Now that that is out of the way we can get down to business.
It amazes me, but I have been an active user of social media for the last 10 years. I haven't kept track of this, but I suspect that there hasn't been a day in my adult life where social media has been completely absent. When Facebook first appeared on the scene I was using it for internet dating: at one point I added every girl on Texas Tech's campus whose name was Holly. Back then, before Facebook became obsessed with advertising revenue and Ruining Everything, it was easy to add friends and people were excited to talk to you. These days I can't even find anyone I know because all of their profiles are set to private out of the fear that Facebook's robots, the NSA or even a potential employer could snoop, judge and condemn.
Social media is here to stay for better or for worse, in sickness and in health as long as we shall live and then probably significantly longer. As I'm writing this, there are easily 25 major social media networks, but as there are only four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, we have to pick and choose.
Donatello was my favorite Turtle for most of my life, though he's currently a close second in my lineup. My love for Donatello caused purple to be my favorite color for a few years, even spurring me to carry a purple backpack for most of elementary school.
In case you've been living under a rock (or in a sewer) for the last 30 years, Donatello is the techie of the group. He uses and invents machinery and prefers to use cunning over brawn. Even his weapon, the bō staff, was likely used by workers to carry and balance items (sort of like a barbell when you do a squat at the gym) and was only used as a weapon as a last resort.
Likewise, Google+ is techie haven. The sheer force of its SEO benefits, nerdy groups and technical utility should leave no one in doubt that it's a true powerhouse. At the same time, it has about 15-20% of the active users that Facebook has, so it just doesn't have the same mass appeal. I think a large part of this is the sensationalization of Facebook in news and media, but it's also due to Google+ much shorter tenure in the social network landscape.
The one takeaway from Google+ that you can't afford to subtract: Make sure you add the rel=author tag on your blog. This allows your blog to link back to Google+ which is important for the marginal SEO you can pick up that way, but also because it allows your picture to display in Google search results. Naturally, you'll want to make sure that your picture is a clear headshot or an engaging photo, but that's a post for a different day.
Now, if you haven't already, add Kyle on Google+.
If you weren't aware, Michelangelo is a party dude. I've always liked Michelangelo, but he's my third favorite Turtle largely because of his obsession with pizza and his relative lack of character development. That being said, Michelangelo's nunchakus are my favorite weapon.
Similarly, Pinterest is an amazingly fun resource and a social media marketing bazooka. One of the best tips for both Michelangelo and Pinterest is the mullet principle: keep your business in the front and the party in the back.
The one takeaway from Pinterest that should spark your interest: Out of all the social media networks, Pinterest is where many brands get led astray. Had Michelangelo went to college, with his surfer swagger we can pretty much bet that he'd be smoking a lot of weed and not going to class as tentatively as Donatello might have. There's nothing wrong with cutting loose every once in a while but you should keep your eye on the prize. Pinterest is the best place to engage with your audience visually--if you don't know how to create or share compelling visual content you will face an uphill battle on Pinterest. To draw an analogy: if you don't really engage Pinterest it's sort of like a geeky programmer trying to fast dance. You'll get laughs but not the laughs you want.
Put pin to paper and follow Cake on Pinterest.
It's not even close: Leonardo has always been my least favorite of the Turtles. I have had a distaste for authority pretty much my whole life, so it's no surprise that I find Leonardo irritating. Every time Mikey or Raph are having a good time, Leo ruins it. His "responsibility" annoys the bejeezus out of me, especially when he orders Donatello around even though Donatello is the brains behind this whole operation.
One of the things that irritates me most about Leonardo is that he has SWORDS while Mikey and Donatello have freakin sticks. It's just not a fair distribution of weaponry and he never acknowledges his outrageous advantage, instead preferring to order people around.
Facebook is basically the same (is their selection of that color blue even an accident!?!?!?). Since it's the oldest of the four social media networks, it's only natural that it takes on the annoying leadership habit of the oldest Turtle. In case you haven't read the blog before, here are some more Feelings about Facebook.
Facebook, like Leonardo, is a necessary but obnoxious reality. It's the least creative of all of the social media channels and seems to have it's own agenda, constantly interfering with everything you enjoy about life. However, like Leonardo, you shouldn't be afraid to give orders occasionally and make sure that the job gets done.
The single most important thing you can do on Facebook is to post regular, consistent content. This isn't as sexy as the other recommendations for social media best practices, but it's crucial. You just have to do it and keep on keeping on.
Face the facts: like Cake on Facebook.
Raphael is the best Turtle. This isn't an opinion, it's really just fact. Disagree? That's why god made the comments box.
Raphael's sai are primarily used to block attacks from swords, i.e. Leonardo, and even Raph's weaponry gives Leo the finger. Raphael is the antithesis to Leonardo in many ways, primarily in that he's not a manipulative jerk and has some existential crises he'll work through on his own instead of ordering everyone else around like a goober. Fitting for its "cool but rude" personality, Twitter launched into the public sphere at SXSW in 2007.
For most people (and brands) Twitter is the most difficult social network to know. It has weird character constraints and all of these conventions that seem impossible to deal with at first. But like most delightful things in life, Twitter is an acquired taste that develops into a love affair as you put in more effort and time.
The greatest little secret about Twitter is that there are truly incredible analytics software suites built around it. HootSuite, Buffer, HubSpot and tons of other social media softwares rely upon inputs from Twitter. With effort and dedication, Twitter is the single most powerful network on the internet for you. Beyond that, it just happens to be a whole lot of fun.
Twitter is all about reinforcing your brand and knowing yourself, just like Raphael. Because Twitter users are used to being flooded with content, you can experiment with what works and not damage your brand as much if you make a mistake like on other networks. Likewise, the availability of FREE tools that provide truly staggering data will astound you. It sounds like I'm overselling Twitter, but I'm not. It's amazing and if you and/or your business aren't on Twitter you're going to regret it in the future.
Don't miss your own birthday party. Follow Cake on Twitter.
While you might not be Hamato Yoshi on all the aspects of every social network, you're probably at least a foot soldier in service of the great Technodrome. With some practice, you can probably become Bebop or Rocksteady. If you're inclined toward evil, set Krang as your role model.
Lastly, here's a video of an amazing guitarist playing a metal ode to the soundtrack of my childhood: