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I have been asked three times in the last few weeks which Social Networks should business owners use as part of their marketing plan.

Social Networks play a KEY part in engaging and communicating with your customers and ‘Potential’ customers. Before you launch your personal brand or business brand onto Social Media, you should be sure to have clear guidelines on your ‘professional character and conduct’ on Social Media.

Social media posts are FOREVER. There may be a delete button BUT there is no real delete once you post something. Anyone can ‘screen shot’ in seconds and what you post will always be available. So, before you start be sure that you have a clear plan and guidelines and remember to NOT ‘emotion post’ without taking time to think about it before you hit enter.
Disclaimer aside, it is important to ensure you have your brand and name at least ‘parked’ on the Internet and Social media networks. This means deciding on an AVAILABLE user name that you can use consistently over as many networks as possible and registering for them so no one else can.

What Social Networks should you register on?

Most people think of Google as a search engine. It is so much more, but primarily, you will need a Google account to be able to create a quality listing in their directory.

It is also a good place to start as you can create a GMAIL account that will provide you with an email to use when registering for other social networks. Don’t use your everyday email to register for social networks. Using a dedicated email will allow you to delegate your social media management and tasks in the future as needed.

You tube is now operated by GOOGLE. Use your Google ID to create a YouTube page for your business.

Linked in:
Linked in is a Professional Social Network, register as an individual and then create your COMPANY Page.

Facebook is constantly in a state of change and while you may think of Facebook as simply a place to share your life with your friends and family, Facebook Pages show up in the top three of Search Engine results and if you want your customers to find you, you need to be on Facebook.
Create a Private Facebook account, and once registered create a Facebook PAGE for your business. *do not register your business on Facebook as a ‘person’. The pages provide the tools you will need as a business on Facebook.

If you are using your personal twitter account for business, keep it professional. I suggest simply creating a profile for your business while you learn to use Twitter. Twitter is a great networking social network for businesses.

If women buy your products, you need to be using Pinterest. Create a plan for organizing your ‘BOARDS’ ahead of time to save hours of editing in the future.

Instagram is a photo sharing Social Network. I encourage Business owners to not just register but actively use this network. Find a tablet or even a phone that is not being used anymore and set it up with the Instagram mobile AP. Your staff can take daily photos of your products, promotions, and interesting thing and upload them to Instagram.
These images can then be easily fed into your website to keep your content updated daily without having to call in your web manager.

Tumblr is a Social Networking site for sharing that is owned by Yahoo (yes Yahoo is still around).
Meetup: This can be a great tool for getting people in the door of your business and OFF the computer. A local coffee shop I know of has a weekly ‘CO-working’ meetup inviting local professionals who work from home to come in and work from their coffee shop to change things up. This is just one example of how you can use Meetup as a business and marketing tool.

While you may debate if Skype fits into the Social Network definition, you should create an account and create an accurate business profile.

Snap Chat:
I fully admit it; I do not use Snap Chat (my teens do). However, if your target audience is a younger generation (13-24) you probably should look into how you can incorporate Snap Chat into your Social Media management. Either way, you should be sure to have an up to date profile page.

If you are still wondering why you NEED to start considering Social Media in your Marketing Mix, you need to read this article: 12 Social Media Marketing Trends for Small Business

Photo Credit:
Feature Photo by Oscar Nord