There are a number of social media platforms that will be really helpful for social media marketing strategy in 2009. Below are some standards and some up and comers but a word of caution, don’t try to use all of these sites to market your business. Research the demographics to see which sites appeal to your target audience. Platforms often publish user demographics, or you can check out the social media statistics wiki for more information. And, add one at a time really get to understand the site and all of its bells and whistles.
That said, here are the Social Media Sites that will be hot in 2009.
FaceBook: I am sure it will come as no surprise that Facebook is still around, bigger than ever, overtaking MySpace in user numbers. Using FB requires heavy participation in community groups, building out pages, recruiting friends…in the world of social media, this is time intensive…and if you aren’t careful, it can become a huge black hole. However, it does have the potential to drive traffic and build solid community.
Twitter: My best friend Twitter (@jeanannvk) is going to continue to grow as more people learn to embrace its quirky communication patterns. Twitter is less time intensive, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it is a channel for push marketing messages. Building relationships is always important in social media, and this is no exception.
StumbleUpon: At some point, Digg users will be fed up enough with the elitism and gaming of the site to drop it in favor of StumbleUpon. Stumble is a much more friendly and welcoming social bookmarking site that gives you an opportunity to build a strong network. This site can be a great traffic driver, if used (not abused) correctly.
Ning: Ning continues to be a great platform for building community around niche topics. It is easy to use, highly interactive and customizable. When this is a good fit for a business, it is an amazing social media marketing tool.
Up and Comers:
WetPaint: I don’t mind saying that I am in love with this site…WetPaint’s creators have built a platform that makes the social web available for everyone. Essentially, this user friendly wiki builder makes it easy for you to create pages on your site that can be edited by your customers. It is the ultimate in collaboration. That said, this won’t appeal to all businesses…so think carefully about the pros and cons of giving some content control to your followers.
SlideShare and Scribd: Both of these sites are social publishing sites…Scribd is for written materials, SlideShare is for presentation/video type sharing. Both already have huge followings, and as more and more business people enter the social media waters, these sites will explode.
Drop.io: This is a collaborative workspace platform that makes it very easy to post files, audio and video for your team. Google offers similar collaborative workspace, as do other sites…hard to say which will end up as the front runner…but use of these sites will continue to increase.
Certainly, these aren’t all of the sites, just a few I think have great promise. Don’t be afraid to do a bit of time-limited exploration the benefits of using social media to market your business can have a great pay off. Just be aware of the time and energy you are investing in your efforts…make sure it is worth your effort. And, in the even you need a bit of consulting to help you get started; don’t forget to check out one of my favorite consulting groups: Social American.