look at some of the common features that you’ll find on almost all of these sites:

  • Profile creation
    Obviously you need a profile to be able to bookmark content and some people grow these over time such that they can send large amounts of traffic to whatever they post.
  • Bookmarking
    The main thing you then do is find content on other sites and bookmark it to your profile in the appropriate category.
  • Upvoting/downvoting
    If you like a bookmark that someone else has posted you give it an upvote (or a thumbs up, like, etc.) and if you don’t like it you downvote it (or bury, etc.).
  • Community participation
    I became addicted to Reddit and imgur for a very long time because the communities there are made up of a lot of helpful, caring and very honest people. These two sites in particular are known for having a zero-tolerance policy against hateful or sexist users and often go out of their way to help people having a hard time.
  • Niche sections
    These sites are usually broken up into lots of different sub-niches or categories where industry specialists hang out. For example, Reddit has thousands of sub-Reddits that are all individually moderated and based around one topic only.
  • Following
    Of course, you can follow users that you think are interesting or match up with your interests. Some of these sites allow for one on one communication via private messages.
  • Toolbars
    Some of these sites (StumbleUpon mainly) let you install a browser toolbar that allows you to “stumble” content that you like without having to log into the actual site. This is a very good feature for repeat use.

The main advantages of bookmarking sites

Let’s have a real quick look at the main benefits of these particular quasi-social networking sites:

  • Trend discovery
    Reddit calls itself the “homepage of the internet” and in a way they are right. A lot of internet trends are pioneered on these sites. You’d be surprised at how many massive trends I see today that were “in” jokes on imgur a year ago.
  • Traffic boost
    If you get your content bookmarked by a “power user” you will often find that you get a huge boost in traffic for the day as people browse the hot topics or homepages. Sites like Digg and Delicious used to crash servers.
  • Content research
    Often you’ll get some really good ideas about the type of news/content/information that is popular with people that are doing the sharing. This can provide you with a plan for future videos, posts, articles, etc.
  • Brand creation
    There have been some amazing brands come out of bookmarking sites. People who create different content with a clever twist have literally spanwed new careers. My favorite is a guy called Shitty Watercolour from Reddit. He would literally paint people’s comments.

The main disadvantages of social bookmarking sites

Oh, you bet there are some of these! Let’s take a look:

  • Addictive traps
    Seriously, if you aren’t good at moderating your internet time you will spend hours and hours trawling through the daily updates to these sites. After a while, the going ons seem super important and you lose sight of what is going on in the world.
  • Not a lot of interaction
    Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part your time spent on these sites is better spent on places with higher conversion rates. You might bookmark 200 articles before you find your account getting any sway or sending your business any traffic.
  • Death by cool kids
    One of the sad facts about developing a profile anywhere other than your own blog or website is that after a while these cool sites become uncool and everyone leaves. It happened to MySpace and it happened to Digg. There’s an interesting (but old) read about Digg’s top user. Is it worth the risk?
  • Big traffic but low conversions
    I’ve had days where StumbleUpon has sent over 15,000 unique visitors but only one or two new subscribers. Again, there are exceptions to this rule but has been noted by many people.

How should you use them?

In moderation! In all seriousness, there are so many of these sites that if you want to use one it’s a good idea to spend time browsing them and finding one that has a category or section that is useful to either eventually promote your niche or connect with some big players in your niche. Most of the people who use them do so socially and you’ll find that the leap from bookmarking site to sale is difficult but they can be useful for driving traffic and perhaps building back links. The best bet is to maintain an account and develop it as part of an overarching strategy involving other social networks.

Instagram

A description of Instagram

Instagram is a mobile-based app that let’s you take photos of things and then add a “filter” on top which converts the photo into an old-school style. You follow people and synch the app with Twitter and Facebook so that your new photos get shared over there as well. It gained massive popularity (especially with hipsters) and was bought by Facebook for a tiny $1 billion.

beautiful libraries
A photo event held on Instagram featuring the most beautiful libraries in the world.

The main users of Instagram

Although Instagram is pushing 100 million users it seems as though the main influencers are celebrities and the younger generations. It very much survives on a “cool” vibe and does well at festivals and big events as well as offices and workplaces that want to create a more in-touch vibe.

So how should you use Instagram?

Instagram seems to be a very cool medium for generating buzz around an event. For example, I’ve seen contests where the best Instagram of a music concert wins a prize. As the photos get shared on other social media sites it can be a good opportunity to get your physical location or product shared around in a well photographed manner.

What do I do now?

If you’ve read through the above descriptions, stats and articles you are probably more confused than ever. That’s good! That means you’re thinking about your strategy. And that means you will be less likely to “fiddle” around on social media without a clear set of goals or outcomes.

So what do you do now?

  • Analyze the competition
    Take a look at what the competitors in your niche are doing. Are they doing it well? Could they improve something?
  • Figure out your targets
    Sit down with your office (or office cat) and figure out what outcomes you want to target and what groups of people you think will help you reach those targets. Remember, social networking is often about a soft-sell that drives traffic, builds links and develops authority.
  • Decide on your messaging
    Everything you do online affects your brand. Make sure your social networking is all “on message” in that it enhances your brand and makes you more visible, shareable and approachable.
  • Research the sites
    Spend some time reading about the different sites and seeing which fit with your niche and user base.
  • Jump in and test
    At some point you need to jump in and start testing for yourself. Give yourself 30 minutes or an hour every day to read, plan and interact on social networks. If you can do more or afford to pay someone else to do it that’s even better.

Of course, there will be frustrations and set backs but all this stuff has become so entrenched in modern-day business that there really is no escaping it.

What the heck have I missed?

This post is over 6,500 words long but it really is only a short summary of what’s out there. I’ve missed so much information deliberately and accidentally – I’ve even left out some major social networks (cough, Linkedin).

There are some amazing social media giants lurking in the Tyrant Troops ranks so please leave a comment with any tips that you might have. If your tips are good I’ll add them to the post.

I’d also really appreciate a share if you enjoyed the post.

Photo: © Stanimir Ivanov



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110 Comments

  • Hey Ramsay, how are ya?

    Incredible piece here with a lot of useful information.

    Well, I focus most of my social media efforts onto Google+, and Twitter (I have a Facebook fan page too) because I think those are the ones which I think can help me achieve my goals, and are worth spending time on.

    Really enjoyed reading it, It’s really a worth sharing post.

    Ehsan

    • Ramsay

      Thanks Ehsan! Appreciate the comment.

      What made you choose Google+ and Twitter?

      • Because all of the other social networking websites already wasted chunks of my time. I’ve realized that these two social networking websites can help me speed my blog.

        Google+ and Twitter both holds a lot of possibilities to us bloggers. G+ can help us gain authority as a content developer, while Twitter can help us build a brand quickly, and the easiest way to interact with my readers and other people whom I’m interested to.

        While from last few weeks, I’ve been focusing on Pinterest as well, so far It’s working great.

        Thanks again Ramsay,

        Ehsan

  • Hi Ramsay!

    First of all, thanks so much for all of your amazing content. I just started a blog and although it can be overwhelming, I have just been following your advice step-by-step and it’s slowly paying off.

    I have been thinking really hard lately about the whole social media world and what makes most sense for promoting my blog–I have been focusing on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and(learning)G+. Although Facebook seems like the ‘go-to’ for instant connection, I am resistant to the platform in general. It just seems like it’s not as positive as it once was, and I want a community of people who are interesting and interested. (Is that judgey?) Maybe it’s just me.

    But great post and thanks again for all of the help!

    Steph

    • Ramsay

      Thanks Steph. That feedback means a lot. Sometime these posts take ages to write so it’s nice to know it’s helping someone.

      What network have you been getting the best results from? Do you feel like you’ve got enough time to manage them all?

      • That’s the thing–I feel like maybe I should focus on 3 and really dig in. I’m trying to get a grip on G+ because I know it’s growing by the minute, but that stat you showed scared me, because it’s not my target market right now. I’m using Facebook and Twitter the most and trying to tap into Pinterest more on a business level (I love it for personal). I think when I have my products ready (I’m developing 2 right now) it will be more clear where to go. Instagram feels like a total loss to me.

        I’m using hootsuite to broadcast more than 1 at a time and that feels more manageable, but when the reactions start coming in (I hope!) it may get a little out of control. Do you have any posts on time management that I missed? :-)

        • Ramsay

          I’m not real good at time management. I play video games at lunch time and it’s 1:08am here and I’m still replying to comments! :-)

          • Well I have to say it’s pretty inspirational how much you respond to the comments–I hope I can do the same!

  • Jane

    I am a writer in the early stages of publishing my work. Twitter has been invaluable to me because I can locate information that is relevant to my needs rather quickly. I have also been able to connect with others in the field directly – those who can help me, and those that I can help. The best part is that I get better at using Twitter as I go along – there’s lots of tools & help available.

    • Ramsay

      Hi Jane. Yeah, that is a perfect example of what Twitter is good for. Thanks heaps for sharing!

  • I’ll be honest here and admit that I just scanned the post, but I got the gist of what you are saying. For me the most effective Social network has been LinkedIn. I joined that several years ago, but only began active participation about a year ago and I’ve felt like I’ve been wasting my time with other networking sites.

    I’m a writer and a fiction ghostwriter, and I’ve found a home in LinkedIn groups. If you want to get the most out of that network, you need to join the groups in the niche that interests you and be an active participant.

    I’ve found that unlike the other networking sites, which most people use as dumping grounds for their products/services, the folks over at LinkedIn are REAL people and they actually engage. They visit your site, mail you and you feel like you’re interacting with real life people and not just real life marketers.

    Also, it is a network where you can become relevant quickly if you go in with the attitude of service. If you’re there to help people, you’ll find that they will reward you by coming to you for help. When people trust you, they will more readily buy your stuff or engage your services.

    Of course LinkedIn is not the only network I use, but I’ve found it the most productive in my niche.

    Thanks for an awesome post, Ramsay (this is the first time I’m using your name, lol)… I’ll come back and take a more detailed look at the post.

    • Ramsay

      Scanning is fine! That’s what I write them for!

      Thanks for the information about Linkedin. I felt bad leaving it out but I’ve never used it myself. I think I’ll have to edit the post soon and include it, however, as it really is too big to skip over for a lot of people.

      Thanks Sharon.

      • I know what you mean…I ignored LinkedIn for so long and now I regret wasting so much time. I’ve had new subscribers just from being active on that network. It would be nice if you’re able to add it to your guide.

        • Ramsay

          Thanks Sharon. Had a few requests now so I reckon I will.

          • Just want to jump in here. I have atravel blog and ever since I’ve started sharing my posts on linkedin and have updated my profile there as well (it now includes me being a travel blogger), linkedin is one of my most valuable traffic ‘generators’

    • From Google+ on it was a read that makes you famous, the Blog Tyrant rips through the internet summing up sites, really loved it. But the the part before Google+, well, I tried and tried to read it, but I got no where, it had no ah no…., no seeming structure, I just could not figure out what was going on, looked too much like the dribble in so many lousy attempts of others to tell you how to do something but the concepts are too allusive, too overly used, too….well am I not doing the same thing? But after Google+ it was great. The tyrant on the steed, informative.

      • Ramsay

        Thanks for the constructive criticism Ruth.

        Was it the structure that bothered you or the content? To me it seems quite clear: focus on your blog/website and then make sure you cover those dot points when deciding where to focus your efforts.

        Thanks again.

        • I think that’s maybe partly because Google+ is just so… much…
          I ahve a profile on there and Google authorship is all set up. I share stuff, +1 stuff and update my profile, but to be honest I’m doing it because there’s just no way around it.
          I don’t like working with G+
          For instance, if someone in a community comments on a comment of mine, I have to go find that reply. No handy update bubbles like on facebook. Just an e-mail without even a link directly to that comment.
          I mean, seriously?
          Maybe I’ve got some things set up wrong, but I think there are just too many options that aren’t user friendly yet.

    • Jennifer Cunningham

      Hi Sharon,
      I thought LinkedIn was more for the real high powered exec and so I hadn’t tried that for my blog platform.

      • Hey Jennifer, I know what you mean. I joined LinkedIn years ago when I was an attorney. After I decided to stay home with my kids and then I turned online for an income, I didn’t think I could leverage it in any way. But I read a short report (wish I could remember the name) that spoke on the power of LinkedIn groups. I tried it and it’s been an awesome experience!

  • Twitter is great as a research tool – follow the leaders in your niche and follow their tweets and conversations.

    You can then carefully join in their conversations. Note the word, ‘carefully’ – if you send a tweet to a leading blogger say Darren Rowse, of Problogger, telling him your 5 post blog is really, really ggggreat – you’re going to get marked down by many of the followers of Problogger.

    So take it slowly and only offer genuinely useful comments to the leaders.

    Also Twitter is a great way of getting in contact with journalists – again use caution.

    Comment on Facebook – think of it as the extension of your email list – not to get new converts, but to keep your existing followers.

    I’ve seen it argued that Google Penguin, the latest structure of the search engine, that more and more weight is been given to social media in their rankings, not just Google+.

    So more links, likes, people in your circle, people pinning your images etc the higher rating for your pages.

    One last point – an English guy – resigned from work – with his resignation letter written on a cake.

    He posted the image on Facebook – this copied to Reddit and within 2 days he was in all the UK press, plus America, plus bloggers.

    So his small kitchen based cake business, called Mr Cake, has had an amazing start.

    • Ramsay

      They are some really great tips Paul. I didn’t see the cake thing, I’ll have to look it up! Thanks.

    • LOVE the cake thing!!!
      Didn’t really use twitter as a research tool yet. Have read that tip before, but it seems really time consuming, no?
      I know some influencers in my branche (travel), but I’m sure there are more that I don’t knowof yet and to really look up the conversations I could take part in…
      May I ask how much time u spend on this? Let’s say o a daily and weekly basis?

  • Hi Ramsay!

    I just posted a similar thought over at Think Traffic. My biggest tip is Q&A sites, like Yahoo Answers and Quora.

    I’ve been able to connect with people looking for specific questions, and it leads to an incredible amount of traffic if done correctly.

    You may find it useful:
    http://thinktraffic.net/how-i-doubled-my-traffic-by-finding-my-audience

    Cheers!

    • Ramsay

      Hey Robert. I actually just saw that post over on G+. Nice work indeed!

  • I believe you missed tumblr. That site has given me a decent bit of traffic, and it is very social. Almost like pinterest but has more chatting going on.

    I use twitter, some facebook, tumblr and pinterest…

    I use the above because I feel natural on them, like more social and a real person even if it is business stuff.

    • Ramsay

      Yeah I opted not to write about Tumblr which I think was a mistake. It works extremely well for some people. It just feels funny to have a blog and a Tumblr as well don’t you think?

  • Wow, epic contents.
    Thank you for this, you run through each one and point out up and down side for each which is very useful information.

    By reading your post help me realize that I should start learn G+… also LinkedIn as Sharon has advice which is true. I have account LinkedIn account for long time, but never interested until Lewis Howes adviced that LinkedIn is great place to build your professional profile and get some business.

    • Ramsay

      Hi Paul.

      Absolutely get started with G+ as soon as you can. I think it’s going to be extremely important for traffic and SEO in the near future.

  • Awesome Post, Ramsay!

    As a Boomer and someone new to Blogging and Social Media (yeah, I know; what took me so long?), your insight is really appreciated.

    Have you ever considered an e-book (to help folks like me) where you would walk newcomers (step-by-step) through the entire process of setting up accounts AND how to go about expanding one’s circles, friends and contacts?

    I’m guessing there are countless others like me with very limited time, but who don’t have a clue about where to begin.

    • Ramsay

      Hi David.

      Thanks for the kind words.

      As for the eBook – not on social media but I am working on something that will be out soon that will be even more interesting and beneficial.

      • Wonderful! Glad to hear it! With so much out there to read & explore; and with so little time, Tyrant is one of the few Blogs I follow! Looking forward to seeing your new project! Best regards!

        • Ramsay

          Thanks David. Quite a few people say that to me which makes me feel amazing but also a lot of pressure to make it a good release!

  • Hey Ramsay,

    This was a great read but yea you should of talked about Linkedin. It reached 200 million users this year but of course not all are active. About 40% are 35-54 then about 30% are 25-34. Advertising on the professional network is more expensive than other social networks but if users post great content on their personal or business page, it can reach a lot of people with good incomes around the world. Thanks for the post!

    • Ramsay

      Thanks Darius. Think I’m gonna have to make some edits!

  • I’m spending most of my time on G+ moderating a community I started. I’m far from being a big brand but I’ve found it was just about the only way to get any followers to my G+ page and the only way to find my target audience. It has also grown my personal profile’s circle as well. So far, it has not been a big traffic builder but then it also does not have a huge number of followers yet either. I’m banking on the time I spend building this community (fighting off MLM and Bus OPP spammers)will pay off in bringing my brand Google authority. I use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as well. I’m royally ticked off at the way Facebook prevents followers from seeing my posts and I’m just now seeing some response/following on Twitter. I agree if you can find the right group to get into Linked In is great–particularly for building relationships and true followers. You can, however, run into some very big territorial egos in there as well which is one reason I’ve let it slide lately.

    I love it when you post these in depth articles. Your fiance should have read it, lol! (I follow you on FB)

    • Ramsay

      Ha ha. Thanks Patti. I’ll tell her you said that!

  • Haven’t even read the article yet, just gotta say the picture in the beginning of the post was really awesome!

  • I’d say the best social network is the one where your target audience hangs out. For example, Quora is good for startup founders and venture capitalists. If you’re a designer, Dribbble is the place to be.

    Forums are the most underrated traffic source, since they’re considered old compared to the hot new social networks. The biggest advantage is that a forum community has basically self-selected themselves as being interested in a topic. The second biggest advantage is that a forum has already built that audience for you. Those are two big things that a typical social network can’t offer you. It’s a LOT easier to tap into an existing audience, than build one yourself from scratch.

    That being said, here are the social networks I concentrate on.

    YouTube — If a picture is worth a thousand words, than a video is a library. Nothing builds a personal connection faster than seeing someone on-screen, talking to you. Due to the cost, technical barrier, and fear of public speaking, the competition on video is drastically reduced compared to blogging and social networking. There are also big SEO benefits of video over text. I’ve actually been doing intensive research on YouTube and video marketing, but I’ll keep it brief and not dump all my findings here. :)

    Twitter — I use this more as a way to connect with influencers and build relationships with them.

    For now, I don’t link to my social profiles on my website. My goal is drive users to sign up for my e-mail newsletter instead. Like you said, you’re better off building an audience on your platform, not someone else’s. I’d rather have 1,000 people on my e-mail list than 100,000 Twitter followers.

    • Ramsay

      Great comment as always bro.

      The problem I have with forums is that it is usually made up of experts or people who are pretty well versed on a particular topic. That often means it’s hard to covert to any kind of sale. They can, however, be good sources of links and promotion.

  • Janis

    This is more than I ever wanted to know about social networking. I do belong to my share of social sites, but as you mentioned, there is only so much time in a day to handle all of the busy work that these sites require.

    You pretty much hit the nail on the head about the pros and cons of these sites and my feelings for Twitter are right along with yours. It seems that is where I spend most of my time.

    My biggest qualm is that I do not use the social sites as I should be and in the midst of my “hurry and get it done” mentality, I am pretty much leaving too much on the table by not using even Twitter to its fullest capacity.

    Thank you for this well formed and thought out insight on social media. You actually mentioned some that I was not even aware of, such as Instagram.

    Go Troops!

    • Ramsay

      Love the “Go Troops!” battle cry! Thanks Janis. Awesome comment.

  • G’day Ramsay,

    Wow, appreciate the time it would have taken to put this post together. Awesome resource and food for thought.

    I’m a travel blogger and whilst I have a presence on most social media networks, Pinterest is getting my main focus.

    Have been fortunate to accumulate a large following on Pinterest, and with travel being very “visual” it’s a perfect fit. It also drives a lot more traffic back to my blog compared to facebook and twitter, and that traffic is also spending more time on site. Plus, we get a ton of emails from people connecting with us who mention they discovered us via Pinterest. And finally, I love the way you can organise boards into different topics e.g. Travel planning, travel tips, family travel, Australia, bucket list, food travel, city guides etc etc.

    Thanks again for an excellent post!

    • Ramsay

      Thanks for dropping by Craig.

      I’m working with a travel client at the moment – might have to hit you up for some tips!

  • Hey Ramsay,

    First of all your Twitter bio is hilarious.

    This took me a while to read but it was very well worth it. The sad truth is I simply don’t have the time to be on the few networks I actually want to be on. So I’m just sticking to Twitter for now.

    I actually quite like Reddit and have been a fan of it and the community for a while. But I have never been able to get consistent traffic from it. If I ever post more than a couple links from any one site, they simply don’t show up. How do you sidestep this? Do you generally post a lot of content from a lot of sites and only a few from your own?

    Awesome post as always. Love the ridiculous detail and breakdown.

    - Mark T.

    • Ramsay

      Hi Mark.

      Thanks – it’s from a movie.

      In terms of content, I very rarely post my own. Maybe a bit more on Twitter but most of the time you want to post interesting stuff from power users in your niche.

      • Got it.

        Yea I can generally generate a decent amount of traffic from Twitter but I haven’t had too much success with Reddit. I’ll give that a shot.

        - Mark T.

  • Good read dude. I actually noticed today that I’m getting a (relatively) good amount of traffic from G+ – what works, as you say. I’ll probably try to be a bit more active there.

    Also, really like Twitter since there’s no pretense of privacy. Basically, if you don’t want everyone to know, don’t say it. Simpler than setting things up in FB etc.

    • Ramsay

      Make sure you interact and post in communities as opposed to just your own profile. Get heaps more love.

  • Thank you for this thesis, Ramsay. :-) You definitely helped clarify my strategy. A few comments.

    One thing bloggers don’t realize is that pins don’t have to be photos to get traffic. My biggest traffic generator is a pin that I made from text and a free graphic from Photoshop. They work just like good headlines do–so don’t ignore Pinterest if you think your content isn’t photo worthy.

    Just when I thought I had Pinterest marked as my biggest traffic generator, I guest posted on a popular blog and my traffic exploded. Other blogs may still be the best social media outlet! I should note that I created a very pinnacle freebie to get traffic from the popular blog to my site.

    I love Twitter for engaging bloggers, Google Plus for generating discussion and networking with authorities, and Facebook for getting feedback from people who don’t feel comfortable commenting on blogs.

    • Ramsay

      Thanks Melanie. That’s a great tip about the Pins.

  • Hi Ramsey,
    I looked at the title and set it aside(6600) words. But it was very informative. I knew most of the information so I didn’t come away with a lot of notes and a headache. I came away from this article with the clarity that bloggers have only so much time and we need to decide where we are going to spend it. I belong to a paid forum and I spend a lot of time there. I also get a lot of traffic there. I get my posts retweeted and I interact. Facebook I give my attention to but I find the noise level there very loud. Most are trying to sell something and it makes it not as believable. Twitter is a toy I’m learning to retweet in. I like pinterest but you nailed it–not a lot of people interaction. Now, google + is serious. I post there. I get traffic there. End of story. So my big three are paid forum, google +, and twitter. I’m trying to master Triberr but it seems to be down a lot.

    • Ramsay

      Paid forum – interesting. Do you find that converts very well into an earning stream?

      • We’ll, for a newbie you need to first build traffic. It’s doing that. I’m slowly building my readers from the activity. So, I would have today it’s matching my need presently.

  • I just had this conversation with a few of my potential clients today! I’m a little more analytic with my strategy/approach on which platform to use. The platform you use depends on the industry you’re in, the audience you’re looking for (yes you can create an audience on any platform but why waste time going against what the platform’s typical audience is? that’s just time wasted), and of course identifying your target market. Once you identify/define these areas you can then start looking at which platforms you should be using. I know this indirectly answers your question here on the blog but your e-mail asked for tips ;)

  • p.s. Just went back and read/skimmed through your blog..and THANK YOU for taking the time putting together such a detailed explanation of all the platforms! I’ll definitely have to share this blog to my network as well. :)

    • Ramsay

      Thanks Latoya. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for responding to the email question!

  • Honesty Test!

    I haven’t read the post yet, I think I’m gonna need a coffee and a butty (a scouse sandwich) to get through it!

    My main social media efforts go on Twitter and recently Google+ (thanks to you).

    OK wish me luck, here goes!

    Rob

  • “How to Write Epic Shit”

    Ramsay I’m sure I’ve said this before but this is why you are the one and only “Blog Tyrant”, you never fail to deliver the stuff most of us minions can only dream of!

    I think Twitter and Google+ are ideal for my main blogs but thanks to you I now need a Pinterest account for two other blogs that lend themselves to the visual.

    I make a conscious effort to spend as little time as possible on social media because it’s so addictive.

    Your point about “What are you trying to achieve” resonates with me because I was on a number of social media sites because everyone else was?

    Thanks you I now have a plan.

    Brilliant as always

    Rob

    • Ramsay

      Thanks so much for that feedback Rob. It means a LOT considering how long these darn posts take!

  • Great article! I have a craft/sewing/food/DIY blog and I use 3 social medias to promote my site. #1 being Pinterest. To me and my readers, Pinterest > All. Us women just love it. I’m just a few clicks away from Pinterest being the largest referral source to my blog even greater than Google. Pinterest also helps me to see what content people are really digging on my site by looking at original pins as well as traffic from repins.

    I use my personal facebook page to promote new posts and that also brings in a lot of traffic but I am working on converting over to a FB page.

    Lastly, I use Instagram as way for readers who want to connect more personally. It gives readers a nice glimpse without sacrificing too much of my family’s privacy.

    Your post helped me feel confident I was using the right resources for my individual blog. Thanks!

    • Ramsay

      Great stuff Alicia. Sounds like you’re doing really well with it all.

  • Hey Ramsay. Great post I must say people would love this piece. I have supplement related site and I have to deal with sales thing. For this reason networks who have supported me perfectly Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Remaining one is used just for building backlinks and getting traffic.

    • Ramsay

      You might do well to focus on some paid campaigns as well, if you haven’t already.

  • Hey Ramsay! I’ve been quietly following you a long time and never interacted, time to step out. First, thanks for the great info. Laurens Fitness has really taken off thanks to a lot of suggestions of yours. Especially regarding starting to use Aweber. It took me too long to put it in place but now it has really changed my business and helped me launch two products that are starting to do really well and getting consistent sales. There are very few people I trust online and you are one of them, always great information. Plus I love that you are a fellow Aussie.

    To answer your question, I predominately use Google Plus and Facebook. My blogs been around a popular enough for quite a few years, but I only got serious in the last six months. Google plus has been amazing for networking, I fin a lot of other fitness professionals on there who I can interview and network with for guest posts. I have joined a couple of groups and am active in some key ones. Facebook seems to be a good place to interact with my actual followers. I would love to put a forum on my site (I get a lot of emails and I want everyone to see the answers I give), but struggling to find the right software right now and Facebook certainly helps with that. I basically post something useful most days and it’s helped with traffic.

    Once again, thanks for the great information. I’m sure you have many silent followers like me. Hopefully they come out of the woodwork too!

    Lauren

    • Ramsay

      Hey Lauren! Nice to meet a silent follower!

      I feel like I know you from a previous blog that I owned. I reckon you wrote a post about deep tissue massage or that evil one where you put the tennis ball on your thighs. It was a few years ago though.

      Thanks heaps for the compliments and for the social media comment. How do you find G+ is for driving new traffic?

      • Ha that’s funny, and very likely. That is definitely something I focus on in my blog and it’s been around for about 5 years. Small world!

        G+ isn’t really giving me any new traffic, but I am yet to harness it’s full power I believe. It’s been great for networking for me, but that’s about it. I will stay with it and learn more about it, I’m very new to G+.

  • Hi, Ramsay.

    Thanks for this (mammoth!) post. It’s confirmed some of the things I was thinking.

    I’m using Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin.

    I use Twitter because I like it’s brevity and immediacy. I like the direct contact with people, and the fact that you can rub shoulders with some pretty well-known people who you might not otherwise get to talk to. The people I follow are sharing mostly good quality links too.

    I’ve started using Google+ because I like the circles idea, and I’ve seen some good sharing going on there. I’m also using it because I can’t bring myself to use Facebook! From what you’ve written, it’s sounds like I’ve made the right choice.

    I’ve started using my Linkedin profile more, too. I like that it’s a purely professional network, and everyone knows what they’re there for. I’m using it to build credibility as a freelancer.

    I don’t really have a strategy yet, other than to try the above platforms, share some (hopefully) good quality stuff and see how the interactions contributes to my business.

    I’m not far off getting a website up (one that will be the hub for all of my writing activities), so I’m hoping my use of the above platforms will bring some more potential clients there.

    We’ll see what happens!

    • Ramsay

      Hey Chris.

      Good stuff.

      Just keep sticking with G+ as I predict it is going to be extremely important for SEO in the near future.

      • Will do. It didn’t really grab me at first, but I’m starting to really like it, especially the targeted sharing with Circles.

        And, as you say, for the SEO in the future.

  • wow, you really moved the bar up with this one. I am adding this to my tools / resources page of my site and sharing on my blog! Great post!

  • For the honesty test: We have only utilized Facebook because we heard horror stories of competitors siphoning leads posing as other people. Social media doesn’t transfer to some markets. There isn’t a twitter following for what some people do. So we take a minimal approach for search engine value and for insurance from greedy competitors. I hope your tips help.

    • Ramsay

      Hey Nancy. That sounds really annoying about the leads competition.

  • Thank you for the fantastic and most generous content. once again you over deliver for your readers. I do enjoy reading your blog posts and take inspiration from them.Really inspirational, clear and concise blog post which acts as the PERFECT aid for anyone intending to make money from blogging

    • Ramsay

      Thanks so much Christine! Appreciate the great comment.

  • Before I read all the other comments (and thus, before I forget what I wanted to say): I’m wondering why you didn’t give us an advantages/disadvantages list for instagram?
    Would’ve loved to here your thoughts on ownership rights and such.

    • Ramsay

      Yeah I really missed quite a lot. The more I read the more crap I think it is!

  • Okay, read them all. Now, for myself:)
    I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn and Pinterest with my travel blog.
    Weirdly enough, I seme to get the most traffic from StumbleUpon when I’m really not that active on there. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are doing ok as well.
    I’m very active on Twitter, following the 80%-20% rule – I share and RT A LOT.
    Facebook is doing ok, but I immediately see a drop in my insights when I’m a little less active. I think facebook demands a little too much attention for what it gives back.
    Also, I find it more naturale to share other people’s work on Twitter than on my facebook page, because it’s, well, ‘my’ facebook page. I feel it should mostly contain content by me. Still need to figure out a way to get comfortable there.

    • Ramsay

      Hey Sofie. Does the Stumble traffic convert for you? I always find it to be close to useless. No sign ups, nothing.

      • Well I must say I’m not yet at a point where I’m ‘hunting’ for conversions. I’ve got a travel blog and my main goal right now is to grow my audience and create a loyal community. So I’m afraid I can’t answer that question.

  • We had done pay per click in the past and it did generate some leads. We now combine organic SEO, PPC, and social media coverage on FB and Twitter to reach as many people as possible about our rigs. It’s very important to use the tools available for businesses. The world is a in a digital boom right now and everyone should learn it for the future of their business.

  • Larry S. Evans II

    First, thank you for putting all this in one place. I’m copying it to my note system because I am sure I’ll come back to it repeatedly for insight and information.

    I’ve been experimenting with social media (officially) for about the last 5 or 6 years. Prior to that I was doing much the same thing on private forums in niche markets, but we didn’t call it social media. I’m old enough to go back to the single line text BBS systems, so my perspective is going to be different than younger (and arguably hipper) users. I’ll try to briefly set out some of my key observations (so as not to comment longer than the article)

    1. “Be Everywhere” I believe means that you create an account or profile on every network, if for no other reason than to “plant the flag” and establish your brand identity. “The next facebook” is out there somewhere, and if someone else sets the account for “Bob’s Handy-shop” before you do, they get all the hits. It’s that simple.

    2. Video is becoming extremely important because of the abundance of cheap cameras and screens. Video is “easier” than reading a blog or even a status post (sad but true). If pictures are worth a 1000 words, then video is worth 1000 words 30 times a second.

    3. I appreciate that in your post you have pointed out how each medium has a different target and different advantage. It is possible to link blog to Twitter to Facebook to YouTube to G+ to LinkedIn ad infinitum. It is vital to understand that the linkages should take advantage of the strengths and not just make redundant copies on each network (we’ve all seen that).

    4. Success is best achieved through the “social” part and not the “media” part. I see so many “gurus” touting a technique, technology, or trend while ignoring the basic principals of human interaction. Analytics and statistics are fine tools, but ultimately if you treat the individual who took the time to reach out to you-personally- as a faceless number, you’ll get pretty much that. No loyalty, no advocacy, and no sale.

    As for networks, I use Facebook primarily but am moving into Youtube and the G+ miasma because the people are there. Twitter is valuable for “event marketing” (new book, film release,etc.) because it is so mercurial, and the signal-to-noise ratio is bad. I have not found the right approach to LinkedIn, but I think that’s more me than it. As for the rest, I am peripherally on Pinterest and Tumblr, but so far, they aren’t a target demographic.

    I have learned a lot from your post, that I hope to put to use, but I don’t know that it will change my viewpoint, only add to how I use the tools, and that was well worth the read. Thank you, again.

    • Ramsay

      Thanks Larry.

      That is one heck of a comment!

      I’m still not sure that success is achieved through the social part and not the media part. There’s lots of studies that show that being social doesn’t convert to sales. It might create more followers and “noise” but oftentimes the “loyalty” doesn’t convert.

      Very interesting to experiment though.

  • My god! My brain hurts and my freaking eyes are bleeding. But dammit, I know I’m going to have to come back and read it again and take some bloody notes this time.
    The only social stuff I do is telling folks on FB that my new post is up my blog. Luddite-trog, I know, but I still gots the day job.

  • So why have you left out LinkedIn? It’s probably more important than Facebook!

    • Ramsay

      Yeah I know. I’m copping some heat on that one! I think I’ll have to add it.

  • Wow,
    That is a really inspiring post.
    I will use google plus, pinterest and maybe something else. – still thinking about it. I was using fb fanpage ( not very helpful in many ways), and I am thinking of a changing it.

    • Ramsay

      G+ will really help with your personal brand. I hope you get started.

  • Interesting article and i do have knowledge on Social media. But no prediction on people’s and the way think.

  • I must admit that though the post was long, it was well worth a read. Also, regarding your question as to who has thought things how thorough, I really haven’t till now, but I guess I should now.

    Twitter? eh? Brings back some old memories when I had a slip of tongue.

  • I thinks its important to be well rounded, but you really need to update your own blog and website regularly and find ways to build back links.

  • Another solid post Ramsay.

    I’ve just about created every social profile out there and keeping them all up to date takes time. Google+ is definitely the place to be right now with Twitter a close second for strong branding purposes.

    Facebook pages is still good, just be sure to track your likers and check when you can get the max amount of eyeballs on any given day. Instagram is the hardest for me, the fastest way is definitely using a celebrity blogger or famous blogger to get to mention you so just pay them already lol.

    Tumblr, flickr and places like Deviantart should also be priorities when you are on Pinterest. Those already have some hardcore users (which eventually will get you links in the long run.)

    • Ramsay

      Good points on Flickr Dennis. Hadn’t thought about that.

  • Yes, indeed, SEO let alone social media is a very complicated thing, we may think we are doing enough by creating profiles and posting this and that, but at the end of the day, we still flop in terms of followers and ranking. Things have gotten so complicated these days and this article has laid everything out. Thanks Ramsay, will definitely have this bookmarked and I will go through this time and time again until I get everything.

  • G+ plays a major role in SEO nowadays.. It gives a drastic change for my site after used it.

    In social media sites, the more interesting things we post, the more +1, like we get….

    Lots of information o got from this post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks Tyrant,

    This really helps! I just copy it to word for easy to read.

    Bob

  • To begin with, many thanks a lot with regard to all your incredible content material. Through reading through your own publish assist me personally understand that I ought to begin discover G+… additionally LinkedIn because Sharon offers guidance that is accurate. I’ve accounts LinkedIn take into account very long time, however in no way fascinated till Lewis Howes adviced which LinkedIn is excellent spot to construct your own expert user profile and obtain a few company.

  • Great post Ramsay. I’ll be definitely bookmarking this in case I need to go over my social media strategy again in the future.

    Looks like I’ll need to learn more about Google+ since the way you described it fits my business perfectly. Thanks for writing this!

  • Wonderful content you have on your blog. I just subscribed after reading this long article. You put a lot of information in your posts, and I love the way you write. I will check back more often to learn more interesting things.
    Have a good day!

  • Thanks for sharing this! What a great guide to sift through all of the social media platforms and focus on the ones that will be most successful. It definitely can be overwhelming at times. This helps.

  • Hi Ramsay,

    Very imformative and impressive post. Gave a clear picture of all the social networking sites.
    Mine is a travel photography site (i year old) and I have started using your suggestions. Till now I am getting the maximum traffic from Reddit.One of the fellow posts mentioned of linkedin. I think I am gonna try that.