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In: Social Media

Social media web sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are ever growing in popularity. Most everyone has a Facebook account with which you re-connect with friends and family and share thoughts, opinions, and pictures to name just a few features and do not forget about all those games they offer. That's the personal side; however, social media has a lot to offer for the business side.

Facebook is by far the most active social media site having more than 400 million active users . People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook. Facebook has several good networking and marketing options for anyone who is starting or has a business.

Create or Join a Facebook Group
There are several million groups that have been created on Facebook. Do a search on bodyguard, security or executive protection. Join them those groups that are active and relative to the business. Participate in them. Glean from these groups all you can. Make contacts with others in the group.

Do not Mix Business with Pleasure
Create a separate Facebook account specifically for marketing your services and business.

Create Your own Facebook Ad
I know that they can sometimes be annoying, just like Google; Facebook offers you the ability to create an ad for as little as $ 1.00 per day.

Create a Fan Page
A Fan page is great way to communicate to Facebook users who are interested in your services or your products. It is a must have in my opinion.

Twitter is another social networking service and unlike Facebook, you can communicate not just to people who "follow" you but to everyone with Twitter. Also unlike Facebook your updates or messages called "tweets", can not be longer than 140 characters and can only contain text. Twitter includes a search for you to find people or businesses that you are interested in and follow them however; people are not obliged to follow you.

LinkedIn is a pure business professional social medium. You can create an online resume and connect with peers in current or past occupations. You can also search and join professional groups for networking. LinkedIn is not as large as Twitter or Facebook but it is getting more popular. You can attach your Twitter or WordPress accounts directly to your LinkedIn profile. You can seek out new connections and build your network.

If you have a penchant for writing and what to share with the public at large about your experiences in the business or how you got in the business or your likes and dislikes about the latest gizmo then blogs are for you. Blogger and WordPress are free and are easy to use. If you can not afford the expenses of owning a website with a domain then start a blog. The more your content grows the higher your visibility in search engines and the more recognition you'll receive. You'll start to grow a following which will create a good network.

Here are the problems with blogs. You are only as successful as your content and the frequency in which you post. You have to post to your blog at least once a day and the content must be original and offer your opinion.

What social media will work for my business?
Now the question you have to ask is what will work for my business? Should I use LinkedIn and Twitter, or the blog and Facebook? Well the good news is that they are all free and quite popular. The bad news is you'll have to figure out which social media presence that works best for your business or organization.

In my opinion you should use all of them to some degree. Some people might disagree with me here but I feel LinkedIn is an absolute must. If you are just starting out in business or have had a successful career LinkedIn is my first stop.

Facebook would be my second choice. Although you will start with primarily family and friends – promote you and your business and market your fan page .

Next would be Twitter. Start following businesses and beware of spammers looking to follow you. Post something on Twitter at least once a week. Last would be a blog. Blogs are time consuming and if your heart is not in it you will not get any value out of it.

One last thing: these are SOCIAL media web sites . So go and be social, be engaging, share information, opinions and network with others. You get what you put into it.