On this week’s Magnet Minute, Amy discusses how social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google Plus function differently and how each might best serve your specific audience. So before you jump in and launch a presence on these networks, consider her analysis.

Facebook may be the biggest social network in the world, sure, but that doesn’t mean your audience lives on it. It’s definitely situated best as a business to consumer network, as brand pages cannot interact with personal accounts — only the reverse can happen. In this way, businesses are encouraged to share fun and easily engaged-with content in order to get on the radar of potential customers. You also want to be sure to take advantage of the power of photos on Facebook. They take up so much space within the news feed that you’re giving yourself a much more likely chance of being seen if posting vibrant imagery. Bottom line: when you plan for Facebook, think photos. Always.

Twitter relies more heavily on text. What you say in 140 characters (ideally more like 120) will determine your success on the network, whether that comes in the form of something clicking your link, following your hashtag, retweeting your content, or engaging in a conversation. Compared to Facebook, it’s much easier to organically grow a following because of this reliance on text and this promotion of discussion. On Twitter, all accounts can interact with each other as there aren’t set restrictions like on Facebook. So while business to consumer is definitely a big piece of the activity on Twitter, business to business also happens much more frequently there. Keep in mind, if you want engagement, you need to give it away in enormous helpings first and never stop. Treat those as you’d like to be treated, as they say.

A side note regarding Twitter: multimedia is definitely a big deal as well even though copy comes first. As you may know the creators of Twitter also recently launched Vine, a video app. The Twitter audience is willing to click to see photos and videos but it’s still the text of the tweet itself that drives engagement. So craft your tweet carefully!

How does Google Plus fit in? Well, it certainly has a lot of users being that it’s a Google product, but in terms of active users, most of them tend to be very tech, social and business savvy superusers. Guy Kawasaki is an example of someone who does really well on the network because much of his audience is the type of social media user who has a Google Plus presence. So before planting your roots there, be sure to add to your online presence and ensure that that your audience is there.

And how about Linkedin? The professional network actually has more users than Twitter, believe it or not. So there’s certainly an amazing audience to tap into there. But remember that no one on LinkedIn is going to pay attention to you unless you’re sharing your knowledge. Make sure to look into niche groups to see how you can contribute to conversations there, look for opportunities to answers questions and maybe lead someone to learn more from content on your site. Don’t get too promotional, but be helpful. That’s how leads and referrals will come your way via Linkedin.Do you know why you’re on each of the social networks your brand has a presence?

Any thoughts on social networking as a business? Which networks do you use? Which ones do you find most useful? Let us know in the comments and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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