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The low barrier to entry when joining social media sites makes them very alluring to small business owners looking for low-cost effective advertising. The reality of content strategy and social media management rarely occurs to an entrepreneur as they spend an evening clicking through signup pages on half a dozen web 2.0 sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Flickr. Once signed up for these services, they end up providing little more than profile backlinks for the business. While backlinks are great for SEO, being overwhelmed by social media is not. Our advice to starry-eyed web business owners is that yes, you should engage in social media, but you should only invest your resources in the networks that you're certain your customers are using. Let's first agree that the relevant social media networks to businesses are:
  1. Twitter
  2. Facebook
  3. LinkedIn
  4. YouTube
  5. and Blogs (Blogger & WordPress)
To determine which is the most relevant network, search the above networks for your niche keywords, ask your customers what they use, and engage in some common sense. For us, I know that Twitter is the most active, YouTube has had the greatest return on investment, and LinkedIn has resulted in affiliate partnerships.