Facebook –
The world’s most popular social networking site, currently clocking in at 800 million users. While pages (those used by brands) still have some limitations not found in personal profiles (those used by individuals), it is widely believed to be the most effective way to reach consumers.

Twitter – Bringing mini-blogging to the masses in the form of 140 character updates. Twitter’s brevity encourages instant information which businesses can parlay into on-the-scene updates to connect to their audience.

Google Plus – Google’s foray into social media, still a very new platform but growing fast. It recently allowed the creation of brand pages, allowing marketers to stake their claim in this latest piece of the internet pie.

Tumblr – A fully customizable blog hosting platform allowing users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio. The platform is also network heavy, encouraging users to “like” and “reblog” other users’ postings.

YouTube – The world’s foremost video sharing site. Businesses can use their own profile to share self-produced videos with an audience, as well as curate their favorite videos from around the web.

Pinterest –
The newest and most rapidly rising social platform, Pinterest is a visually-based internet pinboard that allows users to create and curate photo collections which they can share with their followers and friends. For business, the images easily link to an external site, encouraging users to purchase items they’ve expressed interest in.

Instagram –
An iPhone-only app which enables users to take photos, apply a color filter and then share the photo to their social network of choice. Users can also rate photos, enabling the most popular snapshots to gain their own internet notoriety.

StumbleUpon – A type of web search engine that recommends internet content to users, who are encouraged to discover and subsequently rate those suggestions (which have been personalized using the individual’s postings on other social media platforms).

Yelp –
The local business search site has turned to social networking, allowing its users to rate and review their experience at any and all establishments. Most recently unveiled Yelp Deals, tapping into the bulk buying market made popular by Groupon and Gilt Groupe.

Foursquare –
Location-based social networking exclusive to mobile devices. Users “check in” at an establishment using their smartphone’s GPS capabilities. Businesses can encourage checking in by offering coupons or discounts, which are unlocked by consumers via the app.

Google Places –
Local platform from the mega search engine that allows businesses to upload photos, videos and descriptions telling consumers about themselves. The information pops up when one searches for a type of business in a particular area.