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Social media has undeniably become one of the strongest channels businesses can use to reach out and engage with their audience. But making social media work for you means knowing which platform works best for your business.

You might think that all social media sites are essentially the same, but making that mistake can mean squandering marketing and ad budgets trying to connect with an audience that just plain isn’t interested.

The truth is every social media platform has a unique audience who interact with each other in ways specifically molded by the site they frequent. Trying to talk to Twitter users the same way you talk to Facebook users will make your message fall flat, while Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat users all have their own cultures built from the platform.

So which is right for you? It all depends on your business, your values, and who your audience is. The infographic below from Visage will walk you through the basic pros and cons of each of the most popular social media sites, along with some key stats about each social network.

Identifying the best social network for you will help you get the most out of your marketing efforts and find the most responsive audience for your brand.

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Social media is all about crafting an image and that starts at the profile and cover photos. These pictures are the first things visitors see when they come to your profile, and it is essential to maintain a consistent image across social media. Unfortunately, trying to prepare your photos in the ideal sizes and specifications for the wide array of social media platforms can be a headache.

Every single social media site has their own specific sizes for images and many of the specs can seem almost random. Facebook requires 851px by 315px, while Google calls for 1080px by 608px and images on LinkedIn are supposed to be 646px by 220px. You can spend your time trying to come up with a mnemonic device to try to keep all the different image specs straight, but chances are your time is better spent elsewhere.

Thankfully, the team at Spredfast created a handy infographic which lays out the most recent photo specs for pretty much any social network you are likely to be on. The graphic details all the ideal photo sizes for profile pics and cover photos, as well as detailing the optimal sizes for posting photos to make sure cropping won’t ruin the image.

 Social Image Size Infographic

All week we try to keep you up to date with the most important SEM news across the web, but inevitably there are smaller stories that fall through the cracks. That’s why we compile all the most important news we missed this week all in one convenient place every Friday. After a quiet week before, nearly all of the major platforms have made announcements this week. Let’s start with Google and work our way down.

Google Starts Warning Searchers About Mobile URL Redirects

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Google has been warning webmasters about faulty mobile redirects for months, including suggesting they may one day start receiving penalties for sending mobile searchers to the front page of a site rather than the content relevant to their search. It appears Google has opted for another solution, which allows mobile searchers to decide if they want to proceed.

Google alerted webmasters this week that smartphone searchers will begin seeing warnings for sites with redirects that don’t take them where they want to go. An example of how these warnings will appear is above. On a Webmaster Central blog post, Google stated:

We’d like to spare users the frustration of landing on irrelevant pages and help webmasters fix the faulty redirects. Starting today in our English search results in the US, whenever we detect that smartphone users are redirected to a homepage instead of the page they asked for, we may note it below the result. If you wish to proceed to the page, you can click ‘Try Anyway.’

Google Adds World Cup Street View Tours and a Loch Ness Easter Egg

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Just a week before the World Cup kicks off, Google has added street view images that will allow users to tour all 12 stadiums that will be used for the tournament. Whether you want to stand in the middle of the field and do a little spin, or preview the view from the stands, you’ll be able to give a look from anywhere within the stadiums.

Google has also added significantly more images from Brazil’s painted streets and other sites across the country, but perhaps one of the most popular finds on Google Maps this week is an Easter Egg found far away from Brazil.

If you’d rather hunt legendary monsters than watch soccer, Google Maps is able to give you directions to Loch Ness. If that isn’t enough for you however, Google says you can always catch a ride on Nessy.

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If you get directions from Fort Augustus to Urquhart Castle in Google Maps, you will get the option to travel via Loch Ness Monster. You just have to click on ‘Route Options’ and then choose ‘Fewer Transfers’ or ‘Less Walking.’ Though you have to wonder how no one has managed to get a picture of Nessy while hopping a ride down the Loch.

Bing Celebrates Its 5th Birthday With Some Memories

Bing turned five earlier this week, and to celebrate it has posted a retrospective of the last five years. Bing is also offering Bing Reward credit perks to any user who searches on the site before June 9th.

The retrospective covers all of the ways Bing’s appearance has changed over the past five years, but it also covers how it has worked to achieving its initial goals of leveraging semantic search, introducing new verticals, and generally expanding how search could function in our lives.

Bing Shows Off New Dynamic Carousel For Music Video Searches

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Bing has prided itself on being ahead of the curve in respect to music and music video searching and discovery, and its latest feature continues to expand on the functionality it previously offered for music video searches.

Bing has recognized that people search for music videos very differently than they do other video content. By exploring these changes in user behavior, Bing was able to determine that music video watchers wer significantly more likely to hang around and check out other content instead of moving on once they found the video they were looking for.

To give users easier access to all the music videos they may be interested, Bing has implemented instant access to an artist’s top hits as soon as you search only the artists name. Bing describe this as a dynamic carousel, because it allows you to open up songs and videos from teh carousel and play it within the same window. You will never have to keep going back and forth between choosing the video you want to watch and actually watching it.

The carousel also allows you to view all of an artist’s albums and watch the videos for those songs as well.

Pinterest Continues To Work Towards An Actual Ad Platform

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Pinterest has made its intention to establish an ad platform for their social network very clear ever since it unveiled Promoted Pins. However, Pinterest is working slowly to guarantee that the ads shown on their platform won’t stick out or detract from the experience, and as such it has been very hands on and selective about who it allows to run ads.

Now, businesses of all types have been given access to a do-it-yourself Promoted Pins tool that allows them to promote their own pins to more people and increase visibility. Similar to most other social ad platforms, these will work on a cost-per-click basis through ads.pinterest.com.

Pinterest also announced they would be expanding the analytics tools offered to users, giving them more insight into who is clicking and re-Pinning your content. You can get more information from their announcement.

LinkedIn Joins The “Large Cover and Profile Photo” Club

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LinkedIn announced earlier this week it would be making a major design update to user profiles, which will feel very familiar to anyone who uses Facebook, Google+, or Twitter. Currently, the layout is only available to premium users, but LinkedIn says it will be available for all users after a short period. It isn’t entirely clear why LinkedIn would stagger the rollout of this layout change, but you can add it to the list of social media sites that are beginning to look very, very similar.

There’s Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. All offer something unique and a unique demographic to those that create a presence for their business there. So which one is best suited for the needs of your company?

Jen Wilson, of Business Journal, recently published an in-depth look at who exactly is using each site and what type of company will flourish there. Here’s a quick rundown of the findings.

Facebook: Best suited for established brands with a dedicated following that will share success stories. Ages 18-55.

Twitter: Great for developing relationships with customers and for PR. Younger demographic than Facebook with an added bonus of well-known personalities among the users.

LinkedIn: B2B sales is perfect here, but it can also be used to establish yourself as an expert in a given field. Wide age range, but users are college educated and often advanced in their careers.

Google+: Tech companies, internet services and gaming works great considering there’s a high concentration of young, tech savvy males here. Also, get a boost in search as your picture appears with your articles or web site.

Pinterest: Any image driven company, specifically fashion or design but could even be adapted for certain types of sales. The best place to market to women under 50.

There’s a legitimate concern when marketing your business through social media that you will overstep your bounds and actually turn off users while you’re trying to attract them. Remember, in today’s climate, people don’t trust and simply don’t like salesmen.

Rachel King reports this was a hot topic at SugarCon 2013 over at ZDnet. Mathew Sweezey, a so-called “marketing evangelist”, had some suggestions to keep you from becoming creepy in your sales pitch to consumers. They could be of value when diagnosing your current social media philosophy. Of note, Sweezey doesn’t believe in connecting with consumers through Facebook because he feels it is more of a private, personal community than Twitter or LinkedIn. There could be some debate on that point, but at the very least you should approach users differently on different social media platforms.

I’ve discussed ways to use social media in your job search before. Not surprisingly, the tips for creating a successful social media profile for job seekers are not so different from the tips for small business owners.

Jane Turkewitz has a list of suggestions at iMediaConnection, but I’ll summarize for you here.

Just like a small business owner, job seekers should use Facebook and Twitter to make themselves sound like an expert. Be a part of the conversation and maybe someone will take notice. Also, target the people you want to be in business with, in this case, the people you want to work for and track their social media activity. Chances are, they’ll post something about job openings.

Don’t be desperate and overbearing. Your message gets glossed over if people are bombarded with it and you alienate the people you are trying to reach. Also, make sure you have contact info posted on your profiles so interested parties can easily reach you.

You should always remember that you can’t expect social media to find a job for you. You can’t simply tweet out a link to your resume, then sit back and wait. You have to be proactive, but social media can be a great tool for your arsenal.

If you’re a college student, you’re using some form of social media. I say that with the utmost confidence because you’re reading this, so you know how to use the Internet.

However, the way you use social media should change the closer you get to graduation. Your profile can’t all be about last night’s kegger or foam party. Employers are not as impressed as they should be by that.

So, follow these 10 tips, as initially suggested by Meagan Cook at Business2Community.

1. Be you

I’m not suggesting you abandon all fun aspects of your life in order to showcase your employable attributes. You still need to come across as a real, multi-dimensional person. Just don’t eliminate yourself from contention for a job with questionable statements or pictures.

2. Connect with the pros

Just because you’re still in school doesn’t mean you can’t connect with those working in your desired field. Use Twitter to retweet them or ask them questions. Use LinkedIn to network with them and get career advice. The more familiar they are with your name and background, the better chance they’ll think of you after graduation.

3. Hunt for jobs

Follow recruiters on Twitter and respond to possible opportunities. Even if you aren’t quite qualified, you can ask for any similar internship or entry-level openings.

4. Ask questions

You can strike up a conversation with those already working in your industry by asking them about what you’re learning. You’re not trying to argue with them, but you’re also not a ‘yes man’. Have an intelligent discussion.

5. Speak English

Or, more accurately, don’t speak in text lingo. It doesn’t paint you as an intelligent, employable person. Typing out full words and correct spelling may be hard, but it’s way easier than unemployment.

6.  It’s not always about you

Sure, you are hoping your social media presence helps you get a job. But, you can’t always talk about your accomplishments. Give credit to others when applicable. It makes you seem less selfish, more well-rounded and increases your chance to get mentioned by others.

7. Show-off

When you have a chance, showcase your expertise in proper forums. Establish yourself as a knowledgable, credible source.

8. Don’t work blue

You don’t have to pretend you’re in church all the time, but there’s no need for explitives in social media. You’ve got time to think of something more clever and something that employers won’t object to.

9. Plant seeds

The earlier you start the process, the better off you’ll be. You want to be able to allow the process to work, not rush it along. Gradually build yourself up and establish a presence in your field.

10. Stay in the discussion

Even if you aren’t knowledgable about a specific subject, you can still be a part of the conversation. Showing a readiness to learn is important so ask questions.

Social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn can be overwhelming. There are so many users, all looking for a different experience, that it can be difficult to find who and what you’re searching for. Mallory Woodrow has five ways to network better in her post at Forbes.

1. Connect with those with an opinion you value

Next time you’re reading an article or blog post in your area of expertise, note the author and seek them out on social media. Comment on their articles and tweet at them to build your connection.

2. Write your own content

If you have a business and an are of expertise, you must have something relevant to say and share. Write your own articles. You can share them through social media and connect with others who comment and connect with you.

3.  Use Keywords to sift through Twitter

Twitter is utilized everyday by professionals and non-professionals alike. Even your own timeline may be muddled with a range of personalities. So, to get what you’re looking for, search for keywords. Try to narrow it down as much as possible by getting specific.

Once you’ve found some relevant tweets, get in the conversation with some replies.

4. Join LinkedIn Groups

Similarly, you can search for LinkedIn groups on your specific area of expertise. In some cases, you’ll be able to poke around and make sure a certain group is what you’re looking for before you join.

5. Connect with people interested in you

Be sure to check who is viewing your LinkedIn profile about once per week. If someone who’s shown an interest in you is relevant to you, meaning involved in your field or in a position to help you, reach out to them and build a new professional relationship.

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project recently released it’s findings from a phone survey of about 1-thousand US adults. As Matt McGee reports for Marketing Land, the survey aimed to discover who exactly is using various social networking sites. Some of the findings you may have already assumed, such as, Pinterest is dominated by women and those with good, higher paying careers are using LinkedIn. All of the information is valuable, however, so you can tailor messages on specific sites to the demographics that are most often found there.

Facebook

66-percent of Internet users are on Facebook, which is by far the highest percentage of users. Users are fairly evenly distributed between men and women, education level and annual income. The biggest advantage Facebook features is the captivation of older Internet users. 56-percent of those age 50-64 have an account, which makes Facebook the clear top choice for marketing to the older crowd, despite the fact that younger users also flock their.

Twitter

Though Twitter does not hold a large market share of Internet users overall, it is almost entirely populated by well-educated men and women under 50. The annual income data is well dispersed across the spectrum, which sets Twitter apart from LinkedIn.

LinkedIn

As I mentioned earlier, LinkedIn is generally used by successful professionals over the age of 30. Its clientele is made up of 36-percent of Internet users with college degrees and 34-percent of Internet users with an annual salary over $75-thousand. With the exception of Facebook, which posted large percentages in every category thanks to their sheer number of users, LinkedIn is by far the leader in those two categories.

Pinterest

19-percent of female Internet users have a Pinterest account and that number is almost certainly still growing. Though their ages tend to skew younger than 65, you can reach nearly every female group through Pinterest.

Instagram and Tumblr

These image based sites returned data that is remarkably similar. Their users are mostly young, 30 or below, with at least some college experience. Oddly, Instagram features a large number of well-off users, 16-percent of those with a salary above $75 thousand. Tumblr is more evenly dispersed and, if anything, tends to attract those with a salary below $50-thousand per year.

 

A specific question that all business owners with a LinkedIn profile will have to find an answer eventually is, should I accept a LinkedIn invitation from a competitor? Lori Ruff at Integrated Alliances find that the answer is not as simple as yes or no.

Before making your decision, think about your competitor’s reasoning for sending you the invitation. Also, remember your reasons for having a LinkedIn profile to begin with.  If this person doesn’t help you meet your goals and doesn’t offer you any advantages, there’s no reason to connect with them.

However, keep in mind that your competitors likely encounter the same day-to-day problems you do. Afterall, they’re in the same business. Don’t be too hasty when deciding whether to accept that invite.  Down the road, your choice could come back to haunt you.

So, should you accept your competitor’s invitation?  Unfortunately, the answer to this one seems to be a resounding ‘maybe’.