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Which social media sites are worth your business's time?

If you own a business and are contemplating using social media to build your business, then first, good for you. It is important to understand that social media has changed the landscape for how businesses interact with their consumers, and ignoring it can be potentially fatal to your company. Second, make sure you know what social media sites are worth your business's time. There are hundreds of options out there, and you could spend every minute of time and resource you have trying to be on all of them, or get similar results by selecting those that are going to help you have the most impact, and reach the most people. Here is a look at which social media sites are worth your business's time.

FaceBook, MySpace and LinkedIn are the three largest social networks, and should be three of the primary focuses for your social media campaign, as well as Twitter. They offer multiple functions, and are not open source, which means that the content can't be shared across platforms. This means that you have to set up a campaign for each of the first three (Twitter is the exception, you can have your Twitter feed come from Facebook, or vice versa, etc.) Each holds a unique appeal, and value. Here is the basics of what you should know:

MySpace: This was the original social networking site, and while still strong, Facebook has stolen a lot of their thunder. They are for the under 30, ethnically diverse, and lower income demographic as a whole. MySpace makes it very easy to build a following, and unless you set your profile to private, it is visible to everyone.

FaceBook: This started as a college site, but has grown immensely. The demographics trend toward those with college degrees, a higher median income, and lower ethnic diversity. The highest concentrated age range is college to mid 40's. Because it is private, you can't see the profiles of the people you do not have a connection with, and this makes it harder to gather data, and it takes longer to build a following. Contact is typically made through existing contacts.

LinkedIn: The idea behind LinkedIn was that of a business network, where you can create contacts through existing contacts and their circles. The demographics are professionals with higher levels of education, age 30-50. This social networking site is growing, adding groups, forums, and other social networking features.

Twitter: Twitter is a form of microblogging. Its demographic is ethnically diverse, median income, college education. It offers the ability to gain a following, as well as search trends and topics for your industry.

These are the top four sites your business should focus on. Create a social media campaign for each platform, with the target market in mind, and the limitations and opportunities in mind so that you can capitalize on your strengths for each individual option.

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