So many social sites, where’s a business to start?

Talked this morning with the All Stars Networking group in Mason, Ohio, whose members look for ways to help each other grow their businesses in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. Business people often ask, “I think I should be using Twitter (… or Facebook or fill-in-the-blank name of any popular social media site). Can you come over and help me set it up?”

Sure, I always answer. But, what do you want to do with it?

That’s the question that CMO.com helps businesses answer. The info site for chief marketing officers says that 2010 is the year that companies will heavily invest in social media. That headline should be enough to prompt small businesses to ask how they should connect with customers using social media. But, where to start? And, which of the dozens of social media sites, tools, services and communities to use?

First answer these key questions … who am I trying to reach and where will I find them online? CMO.com takes it the next step for businesses with this excellent guide that identifies four business goals — communicate with customers, increase awareness of you brand, generate traffic to your web site and, improve your web site’s search ranking. Then CMO.com compares how well 10 popular social media sites will help you achieve your business goals in these four areas.

Business owners are asking me about Facebook fan pages. This social networking site is particularly good if you want to connect with customers who expect to share their opinions and information about your business and who look for contests, coupons and free stuff from your business. Facebook fan pages, while fully indexed by the search engines, are not the best approach compared to using other social media sites if improving search ranking is your goal, says CMO.com.

The social media guide also contains this nugget of news: Twitter, a social communications tool, along with digg, a social news sharing site, are the strongest across the board for listening and talking with customers, increasing awareness of your brand, getting customers to visit your web site and, yes, ranking higher in search.

I enjoy telling business owners they should use Twitter. They look at me like I have two heads, until we look together and find their customers on Twitter and find conversations about their companies, products and competitors. What to do next, of course, is the crucial decision. Social media like Twitter definitely can help a business owner meet and get to know the other people online. This guide from CMO.com will show you where to focus.

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One Response to So many social sites, where’s a business to start?

  1. […] Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and even Flickr?  CMO.com recently put together a comprehensive “Guide to the Social Landscape” that shows most of the major players and how the website ranked them in terms of categories such […]

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