by Paula on December 16, 2010

Had an enjoyable lunch today with John Dawson from Speaking in Front. We were talking through the various Social Media platforms and the different things they can offer. Without doubt, to anyone venturing into the world of Social Media, the amount of networks, the volume of traffic through them, and the potential of having to devote a large part of your day to it, can be an overwhelming prospect.

While John is aware of and up to date on Social Media opportunities, I often find myself speaking to clients who are completely new to this world and don’t know their Tweet from their Fan Page, or their Like from their Follow, and why should they, it’s a whole new world out there!

I was pondering on the drive home, the main platforms that work for me, and these are Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, and mulling over the very different opportunities for engagement they offer me.

Linkedin is very much my professional network. These are people I’ve worked with, and done business with, and it’s very career and business focused. It is an opportunity to share expertise, offer advice, find employees or suppliers, and to showcase your CV, complete with references from genuine and respected individuals.

Facebook is my friend and my family. It is the only network that I would use personally and daily even if it were not a part of my work. It is where I share things with people I know, it is where I learn what’s happening in my friend’s worlds, and because I know that it attracts this huge audience of people just like me, it is also a powerful place to have a business presence. Facebook is calm, considered and more relaxed and social. You can take time to share your thoughts and people can share back. What you post will be there for longer than a 20 second window, so your audience doesn’t have a ‘blink or you’ll miss it’ sense of urgency.

And then there’s Twitter. Twitter is my office. Twitter makes me feel that even though I might be on my own working, I am not alone. I can ask a question and have the answer in minutes. I can share a laugh or a concern and will have feedback and support by return. I personally know very few of my followers but they are becoming a big part of my world. Seeing their lives develop and watching their successes in realtime is exciting, and knowing that at any time of the day or night there are people there hearing me is magical.

So when you are assessing the networks and the differences and what might work for you, think about what you want, what you need and who you want to be connecting with, and then you too will find a blend of sites that will work for you.

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