Are you asking yourself, “Which social media networks should i use for my business?”
With so many to choose from, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by choice!
Below is a basic overview of some of some of the more popular social media networks you have to choose from and the opportunities they can provide for your business.
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Which Social Media Networks Should I Use For My Business?
Facebook is the world’s most popular social media networking site. Facebook allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and videos, broadcast live videos, create events, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. Each profile has a personal Timeline that is a historical record of content posted to Facebook specifically to them over time.
Facebook makes it easy for people to connect and share stories with family and friends. People make ‘friends’ with people, ‘like’ Pages (organisations) and ‘join’ groups and events.
Most people access the stories shared by their Friends, Groups and Pages Liked via their unique “newsfeed”. The content in a user’s newsfeed moves quickly and is subject to Facebook’s algorithm. So to gain maximum reach and engagement, businesses need to be continually posting new, valuable, relevant, engaging content on a regular and ongoing basis.
Public content can be easily “Shared”, making it possible for content to go viral within the platform.
Facebook Pages provide a great place to develop a community around a business through reciprocal communication between a business and it’s audience. Facebook Pages can be used by businesses to add value to their community by sharing news, stories, events and information, as well as providing offers, gaining email opt-ins, nurturing relationships and converting to sales, both directly and indirectly.
Some Facebook content, such as the videos posted to a Page, can be embedded on websites to further increase reach and engagement.
Facebook users expect answers to their questions, complaints and comments in a timely fashion. Therefore, Page notifications should be actively monitored regularly for potential engagement and customer service opportunities.
When people engage with content on Facebook, they are indicating an interest or connection with the Person, Page, Event or content being shared. Facebook collects this and other personal data and makes it available for use by businesses. Page specific data is available through Page insights. However, the real power of this data comes in the form of highly targeted advertising opportunities for businesses within the Facebook platform.
The shear number of people that are active users of Facebook, combined with the opportunities to target your ideal customers makes Facebook an incredibly powerful marketing tool if used effectively.
YouTube is the number two search engine in the world, behind Google. Although owned by Google and integrated within Google+, YouTube is still recognized as a separate social network and one that revolves entirely around video sharing.
Businesses can set up a YouTube channel and upload videos to that channel. People can like and share videos posted to YouTube and also subscribe to Channels. YouTube videos can be embedded on websites (dependent on settings) and shared via other social media networks. Video creates a high level of engagement on social media and generally speaking can have a higher potential to go ‘viral’ than other forms of media.
Businesses can pay to display ads on YouTube. You can also generate income via your YouTube channel by allowing other businesses to display ads on your videos and then you earn a fee when someone clicks on those ads.
Regardless of whether or not you intend to set up a YouTube channel, the use of online video, whether it be your own or shared content, should be a crucial component of any social media strategy.
Twitter is a micro-blogging social network that enables users to send and receive ‘Tweets’ and private messages containing a maximum of 140 characters. Photos, videos, links to websites and other rich media can be shared as an attachment to tweets and messages, without impacting on the character limit.
Twitter’s fast-paced newsfeed allows people to get real-time updates and engage in conversations with those people and businesses they follow. Twitter’s search function and use of hashtags makes it a great resource for finding the news as it breaks, regardless of whether or not you are following the source. Public and/or private lists can be used to assist with managing the constant flow of Tweets.
Actively monitoring Twitter for mentions of your business and responding to any questions or comments in a timely manner will position your business favourably. To stay front of mind with followers, you need to be Tweeting regularly.
Tweets can be easily “Re-Tweeted” as a means of sharing the content of others. Re-tweets by a large volume of Twitter users, particularly if they are influential and have a large Twitter following of their own, can enable content to go viral very quickly.
Twitter is a great tool for finding people you don’t already know, reaching out and making connections. When combined with the use of Hashtags, Twitter is an extremely useful tool for businesses to use whenever they are conducting live events.
You can also create ads on Twitter.
LinkedIn is a social network for professionals, enabling a network of ‘connections’ to be developed and communicated with via the newsfeed, groups and private messages.
Individuals can create a professional source of information about themselves and demonstrate their expertise via their LinkedIn profile and the updates they share. This makes LinkedIn is a great way to learn about targeted prospects in advance of meeting them.
Most of the networking on LinkedIn happens between individuals. One of the keys to being successful on LinkedIn is to use LinkedIn to position yourself as a thought leader in your niche, staying top-of-mind by providing valuable support to your connections via the content you share and engagement within groups. You can share articles, photos or updates or post write a more in-depth article within LinkedIn’s publishing tool.
There are paid account options for users who wish to increase the functionality of the platform.
Businesses can set up Company Pages, showcasing the products and/or services they have to offer and posting updates to those that follow the Company Page. Having employees set up a LinkedIn account and linking it to the Company Page can help to promote the expertise of your business, especially when they take advantage of endorsement features, recommendations and industry groups to showcase their skills and knowledge. It also provides a direct contact within the company. People can recommend businesses, their products and/or services and engage with the company via company updates.
LinkedIn also allows targeted advertising within the platform for businesses.
Google+ (Google Plus)
Google+ is the “social layer” that integrates with and enhances many of Google’s online properties. Google+ integrates with many of the tools we use in our everyday activities, such as Google Search, YouTube and Gmail. This model is quite unlike conventional social networks, which are generally accessed through a single website.
Businesses can set up a business page on Google+ and individuals can create Google+ profiles.
Google+ business pages and individual users create circles to categorise their connections. Both can add individuals and businesses to their circles. Circles allow people to follow and engage with your business on a personal level and vice-versa, creating opportunities for relationship building.
Google+ focuses on content sharing. Through the use of a “+1” button, users can endorse links in a similar way to a Facebook “Like”.
Google+ Hangouts allow for real-time video conferencing within the platform. Those Hangouts can be live streamed on your website or other online locations (e.g. Facebook App) and/or published directly to YouTube.
It is mandatory to set up a Google+ Page in order to set up a YouTube Account.
Instagram is a social network developed as a way to share photos and videos with friends and family via a mobile device.
Pictures and videos can be transformed through filters and other image editing tools prior to sharing on Instagram. Posted photos and videos can include a description, Hashtags and geolocations and be simultaneously shared with other social networks. You can’t include a hyperlink within your posts (unless you are creating Instagram Ads). The only hyperlink you have is within your bio, making the ability to drive traffic to your website via this platform limited.
You can create profiles or business accounts on Instagram. Business accounts provide you with insights on the performance of your Instagram account, as well as the ability to create ads within the app.
Instagram is owned by Facebook and to access the full capabilities of Instagram advertising, you will need to create your ads using the Facebook Ads Manager.
Instagram can be a great tool for businesses with visual appeal. It can also be a great tool for allowing people a sneak peak behind the curtain of your business.
Images are extremely effective for creating engagement on social media. The ability to create unique, royalty-free images of your own using Instagram, combined with the ability to post directly from the platform to other social networks, makes Instagram a good starting point for creating visual content as part of your social media strategy.
Pinterest is a pinboard-style social network that allows users to create and organise theme-based collections of images found on the web within your Boards. Users can browse their newsfeed or other boards for images, “re-pin” images to their own boards or “like” or comment on images. Pins link back to the original source of the content, providing the opportunity for Pinterest to drive traffic to your website.
As well as individuals setting up personal Pinterest accounts, businesses can set up business Pinterest accounts. Once you’ve added the Pin It button to your website and verified your website, you’ll gain access to your analytics that shows what content from your website is most popular with Pinners.
Regardless of whether or not your business intends to set up a Pinterest business account, you can still capitalise on Pinterest as a potential traffic source to your website by creating engaging images within the content you share on your website and installing “pin it” buttons on your website to make it easier for people to pin your content.
Pinterest allows businesses to advertise on their platform via Promoted Pins. Promoted Pins are just like regular Pins, only you pay to have them seen by more people, which helps more people discover and save your content on Pinterest.
Snapchat is a mobile messaging app that allows you to send videos and pictures called snaps. You can add captions, doodles, filters and lenses. Your messages self destruct after a few seconds of your recipient viewing them.
Alternatively, you can add your snap to your “story”, a 24-hour collection of all your snaps that is broadcasted to the world or just your followers.
Users have a scannable Snapcode that makes help with adding new Snapchat friends. A special equation combining the number of snaps you’ve sent and received, stories you’ve posted and other factors is generated to give each user a Score, adding an element of gamification to the platform.
Snapchat offers several different paid marketing options. You can create a clever Snap Ad, build a fun Sponsored Geofilter or give your potential customers an opportunity to interact with a Sponsored Lens.
How Do I Determine Which Social Media Networks Are Best For My Business?
What your business goals are, which social media networks your target audience is currently using and the type of content your business creates or plans to create will ultimately determine which social media network(s) are best for your business.
How Many Social Media Networks Should I Use For My Business?
Whilst there are many social media networks that can provide opportunities for your business, it is not recommended that a presence be established and maintained on all social media networks, as this would not be manageable. Instead, you should target one or two social media networks initially and then once those are being used effectively, you are starting to see measurable results and there is the capacity to use others effectively, you may wish to consider branching out and developing a presence on additional social media networks.
Those social media networks that are not a priority initially can still be monitored using 3rd party tools such as Hootsuite or Mention.
For branding purposes, you may also consider securing the domain names for all of the major social media networks that you envisage your business will be likely to be active on in the future. Namechk.com is a great tool for checking if your desired username or vanity url is still available on many of the popular social media networks and social bookmarking websites.
Regardless of which social media network(s) you choose to use for your business, you should create a social media content calendar for your business to ensure that you deliver valuable, relevant and compelling content on a consistent basis to the social media communities that you develop.
So now it’s your turn. Which social media networks do you use for your business and why? Let me know in the comments below.