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We all know what social media networks are all about – being social. Each social network, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, are a bit different, however, in the type of social interaction that is going on.
Each social network has its own set of rules (some said and some unsaid) on what behavior is polite and what is spam. What may work on one social network may not always work on another. Once one has an understanding of how to be social on a social media network, the easier a person can network and socialize with others.
Let’s take a look at four popular social media networks and how they work when it comes to interacting with others.
Facebook is all about your friends and family, who are in the real world. It’s about the people you already know, or knew in the past.
It is important to keep this in mind, because “friending” somebody you don’t know in real life can be seen as spam.
As a business on Facebook, you are going to want to use a “fan page” and not your personal profile for connecting people, unless you are personally branded.
If you are personally branded, you can have people “subscribe” to you. Just remember that whatever you say may be more public than you like. You can change this in privacy settings, but you will want to be careful.
Twitter is like a giant chat room, which the whole world is participating in (well, at least everyone who is on Twitter). This obviously makes it hard to follow conversations, and the reason why Twitter uses hashtags (#) and @ symbols – to help people follow a conversation.
For example, if you want to follow a certain topic, just put a ‘#’ in front of a search term. Everyone who used that hashtag or mentioned the topic will show up in your search. When you use a hash tag or mention a topic, people can search for it as well.
@ symbols are for mentioning specific usernames on Twitter. People of course are not required to answer, but this is a public conversation. Everyone can see what you wrote with your name attached to it. Because of that, it is conventional that people reply.
Direct Messages are different. They are private. Surprisingly, they are usually full of automated messages and spam.
Twitter is a great way to meet new people, because it is a giant chat room. Just make sure you contribute to the conversation and sound like a real person. It’s amazing the possibilities that can come out of this social network.
LinkedIn is a professional social networking site and is all about business. It really does get directly to the point. It is a little of a mix between Facebook and Twitter. You connect with other professionals that you have either met or worked with in the past.
LinkedIn is also about meeting new people as well. Using the connections of the people you know, you can reach out to other people who you can do business with. LinkedIn even offers a paid option so you can reach out to others.
LinkedIn also has an extensive job search. Usually, this is the main reason why people want to reach out to others that aren’t in their network.
If you are networking business to business, or are looking for a job, LinkedIn is for you.
Pinterest is the newest social network, and surprisingly, the one that is least social. It is all about images and collecting what you like.
Users have boards, where they can collect different images, which usually link to a website. You can follow other people’s boards to get inspiration and find more things you want on your board.
That is the reason why this social network is the least social. You follow other people’s boards for your own means. It is all about you. Rarely do people make comments or have a conversation.
It doesn’t mean that Pinterest is of less value. People actually often spend more money on Pinterest than on Facebook.
As you can see, not all social networks are the same. Now that you have a good overview of a few of the top ones, you can start to see where your company will fit in best.
Hilary St Jonn is the founder of Digest Online Marketing, a website dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small businesses learn about online marketing in an easy fashion. During her free time, she enjoys traveling and riding.
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