Earlier this week, Google+ threw their hat into the ring for being the site that businesses should turn to if they want to take advantage of professional marketing online, via social media.

With Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn already being established in this field and some businesses also taking advantage of the video marketing available via Youtube, finding the right platform to promote your business on was already difficult. But as established in our previous post “Is Google+ The Future of Online Professional Marketing?” Google’s decision to enter the fray adds another dimension to social media marketing.

To help you choose the best for your business, here at JE Consulting we’ve provided a brief guide on what each site can offer you.

Youtube:

If you have a product which looks great on video, such as driving experiences, or if you have a member of staff who is able to articulate the message your business wants to portray perfectly via film, then there video content is certainly worth considering as a form of professional marketing.

Through their own channel, businesses and individuals are able to upload and share videos to the public, and sharing a video via this platform is one of the easiest ways in which to reach a wide audience, plus Youtube allow videos uploaded to their site to be embedded onto other websites, meaning you can easily add it to your own site too.

However, once a video has been uploaded to Youtube, it is likely to include either adverts or recommendations to other videos of similar content, which could see you lose business to a competitor on there.

Facebook:

Potentially the most well-known social media platform, Facebook has been an important tool for businesses around the world, and this is something their developers have recognised.

From its humbling beginnings as a social media platform for colleges in the US, Facebook has rose in the last few years and currently offers an array of features, including Group, Fan Pages and Adverts, which make it possible for businesses to advertise their products and services to their target audience, no matter how niche, with little to no funding required.

The power of Facebook within social media circles and what it can do for your business is clear for all to see, but there is a chance that as Twitter evolves further and Google+ Pages become more popular, Facebook could begin to dwindle (or on the other hand, it could grow further).

Google+ Pages:

Only entering the fray this week, Google+ Pages are the newbies to the social media circle and what they can offer a business is yet to be tried and tested by the masses. But the early signs look good for businesses, with some industry analysts believing that Google+ could find a lucrative niche in the social networking market, worldwide.

Brands including Pepsi, Toyota and Barcelona Football Club have already signed up to Google+ Pages and the future for the newest social media platform certainly looks promising, although with Facebook being their nearest rival, it could take an enormous push for Google+ Pages to push Facebook aside.

With that said, it looks as though the powerhouse that is Google, could have a trick up their sleeve as with the announcement of Google+ Pages, the also announced that “Pages” will show up in their search engine results. This could potentially be a major selling point for businesses looking to improve both their SEO and page rankings

Twitter:

Whilst Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ offer various features such as pages, groups and video-calls to businesses; Twitter is a relatively simple platform, which could account for its prominence in the social media world.

Since launching in 2006 Twitter has seen businesses use the 140 characteristics (including links) to promote their services/products, engage with customers and carry out market research and the benefits it offers a business doesn’t seem to be dwindling.

With newsfeeds being no more than a couple of hours old, users of Twitter – whether businesses or individuals – are able to see the latest goings on, making it an excellent tool to use for professional marketing.

LinkedIn:

Having launched in 2003, LinkedIn is the oldest of the five platforms and eight years down the line, its popularity doesn’t appear to be ending for business professionals.

As recently as this year, LinkedIn announced that it had over 135 million professionals signed up to the website, 2million+ companies worldwide and over 1million industry specific groups. In September of this year, LinkedIn also announced that their current sign-up rate of new users is roughly 2 per second.

Unlike the other four platforms above, LinkedIn isn’t seen as a social networking site which is aimed at personal use, with features built in to make it accessible to businesses. Instead, LinkedIn offers something different.

It’s a place for business professionals to exchange information, ideas and opportunities – with recruiters regularly turning to LinkedIn to find potential candidates for job opportunities they have.

To help businesses promote themselves and their services more, LinkedIn late last month announced their “company status updates” which allows businesses to share news, information, links etc to their connections as the business, instead of as a member of staff for the business.

Deciding which of the five platforms is best for your business to progress with online marketing and to gain respectable ROI will depend solely on the business and the messages/information you want to share and promote. In many cases, whilst these platforms alone can be beneficial, for the best results it’s best to engage in professional marketing on a number of the sites at the same time.

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