A quick post about the audience found at each of the major US social networking sites to share how they can work for you!  Each of the major social networking sites has developed its own niche, audience and purpose.  Use social media to reach an audience that cares so you don’t upset your potential customers or waste your effort.

MySpace has developed into a kind of hip culture site that is ripe with music, art and pop news.  The home page for MySpace connects up to hulu, has music info on it and other popular media.  If you are looking for people who are into music, who are interested in connecting and finding this pop and artistic, then MySpace is a good spot to do that.  Most of the clients that I know who use MySpace to connect to their customers are dance clubs, social venues, musicians and other artists.

LinkedIn is a much more professionally oriented service, in fact, their home page talks about creating a career fast-track and getting more out of your professional network.  LinkedIn provides tools to connect with business professionals, provide references, promote services and so forth.  Its great if you want to connect with and promote to business professionals.

Facebook is a fairly generic social media resource and it has a huge audience.  Most of Facebook is used to connect and promote around our own lives; major events, projects and relationships.  There are games and resources for having fun, but in my experience, Facebook is mostly about being able to publicize who you are, who you know, and what you like.  Its a great place to build and manage a natural network; the friends, family and associates you know, and if you have a product or service that is appropriate to present to family and friends, this is a good spot.

Twitter is all about small burst information on a wide range of subjects, thus has a wide audience.  With Twitter, its about building up connections with your networks, connections that are interested in quick updates and advice from you.  With Twitter, your emphasis ought to be what you offer and whether or not you can build an audience that’s interested.  If you can find an audience interested in your professional advice, news tips and other quick notes then you should try using Twitter.  There are some good courses out there about using Twitter, like the one my sister Payson Cooper put together.

As with pretty much any marketing effort, using social media appropriately is all about understanding who you are trying to reach, where they hang out, and articulating what you can offer them.