Here’s one thing I know for sure: the social landscape is vast. There are new social networks popping up every day and it’s difficult to not only keep up, but also to figure out what networks you should be on. It’s no secret that social media is a significant time sink, and putting your energy into an avenue that isn’t right for your business can be a gigantic waste of time.

But wait! Magpie is here to give you a quick primer on which networks are established and good places to spend your social media time.

Facebook

Surprised? No, probably not. With a billion users, Facebook is not only where your clients or customers are spending their time, but also where most people turn first to find a business or service they need. The catch here is that those people are finding out what they want to buy and where they want to shop from their friends. This means you need to be there, look professional and be active.

Twitter

This one seems like a given, but it’s not. Not every business should be on Twitter, but for artists it is a big part of the social media picture. Twitter is about short bursts of text, which means it’s easy to do, which also means thousands of people do it. Twitter is the place to put your personality on display, which makes your followers feel like they have premium access to you. Direct Messages, re-tweets and favourites go a long way to engaging your fan base. (Seriously, if I had a dollar for every time someone said, “OMG! So & so retweeted me! It was sooo awesome!!” I’d be retired by now.)

Pinterest

Pinterest has been quietly becoming the place to be these days, and for artists the impact cannot be underestimated. The visual nature of this social network allows for the showing off of great work, personal bits (such as what inspires you) and even selling products.

Linked In

Linked In doesn’t seem like the place for artists to be, but it really is. Linked In is a professional network, which means that if you’re there, you’re a professional. Regardless of who you are or the kind of art you make, you can always benefit from showing off your credentials and where you’ve come from. Keeping your Linked In profile up to date and populated with your blog posts can lead to opportunities you never thought possible.

Google+

You probably don’t use Google+ and you probably don’t know anyone who does. That said, this network is hugely important because it keeps Google happy. Having your own profile (and if you have a Gmail account, you have a Google+ account whether you want one or not) and your business on Google + will help your search engine rankings hugely.

Other Networks

The “Other Networks” portion of social media is about two things: link building and exposure. You will need a StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious account to share your blog posts to (provided you have a blog, of course). You do not need to be active on these networks, but you do need to have them, and you do need to share to them.

Okay, so now that you know what networks you should be using, come back next Monday when we will be talking about how to set up your Facebook page and, better yet, what the heck to do with it!