Ok businesses, Facebook is not the only platform to consider when determining your social media strategy. Yes, I will grant you it's a great starting point, the analytics and the marketing abilities with Facebook is very impressive. However, there are a few other platforms every business needs to consider. I am not going to list them all, and there are no hidden gems in here. You no doubt have heard of them all, but the platforms listed below have the runs on the board and you need to consider them if you are looking at social media marketing.
I touched on Facebook but for those that read this and still aren't sure what Facebook can offer, here is a small synopsis of why Facebook can still claim to be the number one platform for the majority of businesses' social media strategy.
Firstly, if you want to hear it straight from the horses mouth, here is a link from the Facebook page. It's a good read.
Now Facebook is great. When you create your business Facebook page, the support that is provided and the analytics is second to none, Facebook have put a great deal of time into helping you build your online community. You can have conversations with your customers and post important information about your services or products instantly, and then promote it. It's a great tool to funnel people to your website. It also tells you how many people are engaged with your posts and it will prompt you to write something to your community if it has been a while since you posted something.
The only downside to Facebook over the last couple of years is the 'organic reach' of your business page posts. This means that once upon a time, you could post and all your friends or people who like your page would see it in their feed. Those days have passed. It now only shows in some of the feeds of people who choose to follow you. Therefore, your organic reach takes a hit. However, Facebook gives businesses the ability to purchase paid advertising for a reasonable fee. The paid advertising isn't like google's paid advertising where you pay to be put on the first page of search results. Facebook gives you the ability to structure your advertising to:
There are many other categories as well, so if you own a business and haven't made the step, it's time to set up a Facebook page now. After all it's free, and you can't beat free marketing right!
Many businesses I talk too don't really think that Twitter can be a useful tool with a businesses social media marketing strategy. But bear with me as I throw some of these impressive statistics your way:
I actually really like Twitter. For my business it keeps me up to speed with the ever changing world of social media. However, to promote a business's product or service, if done properly it can be used successfully to gain exposure of your product or service to a broad range of people who you have never targeted. Also, it is free! (You can pay to promote and advertise now, but we will cover that in a later blog.)
The greatest thing about twitter is that users go on this platform to gain information. They jump on to see what is trending. They jump on to search a hashtag and get opinions, product knowledge or advice.They also know they can talk directly to and engage with their favourite brands. Businesses can instantly promote their product, service, information, blog or connect with their customers, AND if you can creatively attach a trending hashtag (maximum of two recommended) your message could potentially end up with hundreds of thousands of 'impressions (when a tweet has been delivered to the Twitter stream of an account). Another great thing about twitter (in fact this point also goes for all social media platforms to some extent) is that you can instantly build an email list. Its a little easier on Twitter as it's the platform's culture to follow and be followed.
An example of why I use Twitter is after returning from a client's meeting, I simply tweeted a statement thanking them and tied it into a hashtag which was trending at the time. It was retweeted 17 times. It had 144,000 impressions and 1,770 profile visits. The client also had a spike in their website analytics. Not bad for a tweet which was less than 22 words.
However, one of the downsides to twitter is that your tweet is easily forgotten, information is posted so quickly that in a blink of your eye, your new tweet is an old tweet and may not be seen by many of your followers.
If you have a product that is classed as visual, by that I mean that you sell something that is visually pleasing, like a food product, photography service, fashion or accessories, the list goes on, well basically you need to be on Instagram.
Instagram is getting big and popular by the day and more businesses are turning towards this platform to raise exposure for their products and services. Now Instagram isn't for everyone. If you are an accountant etc, it might be a little hard to properly utilise Instagram. However, if you can post photographs of your end product or service on Instagram and attach a strategic hashtag to it, you could find yourself being inundated with new visits to your website. However, paid advertising is limited and expensive compared to others. This might change soon. Actually I guarantee that advertising will become cheaper and more flexible in the future. I personally like this platform as we are finding that the trend is to post less text and more visual content, and what better platform to use than Instagram.
Still not sure? Here are some impressive stats for you to consider:
That last statistic tells it all, and I wouldn't be surprised if that figure increases, so if you have a visually pleasing product or service, then Instagram is a social media platform you can't afford to ignore.
We mentioned that Instagram may not be the best social media platform for accountants. However Linkedin is definitely a more suitable platform for this and similar industries. If your business is more tailored for Business to Business services then this is your platform. Linkedin can boast that it is the world's largest professional network. It is a great mechanism to build your client base, participate in forums linked to your industry and, therefore, promoting networking opportunities.
Linkedin is also a great vehicle to source partnerships and relationships. This mechanism is useful if you want to test a new product or service with your peers. I have found that similar people in your industry are more than happy to offer advice and even promote or disseminate to their clients on your behalf.
Here are some impressive statistics for Linkedin:
I always thought Pinterest was a site that people posted recipes, herbal therapies and great ideas. Yes, it is great for this but it is also an extremely useful tool for business.
Pinterest is a visual centric social media platform like Instagram. However, Pinterest is quickly turning heads as a marketing avenue for businesses with features like profile pages, advanced search, Rich Pins and Promoted Pins. It has been around a while and although it doesn't pull in the figures like Pinterest's big brothers in the field, it is closing the gap. There are some amazing business profiles on there sharing information about their products and services.
One of the advantages for Pinterest, which shows in the statistics, is that around 75% of users access this social media platform by a mobile device. This is pretty impressive and highlights the importance of having a mobile responsive website. Remember the whole aim of social media management is to 'funnel' traffic to your website.
What you can do on Pinterest is pretty amazing. Again like Instagram, if you have a visual pleasing product or service, Pinterest is a must do. Here are some stats to consider:
Just looking at the title of this social media platform suggests 'trust'. I know that Google+ is used as a corporate Facebook, such as how Yammer is used. Also, if you are serious about SEO for your business website you will know how important it is to have a google+ account to enhance your page rank on google. However, Google+ can be a great marketing tool as it's user's demographics are a little different to other social media platforms.
The number one advantage that google+ has over it's rivals is that Google+ content itself, which is the content you post to your page, can rank in search engine results on occasions where your website may not. This is due to the fact that each post has it's very own URL. This is incredibly useful as it could be an article, blog, product description or details about a service that you offer, and if someone is searching for something similar through google, it will show in the feed. No other platform that I am aware of does this. Social media platforms such as Facebook and twitter will come up in a search feed only if you have searched the name of a business.It wont show any posts or articles that you have posted. This is a big tick for google+.
Another big tick for google+ is that it is listening to it's users and always trying to utilise the best features from all the social media platforms. Google+ is also following the lead of Instagram and Pinterest by building functionality towards more visibly engaging information.
Here are some interesting facts about Google+
So there you have it. There are other social media platforms out there. However, the ones above are the main players in social media marketing for now. There are some snapping at their heals though, and I'm sure by the time I update this blog their will be others that I have to list due to their popularity and usefulness.
Hopefully this article will help you out a little regarding which social media platforms you need to consider. Just remember, if you plan to do it yourself, it might be best to pick one or two that you think best will suit your social media marketing strategy. To do it right takes time, instead of spreading yourself thinly across all, its best to focus on one or two. The other option is to get someone to look after the social media for you.. hint hint :)