Which Social Media Platforms Should My Business Be On?
Social media has changed the way businesses of all sizes communicate with their customers. These platforms allow a business to connect directly with potential customers and start a personal conversation. You can target a specific group of people based on demographics, common interests and online behaviour. This targeted promotion and advertising means you can reach those who are most likely to be interested and do so in a cost effective way. It has completely changed the game of advertising.
One question we receive often is, "Which of these social media platforms should I be focusing my time on?". The answer to this question will depend on your customers. Social media can be quite time consuming so as a general rule, we recommend being active on no more than 3 platforms. This way you don't risk spreading yourself too thin. We will go over the basics of each of the main social media platforms and provide some tips on how you can use each of these for your business.
With over 2 billion monthly users, Facebook is by far the largest of the social media platforms. Everyone from young children to senior citizens from all over the world are on Facebook. With such a large and diverse user base, it is essential for every business to be active on Facebook. You can post any type of content on Facebook and it collects more information on its users than any other platform, meaning you can use it to target very specific groups of people through boosted posts and ad campaigns.
Tip: Write an informative article/blog post on your website and post a link to it on your Facebook business page. Then promote the post using the "boost" option and choose to show it to people who have similar characteristics to your customers (e.g. location, age group, gender).
Instagram is an image and video sharing service with 700 million monthly users. It is primarily used from a mobile device and although it was originally only popular among younger users, it has doubled its user base over the last 2 years and is now used by a much wider age group. Due to the focus on images and short videos, Instagram will not be useful for all businesses, however it is the best platform for any business that uses great visuals to sell their products/services. Customers can find you if you use hashtags strategically.
Tip: Take some bright and fun photos of your workplace and post this to your business Instagram account. This will help create a personal connection between your business and customers. To maximise your potential reach, don't forget to comment on your post with up to 30 relevant hashtags.
Twitter currently has around 330 million monthly users. Users can "tweet" text (up to 140 characters, soon to be 280), images and videos. The appeal of Twitter lies in its "first to know" setup. When someone logs into Twitter they will see the most recent tweets first. This is useful if your customers require information as soon as it is available, however Twitter will not be useful for most businesses.
Tip: Post real time updates such as a "flash sale" promotion. Your tweet will not be reaching many people after the first few hours so be sure to push a sense of urgency here.
Although it is technically a video sharing service, Youtube has the ability for users to create accounts, post videos and comment on other videos. With 1.5 billion monthly users, Youtube is essential for any business that uses videos. This can be video ads, vlogs, general updates or just about any other type of video that your customers might find helpful or interesting.
Tip: Film yourself (or one of your staff) giving some great info on your industry. Make sure the info is helpful to your potential customers and will help them make a decision on whether your product/service is right for them. You can pay to promote the video to users who use specific search words.
Snapchat is known for inventing creative and fun ways to communicate with others. It allows you to send a photo or video message directly to a user or group of users that deletes itself after it has been viewed. This can mean the user will pay much closer attention to the message as they know it won't be viewable again. The jury is still out on whether Snapchat can help a business grow.
Tip: If you have any discounted products/services, take a photo/video and send it to your followers. This works best when there is a sense of urgency.
Pinterest is a niche social media platform and you can think of it as an online scrapbook with 200 million users. If your business is in design or any other creative/artistic field, Pinterest can be a great way to show off your work. Think of it as a portfolio of your creativity. You can also use it to "pin" work from others as inspiration. This can be a great way to find out if your customers will be interested in something before you go ahead and create it.
Tip: Compile all the best and most creative work you have done and throw it all on Pinterest. Show everyone how creative and unique your business is.
LinkedIn is perfect for any business with dealings in the corporate world. It is basically an online resume for 100 million people. It can be a very effective way to find specific people that you might be looking to hire or just to contact for business reasons. At the very least, we recommend creating a business account on LinkedIn and checking it at least once a week.
Tip: Post a relevant industry article every week to educate your potential customers on the benefits of your product/service.
Once you have decided which platforms are best for your business and established an online presence, you can begin using social media to bring in new customers. This is done by creating a sales funnel that keeps the conversation going with potential customers and nurtures that relationship until they become loyal customers. The below diagram gives a brief outline of each step in this incredibly effective process.