By Stephen Given, firstname.lastname@example.org
By now, most businesses know that they should be using social media to promote themselves. What they may not know is which platform(s) they should use or how to use social media most effectively. There are literally dozens of social media sites and apps. Each has its own audience and expectations. Below are the current top five platforms and suggestions on how to best use them.
This behemoth of a social media site has an estimated 900 million unique monthly visitors. Facebook covers all demographics including those over 65 years old. However, this makes targeting difficult. Unless your posts are very popular, they will likely be drowned out by the constant flow of your follower’s friends and liked pages. Still, Facebook is a great place to engage people with comments and pictures. You can also view analytical information about your page in order to improve. Keep your page interesting by posting pictures, videos, and links to articles with good thumbnail pictures. Make sure to read your reviews and respond to them to keep positive relations with your customers.
Twitter has grown massively since 2006 to being the second largest social media site with 310 million estimated unique monthly visitors. Twitter is where the conversations are starting. Many people now use Twitter to get their news. Like Facebook, your message can go unnoticed around the millions of tweets sent out everyday. However, you can break through the noise by using relevant hashtags (#’s) or by tweeting directly to people (@). Twitter is a great place to post links and share new ideas. It also makes you more accessible since people can directly interact with your account.
This networking site is not meant solely for connecting and finding jobs (while it is still very handy at that). Regardless of your business type, your company should have a LinkedIn profile. Not only does it help in recruiting and connecting with like minded professionals, but it also allows you to engage with LinkedIn groups by sharing meaningful content, give a detailed description of your company, and showcase your services and products. LinkedIn has a very professional feel to it. It will give you opportunities to engage in more serious conversations.
Do you have tons of eye-catching pictures to show your followers? Do you promote DIY projects? Consider starting a Pinterest account. Pinterest is the 4th largest social media site with an estimated 255 million unique monthly visits. Pinterest offers a great platform to share your interests but it is not meant for all types of businesses. Be sure to tell your followers to find you on Pinterest. Start your own account and you will quickly find the trending things here.
If you have a Google account, you have a Google+ account as well. The more you take advantage of it, the more you will benefit from it. Google+ is all about building new relationships and connecting with the things you love. Being a part of Google+ brings your company more attention from the search engine which makes your company appear higher on Google search results. You can group connections into circles and post to those circles exclusively which improves target marketing. The visual appeal and layout of the platform makes it great to post pictures or videos.
This is a must have for businesses that have a lot of images to share. Instagram is especially popular with women (68% of Instagram users are women) and those under 35 years old. Having quality images is key here. Like Twitter, you can increase search results through hashtags and you can interact directly with people using @.
Managing social media accounts takes time and a great deal of creativity. Some agencies offer their services to manage these accounts which eases the burden off your shoulders. Maintaining a good presence on social media greatly affects the image of your company as well as your accessibility.
Photo by Jason Howie on Flickr