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Social Media Marketing: Beyond Facebook and Twitter

More than half of Americans (56%) have a social media account, according to an Edison Research survey. And, if you think it's just the kids who are "liking" and tweeting and sharing, you're wrong. The same survey found that more than half of Americans aged 45 to 54 have a social media profile.

Faced with numbers like that, most companies small and large are boosting their marketing efforts to include social media marketing.  After all, Facebook alone has more than a billion registered users and more than 750,000,000 monthly users, according to eBizMBA. Numbers like that are difficult to ignore. However, if your clients' social media content development efforts stop at Facebook and Twitter, they're missing some good marketing opportunities.

Social media extends far beyond those big two names. There are currently more than 400 social media sites and more are being added each week:

1. LinkedIn

LinkedIn was created in 2003 as a way for business professionals to network and for companies to find employees who had the job experience they were seeking. Over the past decade, this site with approximately 110 million monthly users has evolved into much more. If your product is aimed at professionals in a single industry (like catering managers) or a single job (like HR professionals), LinkedIn can help you target just those people who are likely to need your product or service.

2. Pinterest

This fast-growing social media newbie launched in 2010 and has since amassed more than 85 million monthly users, the majority (85%) of whom are women. Pinterest works like an online bulletin board where users create and share (pin) items with a common thread, like children's birthday cake ideas or great golf vacation destinations. However, you don't necessarily need a craft or food product to use Pinterest effectively. Content Marketing Institute offers several good ideas for marketing on Pinterest, including creating a board featuring your customer testimonials or highlighting boards that offer tips relating to your product or industry.

3. Good Reads

If you are an author, a book publisher or if you sell a book-related product, you need to include Good Reads in your content development plans. Good Reads allows authors and book people to interact directly with their readers via real time chats, online interviews and author blogs. You can also send marketing messages directly to people who have read your author's books or who have read and enjoyed similar authors.

4. YouTube

YouTube isn't just for silly kitten videos and kids trying to show off to their friends. According to Pixability.com, branded videos are the most effective way to showcase your product or service. It only makes sense. Why just tell readers about your product, when you can show them? Videos work for a variety of products. For example,if you sell a food product, you can show how to use it in a recipe. If you sell HVAC services, you can produce a video about easy furnace maintenance tips. The possibilities are almost endless.

5. Cafe Mom

Cafe Mom is a virtual coffee hour for moms of all ages and sizes. Currently, the site has approximately 12.5 million monthly users. Though primarily a social site, like the early Facebook, you can market on the site as long as you follow the rules and trend lightly. You want to friend first, market second. However, the rewards can be worth the effort. For instance, you can just market to new mothers in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston or to pregnant military moms, whatever best suits your product.

Related: Tips for Promoting Your Content on Twitter

6. Google+

Admittedly, Google's entry into social media is a little awkward and setting up your initial profile takes a little time. However, spending a minute of so to connect your content development efforts with the search engine giant could pay off in the long run. Although Google is somewhat secretive about Google+'s exact numbers, eBizMBA estimates the site's unique monthly users to be around 65 million. Not only does Google+ interface with other Google products, like YouTube, Gmail and Google Docs, but Copyblogger.com views Google+ as the all-in-one marketing site of the future. Even if it's not, a little Google love from using their social media site couldn't hurt.

What's the bottom line? Don't abandon Facebook and Twitter when planning your clients' content development. However, it makes sense to consider adding a few additional social media sites to the mix, sites that are aimed at an audience targeted to your product or service.

Topics: content development - content marketing - content marketing strategy - social media marketing

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