Social Media outlets can be a great way to better get the word out there about your business or organization, but with so many options out there, knowing the difference between different types of social media can greatly help your cause. The three main outlets are Blogs, Forums, and Social Networks.

A Blog (a contraction of the word “Web Log”) is a website usually maintained by an individual and sometimes teams, where you write stuff on an ongoing basis. A blog can contain links, videos, images, events, articles, or any number of things. It’s an online diary of sorts in which questions and comments are allowed from users. Blogs are most helpful when talking about your marketplace.

Common places to create a blog are:

A Forum is a meeting place for open discussion of various topics. A forum may also be referred to as a bulletin board or discussion area. Unlike a blog, a forum allows numerous users to write stuff – and for other users to add questions and comments, starting any number of discussions segmented by topic. Many forum users are also respected experts and bloggers in the topics covered in the forum and making a good impression to this audience can help your marketing message spread far and wide. You can use forums by creating one for your own site and opening up discussions or you can participate in the numerous industry specific forums out there to help promote your business.

A Social Network is a social structure made up of individuals or organizations that are tied together by one or more common interest. Social Networks allow users to organize around a person’s relationships or interests, rather than just focused on a certain topic. These are great tools to get people with similar interests together to share information and make new business connections. Not only is social networking great for making new connections, but it’s also a place where new ideas, products and ways of doing things develop.

Common Social Networks to join are:

Now that you know the difference between some common social media outlets, it is important to define who your community is, where they are, and what messages you want to get across to them. From there you can better choose an option that is best for your business or organization.