A look at the less obvious social networking sites that can help grow your brand presence across the web.
When most people think about social media, they immediately think of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but there are many other social media opportunities beyond the obvious choices. Here are some of the less obvious social networking sites (or those that we have forgotten about) that can help grow your brand presence across the web and allow you to connect with a targeted and focused audience.
Pinterest is taking the social media world by storm and with over 10 million users it is the fastest growing independent social network. In addition to the quick growth, Pinterest is one of the top sources of referral traffic online. Pinterest refers more traffic to other websites than Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined.
For those who haven't heard of Pinterest yet, it is an online pin board where users can share content that is arranged on boards. Brands are using Pinterest to share new products, connect with consumers, and hold contests. While a branded Pinterest account may or may not be right for your business, it is worth taking a look at the site and making sure that your content is "pinable."
With the growing focus on Facebook and Twitter, many brands have forgotten about the power of participating in discussion forums. Discussion forums tend to focus around very specific and niche topics and also rank well in search engines.
Discussion forums allow brands to participate in conversations with the people who are most interested in learning about and discussing topics related to their brand or business. A large consumer goods client that I worked with would regularly follow discussion forums, and the scientists from the brand would share information and clarify misconceptions about issues related to the category. They were the only brand participating, which positioned them as the experts in the field.
SlideShare allows businesses and individuals to post PowerPoint, PDF files, or Keynote presentations to share online. The presentations can then be displayed on blogs, websites, and Facebook pages and promoted on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
SlideShare is powerful because presentations posted on SlideShare often rank well in search engines, and can also generate thousands of views. This can increase branded business exposure online with thought leadership content. Some of my presentations on SlideShare have over 2,000 views (which is more than many of my blog posts have) and also rank on the first page of search engines for keywords in the title. If you already have presentations for your business, posting them on SlideShare can provide additional exposure with a very small time commitment.
Scribd is a website that allows users to share PDF files. Similar to SlideShare, the PDF documents can then be viewed on websites, blogs, or social networks and can also be shared across the web. In addition to providing a valuable service in making PDF documents more accessible, Scribd also generates additional views of documents from search engines and the Scribd community. Sharing your content on Scribd doesn't take much time and can provide additional brand impressions and exposures online.
We've all heard about Google+ and many of us are deciding if the hype will materialize, but few brands are actively (or passively) participating in the social network. It is free and easy to create a Google+ page for a business, and while the functionality is still extremely limited, it doesn't hurt to create a page and allow fans and friends to add you to their circles.
Less than a year ago, the social media community was hyping Tumblr, a simple blogging platform where users can "Tumble" content that they find online to share it with their friends. Tumblr has over 33 million users and over 12 billion pieces of content have been posted to the site. Over half of Tumblr users are under 35 and images are the most popular type of content shared on Tumblr.
While Pinterest seems to have replaced Tumblr as the newest social media darling, Tumblr still has a large and growing user base that is very active on the site. Businesses that don't have the time to create original content with a blog but want to comment on and share other content online should definitely consider Tumblr as an option.
What social media tools and sites do you use that are ignored or under-hyped?
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Krista Neher is the author of the bestselling Social Media Field Guide, an international speaker, and currently CEO of Boot Camp Digital, which is a leading provider of social media marketing training and consulting solutions. Krista is a social media pioneer, creating one of the first successful corporate Twitter strategies and corporate blogs - long before "social media" was even a recognized term. After spending nearly six years at Procter and Gamble working on some of the biggest and most successful product launches, Krista went on to become the vice president of marketing at an Internet start-up.
Krista started Boot Camp Digital in 2008 and has created training programs for hundreds of advertising agencies, marketing departments and small and medium business owners in social media marketing. Krista also works with a variety of educational institutions on their social media programs and is currently working on a textbook on social media marketing.
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