Social media is a huge part of the 21st century and actually, a part of normal everyday life for over 39 million people in the UK alone. For that reason, it’s vital that your business is using the relevant social media platforms.
But there’s so many to choose from! Each platform has a different purpose and therefore, it’s important that you only use those that are relevant to your business. You don’t want to be wasting your time creating content for social media platforms that won’t benefit your business. By the end of this article, you should have a much better idea of what will and what won’t work for your business. Let’s start with the most popular platform…
Average Monthly Users: 2.07 Billion +
Across the world, there are over 2 billion monthly active Facebook users. 1.37 billion of these people log in to Facebook every single day. Figures like that make the Facebook audience far too large to ignore! It’s a social media powerhouse, but not just because of their profound user numbers.
You can think of Facebook as the social media home for your business. This is mainly because of the interaction benefits a company can gain from their Facebook page. Your customers can go to your Facebook page to leave a message, write a review, browse through business products and photos, or chat with you online. This page will say a lot about your business, especially if it has customer reviews on it.
Then there are Facebook audience insights. Your business can collect information about your followers to learn more about their behaviours, interests and demographics. You can then use this information when you are planning how to reach your target audience; like running a PPC campaign on Facebook for instance. Paid ads on Facebook allow you to promote content such as well-performing blog posts and the products/services your business offers.
Something to note with Facebook, however, is that it’s not a good platform to sell to people on the business’ profile itself. To be perfectly honest, if anything, directly selling on Facebook will only give you a bad reputation. That’s not to say that you can’t plug your products/services, but you would mainly save that for Facebook ads as mentioned above. Your Facebook business page will mostly be to share interesting or amusing content and engage with customers.
All that being said, however, the biggest problem with Facebook is the lack of organic reach. Unless you’re willing to pay to promote your posts or have a pretty sizable following, few people will actually see your content – let alone interact with it. So, although you may find it tricky when you first set up your business page, you need to be patient. With more likes comes more potential free traffic to your website!
Average Monthly Users: 330 Million +
Although Twitter’s active users aren’t quite as meaty as Facebook’s figures, it’s still not one to be ignored. Recently, it has proven its worth as a platform for breaking news. People use the hashtag feature to keep up with and have their say on trending news and events from across the globe. If you have managed to gain quite a bit of popularity on your personal twitter account, then you will know how viral this platform can be.
Twitter is a great social media platform to connect with your customers on. You can easily share quick messages, pictures, videos, links and even polls. Other users can be interacted with simply by tagging their username in a post. It’s a great way to connect with people from all around the world! Whilst we’re on the communication side of things, if your business has unsatisfied customers, people may actually use twitter as a complaints forum. Not to worry, however, as this will give your business an opportunity to shine by showing off your great customer service!
It can be quite difficult to push a company on Twitter, so most places just use Twitter for branding purposes. Although, Twitter does also have an ad platform that your business can use to promote your content or sell your products. For e-commerce sites, in particular, the paid ads option should certainly not be overlooked. Especially when you consider that there’s *research suggesting paid ads on Twitter tend to get better conversion rates than that of the big F. Facebook being ‘the big F’.
Using hashtags, retweeting and commenting on tweets from other accounts are your best options for getting noticed organically. It is important that this content is relevant to your business, though!
Average Monthly Users: 115 Million +
Now, you’re going to want your business information to show on Google when someone searches for your company, right? Well, having a Google+ page for your business means that Google will be able to show all of the following when someone searches for your business: your brand, your logo, where you’re located, reviews and your all important contact information. For that reason alone, a Google+ profile is a must.
If and when you do set up a Google+ profile for your business, you need to ensure that all of the information you provide for your business is kept up to date. This especially goes for any changes to your business address and/or opening hours. A lot of people see it as a combination of Facebook and Twitter, but none-the-less, some of the more unique features of Google+ make it a marketing paradise! Or at least a potential marketing paradise… To be honest, Google+ didn’t take off as well as Google had hoped. Despite the great features, people just don’t tend to use Google+. In fact, it is believed that over 90% of people on Google+ actually never post anything, or interact with other user’s content. That could have something to do with why most businesses don’t tend to spend much time on Google+.
We do, however, just want to introduce you to this feature. We mentioned that Google+ does offer some ‘unique’ features. Well, this is one of them. Google hangouts can prove to be extremely useful for some businesses. It’s a free live video chat service that allows you to chat with up to ten people at a time. You can also use this to send instant text or video messages. In business terms, a hangout would be a brilliant way for you to communicate with long distance customers besides from the telephone.
So the Hangouts, +1’s and hashtags can result in great page popularity – if they are all used correctly. It’s important to remember that Google+ is Google (as daft as that sounds). So, that means good search results for your business. If someone searches for your business on Google, your Google+ page and your most recent posts will appear on the right-hand side of the search results. Search ranking benefits like this make Google+ a great social media platform to consider for your business.
Average Monthly Users: 230 Million +
This one’s a little different compared to the other social media platforms. It’s not necessarily your business that needs to be on LinkedIn – it’s you. You are the face of your business and so, therefore, you need to be out there on social media sites such as LinkedIn.
Having a personal LinkedIn profile entitles you to connect with potential clients and partners. It builds authority and trust with them too! With over 230 million LinkedIn users and 2.7 million business pages on there, LinkedIn is the largest professional social media platform for business people alike. Quite shockingly, most small business owners still don’t have a LinkedIn account. If you are one of them, then go and create a LinkedIn account now!
As it is much more serious than Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn should be approached in a professional manner. Think of your LinkedIn profile like your CV as a web page. You will use your profile to talk about how much experience you have had working in certain industries and for which companies. You can show off skills that you have and if your connections (equivalent to friends and followers) agree, they can endorse specific skills that you say you have.
Finally, the most powerful feature of this social network is LinkedIn groups. These groups provide a place for professionals in the same industry or with similar interests to start and take part in discussions. You can take advantage of these by sharing useful and relevant blog posts, advertising job vacancies and by having your say in discussions. All of this is with the view to establish yourself as an industry expert. After all, what better way to build up trust with your prospective customers than to be seen as an industry expert?
Average Monthly Users: 1 Billion +
Over the past few years, the power of videos in marketing has grown enormously. And the best place to host videos is on the popular video-oriented social media platform, YouTube. They have over 1 billion unique visitors every month and over 100 hours of footage uploaded every minute! Crazy, right?
Something to note about YouTube – actually, a HUGE factor to note about YouTube – is that it’s the second largest search engine after Google. Many people don’t know this and would assume that after Google would be Yahoo or Bing. So having content on YouTube that’s been optimised to be found by someone searching for your business’ product or service can have brilliant benefits. Another thing to note that’s also very important is that YouTube is owned by Google. That is why videos should be something that you consider when you are working on your on-page SEO. Just in case we haven’t quite hit home enough on that point, here’s an interesting statistic for you to ponder;
**By 2019, internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic!
The thing is, YouTube can be very competitive. It’s a social network that you should only choose if you have value videos that people will appreciate. Quality videos will often provoke conversations and sharing across other social networks. Whereas, really poor videos will just tarnish your brand’s image. So, if you can visually show what makes your products and/or services unique, or give out tips and tricks, or even create short snappy tutorial videos, then YouTube is a no-brainer.
Average Monthly Users: 800 Million +
Instagram is much more popular with young adults than any other age group. Over 50% of 18-35-year-olds use this social media platform. Of these, a whopping 500 million use ‘Insta’ every single day! There is no other social media platform as sector specific as Instagram. Only businesses from certain industries can reap the benefits that this photographic social network has to offer. The most successful types of businesses include fitness, food and drink, lifestyle, fashion and travel. If your business’ target audience is within this age group and within a relevant sector, then Instagram is definitely the place to be.
So, Instagram is a photo-sharing platform. It was invented just for mobile devices and nothing more really. It doesn’t work as well on desktops and photos can only be uploaded via a mobile device. This isn’t always ideal, especially if you do a lot of your work on a pc/mac. But if you are running your own business in this day and age, then I’m not sure I would believe you if you told me that you didn’t have a smartphone…
Moving forwards, Instagram is brilliant for sharing photos of products, developments within your business and if you wanted to, even your staff. As opposed to the professional manner of other social media platforms, Instagram gives the ‘human’, more ‘relaxed’ vibe to your business.
The key to Instagram is showing, not telling. People like to see informative photos with quick, snappy captions rather than boring photos with long captions. It’s ideal for you to use the hashtag feature within your captions so people who are searching for that hashtag will come across your businesses posts and page easily. This, along with intriguing photos, will likely make the Instagram page work for your business.
Average Monthly Users: 175 Million +
Probably the trickiest of all the social media platforms business-wise, Pinterest (similar to Instagram) works best for businesses in particular industries. It’s definitely not a platform that will work for everyone. However, if your business involves arts and crafts, health and beauty, fashion, travel or food, Pinterest is a winner!
Shockingly in 2017, there were only 2 million active Pinterest users in the UK – significantly less than other platforms. Despite this, ‘pins’ (Pinterest’s equivalent to a ‘post’ or ‘tweet’) have much greater longevity compared to their counterparts. A half-life of an average pin is 151,200 minutes; a huge amount compared to just 24 minutes for Twitter and 90 minutes for Facebook! So be careful not to overlook the power of an infographic, step-by-step guide or a how-to checklist! They can all do really well on Pinterest. When these guides are paired with interesting images, these pins can gather a lot of interest (get it?).
Pinterest also offers quite a unique feature that no other social platform comes close to. This is their Rich Pins. In a nutshell, Rich Pins work in a very similar fashion to Google’s rich snippets. You can use this information to display more content than a standard pin. The idea behind these optimised pins is that they encourage more people to interact with your pin and in turn, click through to your site or download your app (if applicable). The four types of rich pins are:
- Product Pins
- Recipe Pins
- Article Pins
- App Pins
As you may have guessed, this platform is highly visual. So, anything aesthetically pleasing will go down well. An image that’s pinned by someone with a high follower count has potential to reach thousands of viewers. So if your business is heavy on images, such as an e-commerce website, you should flourish on Pinterest.
Just as a final thought, every business is different. It’s not necessary to have all the platforms just because they’re available! All Social media platforms are free, but spending time on it when it won’t benefit your business is a waste of money.
It’s better to manage 2 or 3 social media platforms efficiently and interact with your audience frequently, rather than trying to manage 6 or 7 separate accounts and put out rushed content intermittently. One more thing – be patient! A successful social media business page takes time, but the potential rewards can be huge.
Now you know which platforms you should be using, you just need to make sure that you are getting your social media marketing right from the beginning.