Social media has taken the world by storm. With each year it seems a new platform is gaining buzz. But how do you decide which medium is best for certain goals? Here’s an alliterative way I think about these social media channels, each of which has a focus on a particular niche.

Let’s look at the top five social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Each of them has a unique focus on either People, Personalities, Passions, Pictures, or Profession.

  • Facebook — People is Facebook’s focus. Friends you know, relatives — folks you know in real life! The perfect place to post pictures of your cat and photos of what you had for dinner.
  • Twitter — Personalities is what differentiates Twitter from Facebook. While you can follow and communicate with friends you know in real life, where Twitter really shines is when you follow people you don’t know. Celebrities, news organizations, thought leaders, product brands — these are the virtual people and organizations which you can follow and get mega-short posts which are easy and quick to scan. If you’re interested, twitter links often include a URL shortener likely Bit.ly to provide a link for more information.
  • Google+ — Passions is what distinguishes this smaller but still significant media platform. Google+ is a combination of a traditional social media platform with integration with other Google products such as Youtube. Passions are the hobbies and interest groups you love. While traditional proprietary forums are on the decline, Google+ is a great platform to connect with others who share your passion, be it mountain climbing, table-top roleplaying, fantasy writing or lovers of J. R. R. Tolkien’s works.
  • Pinterest — Pictures is what drives this platform. It’s essentially a fashion and recipe haven, skewing heavily female. Instead of buying a print magazine at the grocery store, pull up Pinterest on your mobile device and you can be browsing magazine-style craft how-to pictures and the latest fashions. Share your favorites with your friends.
  • LinkedIn — Profession is the focus of this platform. At its core its your resume online, but its actually much more than that. It’s a way to network with others in your business community, and a way to find career opportunities much like Monster.com.

So how does this influence Content Marketing? Each platform has distinctives which will drive your content strategy.

  • Facebook Ideas — Find or start a Facebook group which matches the affinity of your target audience. Post non-commercial content with distinctive value to that communities interests.
  • Twitter Ideas — Find social influencers — celebrities or industry luminaries with a large following — and solicit them to post about your product. CleverGirls (www.clevergirlscollective.com/) is a great paid forum which has a large network of influencers who can spread the word about the content you’re promoting.
  • Google+ — Find or start a Google+ group which matches the affinity of your target audience. Post non-commercial content with distinctive value to that communities interests.
  • Pinterest — Post pictures of general interest to your target audience. Consider contests to promote sharing of your content.
  • LinkedIn — Write blog posts and post them to the LinkedIn Publishing Platform (see details here). Start a LinkedIn group (see details here) dedicated to a special interest topic.

Beyond this, you’ll want to make all your content shareable by having Social Media share icons on each post. Also consider click-to-tweet features on your blog (for example, using this WordPress plugin) to make it easy to share memorable quotes from your content on Twitter or other social media.