Social media is the hottest thing to hit business since the press release, but it’s also just as overused. Just as a company doesn’t need to announce every little movement by way of press release, you also don’t need to use every social media tool that comes out. While you should never close the door to the most advanced marketing tactics, some methods of communicating with customers are best limited to their most effective use.
Clients often come to BrightBox asking about how they can bulk up their social media presence. We definitely encourage any company to investigate that kind of opportunity, but you should know the capabilities of each social media and use different tools in the right way.

Consider these five members of the social media family.

#1 FACEBOOK

Facebook is the granddaddy of the modern interactive communication world. The strongest sentiment attesting to that is that just about any slightly social person in the world would agree with that. On Facebook, you can participate in just about any translated version of the real world: talking to friends in real time, sending them messages in long written form, show people photos, play games, conduct business… even grow a garden.

For most people, this all works great. Many businesses rely on at large publicity and sales-style goods and services, so all of this stuff translates very well. However, not everyone needs a Facebook page. Your mechanic might want to tell you all about his new oil change price, but you probably won’t look at his Facebook page to find out about it, and you probably don’t want to be blasted with messages about this week’s deal on brake realignment.

#2 YOUTUBE

YouTube is your one-stop video view spot for all things video-related and free on the internet. Legal issues regarding TV rights have complicated the process of uploading and streaming YouTube videos, but you can still watch plenty of shows and virtually any old clip for free.
The beauty of YouTube for your business is that video is a powerful medium for your message. Furthermore, YouTube is powerful and easy to navigate, thus increasing the amount of people who view your information and learn about your business. The site is much better for extreme skateboarders than it is for ice-cream shops. Use YouTube if your business can benefit from video. It’s that simple.

#3 TWITTER

One of the more unusual internet tools, Twitter does one thing and one thing well: Collect information. If you want to know what people are saying about a very particular topic, Twitter allows you to search for it and find it immediately. While searching Facebook for videos is difficult if not impossible, Twitter is made for quick messages with links. Oddly enough, that strength was a response to its own weakness. Tweets are limited to 140 characters because the original framework was meant for adaptation to MSM text messages.

Now, Twitter has its own culture, which is cool… but may or may not be compatible with whatever you are selling. Tweets may be short, but they take time.

Don’t make noise if no one will hear it.

#4 FOURSQUARE

Foursquare: The ultimate experience with the connection between the social network biosphere and physical space out in the real world. Foursquare uses social badges to encourage people to tell businesses where they are going. For businesses like restaurants and goods retailers, the benefit has been tremendous. If you are a marketing agency, you may not really benefit from people checking in on Foursquare. “Tim Jones has been in the lobby of Harris Research” is not an engaging or helpful message.

#5 MYSPACE

Remember this dinosaur of a social network? The original online social network was once an up and coming player in the internet economy. Over time, it declined into a sort of second rate network before finally retooling and becoming a somewhat respectable place for musicians to advertise their names, songs and tours. At this point, MySpace is an irrelevant aside for many businesses. On the other hand, you never know what could happen on the social media landscape, and staying focused on emerging trends is one key to building your business. If you can use MySpace for yourself or your clients, you should. Never write off a social media tactic if it can help build your brand and your business.