Beginner's Guide to Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms for Your Business
I've been attending some networking events this week which is what has inspired me for this week's blog. When I bring up social media and ask what someone is doing for social media and generally I hear, "Oh, you know, I have a Facebook page. That's all I need." But they are WRONG! Well, obviously a Facebook page is a staple to set up for any business... but they could be reaching so many more people by branching out into other social media platforms. I know it's scary and I know it can be hard to learn how to use a different platform and branch out of that comfort zone, but if helps increase your brand awareness, reach more people and possibly gain a few more leads... it's worth trying, right?
There are tons of social media platforms out there right now, but many people don't know what each one is actually used for or how it may help them with their business. Today, I'm only going to break down the core social media favourites so I don't overwhelm TOO many people.
With Twitter, you can share short text updates (of 140 characters or fewer), along with videos, images, links, polls and more. You can also easily interact with other users by mentioning their usernames in your posts, so Twitter is a great way to quickly connect with people all around the world.
Twitter averages about 328 million active users worldwide and is one of the top 10 websites in the United States. Because of its wide reach, this platform is not only a great way to market your business, but also an effective channel for handling customer service. For example, if you maintain an active Twitter presence, customers who are also active on the platform will seek you out to express concerns or share their praise.
If you have interesting content, Twitter is also a great tool for quickly spreading the word. Retweeting and sharing other users' content is incredibly simple. Hashtags help boost posts, and if a user with a lot of followers retweets you, your content has the potential to go viral. But with Twitter, it's important to remember to find balance. Don't simply share your own links or media; instead, make sure you are also sharing a lot of interesting, relevant content from other Twitter users and from around the web so your audience doesn't think you care only about what your business is doing.
This visually oriented platform allows users to save and display content by "pinning" digital bulletin boards, which can be organized by category. For example, a personal user might have a food board dedicated to pinning recipes, another board dedicated to photography, and so on. The platform also has a series of special types of pins called Rich Pins, which brands can use to add special information to their pins, like product details and even location maps.
Every pin includes an image or video, and like Facebook, it is fairly low-maintenance in terms of post frequency. However, keeping your boards organized and search-friendly can be time-consuming. It's also more of a niche network than Facebook or Twitter, so it may not work for everyone. Popular categories on the site are DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography and food. That's not to say that businesses outside of these categories can't succeed on the platform, but it does make Pinterest an especially good marketing tool for businesses in those areas.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is a visual social media platform based entirely on photo and video posts. The Facebook-owned network has more than 700 million active users, many of whom post about food, art, travel, fashion and similar subjects. Instagram is distinguished by its unique filters and photo- and video-editing options. It's important to note that this platform is almost entirely mobile: You can't take photos or create new posts on the desktop version.
More artistic niches tend to excel on Instagram, and it may not be the best fit for your business, depending on your industry. Regardless, it's important that the person running your account have a good eye for detail and at least basic photography skills so the photos and videos posted to your account are high-quality.
Don't be discouraged if your industry is underrepresented on Instagram; if you can find the right hashtags to latch onto and post intriguing photos, you will most likely make it work.
Snapchat is another mobile-only visual social media network that's known for its disappearing content. The 150 million-plus app users can send videos and photos, available for up to 10 seconds at a time, to one another, or post content to their public Stories, which disappears after 24 hours. Over the past five years, the app has expanded to include chat, messaging, image storage, events and media content. Now, content can easily be saved and uploaded elsewhere.
Because posts are so temporary, there is less pressure to create super-polished content. You can also see how many and which specific users viewed your story. A small business will mostly likely utilize the platform for its Stories, but keep in mind that only users who have added you can view the story content. However, once you have an audience, the story feature allows you to easily create story-driven and interactive content.
YouTube is a video-sharing platform with over a billion users, where people can view, upload, rate, share and comment on content. Now owned by Google, the site is a huge hub for news and entertainment.
Created over a decade ago, YouTube has gone through numerous changes. For instance, users can now make money from Google AdSense, with the revenue dependent on the number of views on a video.
Many businesses on YouTube have a creative, visual or educational component. The platform is heavily driven by creativity in nature, so it's important to have a tailored video editor producing content. However, your business doesn't need a channel to market on the platform. There's a subculture of vloggers called YouTubers who publish frequent videos and often maintain large audiences. Often, businesses partner with YouTubers for product placement, because these users already have engaged audiences.
If you're head is still spinning after reviewing how these social media platforms are used and how each one is unique, that's where I come in. I can help explain these platforms in more depth and answer any questions you might have on which would be more beneficial to your business. Also, if you'd like to be on more than one social media networking site but know you won't have time to manage it all, I can take all that off your hands by managing all your sites, the content, engagement with audiences and so much more. For a list of my services, please check out this link: www.boldsocialstrategies.com/services.