10 Key Social Media Tools for Small Business

Social Media Marketing, promoting your business through internet social media, is a good idea for any business. One of the questions I’m asked most often is “How much time does it take?” and the companion complaint I hear is “I don’t have time for that.”
My response to that is, what business is doing so well they don’t have to take time to market themselves? So, if you’ve made the decision to spend the time, here are 10 tools you will find quite helpful:

  1. Twitter: Found at twitter.com it is called a Microblogging web site. You have 140 characters per message (the message is called a tweet).  You can follow anyone and anyone can follow you. It’s a great way to connect with people in your industry, in your neighborhood, or even to see what the competition is up to.
  2. TweetDeck: Once you get into twitter, the twitter.com interface won’t be robust enough to manage the people you’re following. TweetDeck lets you categorize and segregate people you follow and makes it easy to reply, forward, or send direct messages.
  3. Facebook: Facebook.com started as a way for college students to connect but it has become big business and is a great way to connect with friends, colleagues, and potential clients. You can create a page for your business and collect “fans”. This provides a great way to communicate with “your” community.
  4. LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com started as a way to connect with others in a business environment and has rapidly begun to grow into a site that lets you form business groups and connect with people in different ways.
  5. StumbleUpon: StumbleUpon.com is a great way to track and share web sites that you come across. Instead of bookmarking them with your browser, bookmark them with StumbleUpon and you can access them from any browser. It’s unique point is being able to “stumble upon” sites that others with your interests have found.
  6. Digg: Another social bookmarking site, Digg is more focused on news kind of things but is a great way to share your sites and find out what others are “Digging”
  7. FriendFeed: Much like dogpile.com brings results from different search engines together in one interface, FriendFeed.com lets you bring all your social media sites into one feed.  You can also take your feed and import it into your accounts – I get facebook comments on my tweets because FriendFeed pulls them into my account.
  8. YouTube: I’m so keyed into the written word that I sometimes overlook the visual. But when we were not having good luck repairing my son’s iPod, he looked on YouTube and got step by step instructions. And that is why businesses can benefit – show step by step instructions on how to use your goods or services.
  9. MySpace.com: As sites like FaceBook and LinkedIn morphed to fit the changing needs of its members, myspace has grown into a “big boys” site with networking opportunities and connections similar to their more business-like counterparts.
  10. Craigslist: OK, its not really a social networking site but it is a key site to find or advertise things on and it’s pretty simple to figure out and use.
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