Social Media Primer

Social Media Primer: Which Platforms are Right for Your Business

by Alison Goble | May 23, 2016

Whether you are a startup business or a well established company, maintaining a presence online should be an important part of your overall brand strategy. Unless you’re a social media expert, it can be a real challenge to develop a strong working knowledge of every platform available and confidently identify which one(s) would be the most beneficial to your business.

To help you navigate the waters of social media, we’ve taken a snapshot of each of the most powerful and effective choices currently available.

Facebook

Facebook IconWhat is it?

It’s the most widely used social network where you can easily create user-friendly content and connect with your audience. It gives users the ability to interact with friends, colleagues and businesses.

How are companies using it?

Companies frequently use Facebook to display their expertise. They use it to provide current and potential consumers with external content they would find interesting and informative. It’s also used to promote sales and specials within their company; and showcase parts of their business the public may not be aware of. It’s a great tool to connect with and learn more about the composition of your audience. Facebook also allows you to boost posts in order to reach people generally outside your sphere of influence.

Why you should be using Facebook

As the most widely used social network, Facebook creates the best opportunity to generate new potential clients. It’s very user friendly, and if you’re only going to be on one social media platform, it should be this one.

Quick Tip

Facebook is all about interaction. Make sure that you are regularly updating your page with content and interacting with your followers. Don’t be afraid to be genuine. Social media allows your followers to see the human side of business, and they appreciate that.

Deeper Dive

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/08/20/the-definitive-guide-to-marketing-your-business-on-facebook/#6ba24de2acfc

 

Twitter

Twitter IconWhat is it?

It’s a social network that values brevity. Twitter’s 140-character post limit can feel stifling, but from a user standpoint it allows you to access a wide variety of personalized content quickly. From a business standpoint it gives you a small space to quickly interact with your customers.

How are companies using it?

Twitter helps companies become part of global conversations. With trending hashtags that change every day, your company has a variety of opportunities to be heard by people you may not connect with normally. Twitter allows your company’s unique voice to be heard quickly and effectively.

Why you should be using Twitter

Twitter provides an outlet where you can directly and publicly interact with your customers. It’s a great space to show off your stellar customer service by offering to help customers troubleshoot concerns in real time; and to demonstrate your company’s personal voice. Authenticity is essential on this platform and people will detect disingenuous posts. The biggest mistake you can make on Twitter is coming off as boring.

Quick Tip

Before you Tweet, ask yourself if you would find it interesting and informative. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience and you will go far.

Deeper Dive

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/how-to-use-twitter-effectively/

Google +

Google+ IconWhat is it?

Functioning as a social networking site similar to Facebook and Twitter, many people have been reluctant to invest time and resources into Google+ because of its slow start. However, it has a lot features that make it stand out as a worthwhile option.

How are companies using it?

Companies are using Google+’s unique features, such as customizable Circles and Hangouts, to interact in a new, more intimate way with consumers. Circles allow you to dictate who receives certain content; you have the choice to share with some of your audience, but not all. Hangouts allow users to connect though voice and/or video interactions; it’s used to reach consumers directly and in real time.

Why you should be using Google+

Because Google+ is a smaller social network, you are able to reach a more individualized group. On this platform it is easier to connect directly with both customers and influencers who could help to build and cross promote your brand. Although the audience at Google+ is comparably smaller than most, it is growing, and it’s worthwhile to have a presence on that platform.

Quick Tip

Use your other social networks to promote Google+ page. The greater your social media presence, the easier it will be to reach potential clients. You want consumers to know where they can find you.

Deeper Dive

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/time-strengthen-content-strategy-google-heres/

LinkedIn

LinkedIn IconWhat is it?

LinkedIn is a site based on professional networking and recruiting. Job seekers use it as a space to post their resumes and connect with companies and influencers. Companies use it as a recruiting tool, and post relevant content to those they’re connected with.

How are companies using it?

Companies use LinkedIn to distinguish themselves as a leader in their industry. It’s also great for generating business to business connections, and aligning your brand with leaders and influencers in your market.

Why you should be on LinkedIn

You should be using LinkedIn to establish yourself as an expert in your market and to note any competitor company’s updates and changes. LinkedIn is a great place to post highly focused content about your field, and generate conversation with influencers and potential clients.

Quick Tip

Keep your LinkedIn up to date. It can be tempting to let it go untouched for periods of time when it feels like there are more pressing matters at hand, but it is vital that you respond to questions and comments on all forms of social media in a timely manner to show your best customer service. Relationships are the key to effective social media.

Deeper Dive

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/how-to-use-linkedin-for-business/

Pinterest

Pinterest IconWhat is it?

Pinterest is an image sharing site where you can easily “pin” almost anything to a virtual board of your own making. You can design your dream kitchen, inspire yourself, and learn about almost anything on this website. In an increasingly visual world, Pinterest is an indispensable tool.

How are companies using it?

Companies are using Pinterest to promote their products and show their versatility. You can link all of your pins back to your website, allowing the user easy access to browse or purchase your product online. It’s also a way for businesses to feature how customers are using their products and inspire others to do the same.

Why you should be on Pinterest

You should be using Pinterest to show off your brand and increase accessibility to your website. Here you can highlight the various ways consumers have used and loved your products. It is a great place to get to know your audience and learn about what they follow and love.

Quick Tip

Your content should consist of not only your product, but other relevant things as well. Don’t turn off followers by only promoting yourself, but be careful to showcase supplemental items your audience would love, not substitutions.

Deeper Dive

http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7552-pinterest-business-guide.html

Instagram

Instagram IconWhat is it?

Instagram is quite possibly the most powerful image sharing site around. At 400 million users (that’s 4 times the number of active users on Pinterest), it’s an easy way for anyone to search and evaluate a business based exclusively on its visuals.

How are companies using it?

Companies are using Instagram to present their products or services in the best light possible. They are displaying the human side of their brand by featuring their employees, telling stories, and giving “behind the scenes” glimpses into their businesses.

Why you should be on Instagram

Instagram is a way to tell the story of your business through powerful visuals. It allows you to present a cohesive visual vibe that appeals to your audience. It also allows you to connect with people who love your business and/or products and will post photos of them.

Quick Tip

Repost photos taken at your business or of your product to show love to your fans. Make them feel recognized and important (with the proper photo credits of course). This will allow you to reach their followers and build brand loyalty.

Deeper Dive

https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-instagram-for-business/

 

All these forms of social media have one thing in common; they provide you with a space to interact with current and potential customers on a whole different level. Your posts, tweets, tags, pins and photographs all help build your brand. They fill in information gaps about your business and paint a more comprehensive picture for your followers. Pick a platform that best fits your brand strategy, interact consistently with your base, and reap the benefits that social media can bring.

Alison Goble
Alison is a whiz bang at strategy and social media. She believes in the power of a story and using social media as a channel to share that story. With a fierce attention to detail and a passion for all things pretty, this hashtag-savvy millennial aims to make the world a sweeter place one Instagram post at a time.

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