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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’.