Taking part in social media can be a great way to build new connections, promote your business or stay engaged with the online social world. So, with which social media sites should you sign up?
By the end of 2014, Facebook had a monthly visitor rate of 1.35 billion people globally. Setting up a Facebook profile is simple, requiring your name, a password, profile photo and an email address. After that, you can add your age, the city in which you live, your favourite movies and musicians. You can ‘like’ pages from companies, brands, publications and people, to stay informed with them. But Facebook is mostly all about your ‘friends’. By adding friends and family on Facebook, you can stay in touch with them by writing on their ‘wall’, sending messages and seeing any photos, videos or statuses they post. Facebook is a great all-round social media site, and it’s perfect for those who want to keep in touch with lots of people at the same time, and share their own experiences in life.
Get started on Facebook.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social media website that allows users to write and post status updates or ‘tweets’ of up to 140 characters. You can add URL links, photos and videos. Tweets can be organised and searched for via hashtags – e.g. #worldcup. To set up a Twitter account, you’ll need a ‘handle’ or username – e.g. @polly1951, a password, a profile photo and a short bio. Twitter differs from Facebook in that users ‘follow’ each other, so that their tweets appear in your ‘feed’. The emphasis on Twitter is to gain followers by tweeting in an interesting or comical way. In this way, Twitter is an excellent tool for people seeking to build a public profile, promote their business or stay in touch with political and/or popular culture.
More about getting started on Twitter.
If taking photos appeals to you more than writing status updates, then Instagram is the tool for you. It works similarly to Twitter, except the emphasis is on using your smartphone to take photos and videos and uploading them for your followers. Instagram encourages users to play with photography by using coloured ‘filters’ to modify photos. You can add captions to your photos and videos, as on Twitter, and categorise them with hashtags to make them easier for followers to find. Instagram links with other social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, so you can share your photographs there as well. It is a fun and simple way to be creative and catalogue moments in your daily life, which you can share with friends.
More about getting started on Instagram.
Pinterest has over 70 million users worldwide. On Pinterest, users can upload, save, sort, and manage images or ‘pins’, as well as videos and images, through collections known as pinboards. Pinboards can be sorted into categories, such as ‘art & craft’ and ‘recipes’, so that your followers can navigate your content easily. You can also view them as vision boards. If you’re browsing someone else’s pinboard and see a photo that you like, you can save it by liking it or ‘repinning it’ to one of your pinboards for your followers to see. To get started with Pinetrest, you’ll need to link either your Facebook or Twitter accounts. Pintrest is a useful tool for creative-types who like seeing products other people and companies are making, and people who enjoy photography, as well as planning events such as weddings and house building – where you pin images that inspire you for your project.
Get started on Pinterest.