Social networks are a great way to engage with your customers and drive traffic back to your website. The nice thing is that most of these sites are free. Be sure to set up a profile for yourself, or your company, and post links back to your main website. It’s handy to have some profile information set up that you can copy and paste onto the various social media sites where you register.
Trends in social networking
MySpace used to be the King, but Facebook has now surpassed MySpace with number of users. However, MySpace is still a hotspot for music and artist pages. Micro blogging/messaging tools like Twitter and FrienFeed are gaining momentum too.
Most people lump social networks and social media together, but for web traffic I view them as distinct. Social networks require interaction and communication. Social media sites allow you to upload content that other people can comment upon and share with their communities. Social media sites have a social networking component, and it is beneficial to cultivate that element, but not required.
So if you have videos, images, white papers, articles or other media items get them uploaded to these sites. Even if it is only your company brochure, be sure to post a copy to the free file sharing sites. You never know when someone will come across it, and having links back to your site associated with this content helps your search results.
YouTube is the most popular video site, but there are many more out there. By using a service like TubeMogul, you can post your same video to many sites at one time. Flickr is the largest photo sharing site and Scribd has a nice interface for sharing your documents with the world. Think about where you audience is and what content you have, then pick a few of the top social media sites to show your stuff.
A word of caution when using social networks and media, you need to be yourself and not just hock your website. If you get labeled as inauthentic or a spammer, you will get rejected by the community. Better to not get involved than to get a negative reputation.
Next HOW TO: Get Traffic to Your Website Part 4 - Microsites and Subsites