Whether or not you are a fan of social media, there is no denying that the world has become more connected in ways beyond our initial dreams once this new network took off. While I agree that there is a balance to be had between person-to-person interactions and cyber relationships, social media has given both individuals and businesses a new avenue to engage their friends and customers. This article will provide a bit of information on how to leverage social media both personally and in business. It is recommended that if you are looking to start using a social media network, then understanding your goals, risks and impact of posting your life or business online is always key to having an enjoyable and rewarding experience in this platform.

Personal Social Media

With so many different ways to share your status, check in to your favorite restaurant, post your recent travel photos or read up on your family’s reunion, there are tons of options to enjoy the convenience and instant gratification of social media. Loving Young Couple Catching Up On Social Media SmilingMany individuals start out testing the waters on a personal level, and using a social media site is common place with friends and family. Not only has it become the norm, but it is not uncommon for people to ask for an invite or friend request to their favorite social media site. Here are a few of the top ranking social media sites to stay connected with family and friends.

Top Personal Social Media Sites

  • Facebook – There is no doubt that when a couple of college students created this social media site, no one knew just how big this monster would grow. Today, it is reported that over 1.5 billion users go to Facebook and regularly post their life stories. With such a user base, combined with the ease of posting, liking, finding friends and family, Facebook is by far one of the most highly used social media sites in the market.
  • Twitter – If you are looking for a bit of a quicker update, then Twitter may be the right social media platform for you. Twitter leverages short and frequent posts to keep their friends and acquaintances updated on their day to day activities, on a much more frequent basis than Facebook. With over 300 million Twitter users, it is no wonder why this new channel of social media has ranked in as No. 2 on my list.
  • Instagram – Love to post photographs? Don’t want to have to worry about adding content and status updates? If so, then Instagram could be your social media outlet. Instagram reports over 300 million users as well, easily rivaling the Twitter powerhouse, while offering a unique and creative side to posting. Instagram is packed full of creative photos, fun ideas, family gatherings, travel photos and so much more making it extremely easy to get your fix on eye candy and live vicariously through others.
  • Pinterest – Another quick and easy post system is leveraging Pinterest to “pin” you favorite photos, interests, creative ideas and designs. Pinterest started out in 2010 and has quickly grown in the social media realm to report over 100 million users.

Business Social Media

More and more businesses are leveraging the latest technology and social media craze to build a larger customer base in the hopes of going viral. There are so many different options a business can use to help their growth, exposure and sales, making it more common place to jump onto the social media bandwagon and expand your business. While some businesses are not always sure how to navigate, respond and post to various online tools, it is becoming more and more prevalent to see your favorite business online. To get the best results from a business perspective, it is recommended to do a little research on how to maintain your social media presence, knowing how and when to post to responses, and when to redirect your customers to a direct line of communication. After all, you don’t want to post something online that the whole world can see, as you may later regret your impulsive response. Taking time to understand how businesses are successfully using social media is a must if you are considering this tool for your business.

Top Business Social Media Sites

  • Linked In – If you are a professional, then it is almost mandatory that you have an account and active profile on Linked In.Hand Shake Between Laptops Leading the market for business to business contact, recruiting for companies, and posting your latest skills and resume, this uniquely focused form of social media is perfect for both small and large business users.
  • Facebook – Like the personal version, Facebook offers a business side of the spectrum allowing one to create a “business page” and promote your business. Similar to the personal pages, one can “like” your business thus placing it on their time line for promotional updates and information. Supporters can then share and re-post your content to their friends, expanding your network and potential client base.
  • Twitter – Twitter has also become a new mecca for businesses looking to stay online and create a social media presence. More times than not, this tool is used for quick references driving traffic back to their main website or Facebook page for customers to find out more information, follow up on a campaign ad or post a review. One thing to keep in mind with Twitter is that the sheer volume of posts is much greater than any other site, so if you have a Twitter account, it is recommended that you have someone who monitors this activity constantly looking for posts and responding accordingly.
  • YouTube – One of the biggest money makers in the market is YouTube. And more companies are turning to this easy to follow video system to post a wide range of tutorials, promotions, commercials, and general communications. Similar to Facebook, one can like or dislike the YouTube video while tracking your overall views to measure your impact and customer connection rate.

While technology continues to grow, and more sites are being created on a daily basis, this list is by no means the end all of top social media sites, and there are countless of smaller and more particular niche type sites that can allow you to connect with people of similar interest. With social media continuing to expand, more and more people are looking to narrow down their social media presence by actively participating in the larger markets, while combining more precise social media venues to boost their particular market or business.

Whether you are a big supporter of social media, or just getting started, there are countless choices for you to explore and find the right level of activity, response, and contact base to suit your needs. From personal connections, to long lost friends, to co-workers and even business to business communications, social media is a powerful tool to leverage while staying connected. So next time you find yourself wondering how your long lost cousin is doing, or want to find out what great new sales are going on at your favorite boutique store, why not do a quick search on the social media network, you might be surprised at what you find.