Bringing your business into the world of social media can be overwhelming. There’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube, WordPress, Instagram, Pinterest – and more. Deciding where to invest your time and effort is something you’ll need to figure out. Let’s start with the five most popular sites.
What is it? Facebook is the largest social networking site with over one billion users. Users can create profiles, upload photos and videos, share updates, join groups, and ‘like’ business pages, among other things. As a business, you can create a page to attract fans and update them with photos, events and special offers. One of the great things about Facebook is that it is popular among all ages – from teenagers to seniors.
Should you use it? If your business sells business-to-consumer (B2C), then you can benefit from having a presence on Facebook. Marketing via Facebook can work for a wide range of businesses, but some find it challenging to get a good return-on-investment for the time spent creating online content. Facebook offers a free Insights service, which is first-hand market research. Pay special attention to the trends in your Insights which will tell you the best time to post and what the main and recurring demographics of your followers look like.
What is it? Twitter is a fast-paced social network. Tweets or updates appear in your newsfeed as soon as they are posted, keeping you up-to-date with everything in real-time. Twitter has over 500 million users, making it the second largest social media site.
Should you use it? The main benefit of Twitter is the ability to share current information instantly. If you need to get your message out there quickly, Twitter is the place to be. Twitter users tend to be “information-hungry”, so you can tweet information about your brand and company or industry news as often as you want. Your tweets can only be 140 characters long so you need to be brief. Short tweets tend to get retweeted more. Make sure your profile is complete with a relevant photo and link to your website. Twitter works well for businesses selling B2C and business-to-business (B2B). It is a great place to make new connections and widen your network.
What is it? LinkedIn is used for professional networking. Users can create an online profile, which acts as their professional resume, and ‘connect’ with colleagues, peers and friends to build their network. Businesses can create a company page where they can describe their products and services, as well as provide regular updates. LinkedIn has the third largest user base, after Facebook and Twitter, in the social media world.
Should you use it? Businesses in the professional services industry should use LinkedIn. Since the site is filled with professionals in virtually every industry, you can search and target your preferred client. It is also valuable for recruiting employees and business partners. To increase your exposure on LinkedIn, use keyword-rich summaries and descriptions for your product and services; join groups with like-minded individuals; and interact with other users. Being visible on LinkedIn increases your chances of being remembered or considered for business opportunities.
What is it? Pinterest is a photo-sharing website that allows users to manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests and hobbies. There are over 500,000 business pages on Pinterest and the vast majority of its users are women.
Should you use it? Pinterest works extremely well for product-based companies. Having a product with a strong visual will work wonders on this site. In addition to having a catchy visual, the pins that work the best are those that solve a problem, create a feeling of inspiration, offer something desirable or appeal to a specific interest. The ‘pinning’ and ‘repinning’ features of Pinterest allow content to be spread across the website, which can result in global brand exposure.
What is it? YouTube is a video sharing site owned by Google. Users can upload videos, share content, and engage with the community through ratings, commenting and video sharing.
Should you use it? If you can make a video, you can use YouTube for your business. It is a great way to broadcast content about your company. You can show your viewers exactly what your business is all about through a demo or business pitch. The tagging feature is important as it allows your videos to be found when people search using keywords relevant to your video content.
Before you join any social media site, you need to know who your target customer is. The more you know about the demographics of your audience, the more effective you will be at targeting your online content and reaching them.