The buzz around social media is undeniable, but how do you know if social media will work for your business? And which social media platform is best suited for your business? Without a marketing expert on hand, or a lot of free time to search the best platform to use, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here’s an overview of the primary social media sites that are heating things up.
Instagram is primarily a user-to-user site; however, it’s fast becoming a go-to option for businesses that can adapt to its highly visual nature. The social media site especially works for businesses that have products or services that are best showcased via pictures or videos. Instagram users are active and loyal, two noteworthy aspects of Instagram that attract businesses to the platform.
Facebook holds some of the highest honors in social media: It has over 1 billion users across the globe, with 95 percent of these users logging in every day to access the platform. Almost three-quarters of these users access Facebook via mobile devices.
B2Bs and B2Cs can benefit from using Facebook to build their brand, engage with users and grow a community of loyal followers, and get feedback about products and services. Businesses that opt to use Facebook should ensure that their site is mobile responsive and have the resources to manage the community and respond to comments.
Another social media site that works for business, Twitter acts like a 24/7 newscast for your brand. Its users are heavily focused on trending news and getting information in real time. Businesses must adapt to its short 140-character messages and learn how to use hashtags. Marketers often recommend broadcasting on Twitter multiple times a day to reach users, and some of the best ways businesses optimize the social media site include using it as a help desk, promote events, to engage users and create an ongoing dialogue. Interestingly, the fastest-growing demographic on this platform are 55 to 64 year olds, so the adage that Twitter is only for teenagers is no longer necessarily true.
If your primary buyer profile is a female, this is the place to be. Pinterest’s audience is comprised largely of women—only 8 percent are men. If your brand is ideally suited for a visual platform, turn to Pinterest to build a storehouse of pics that other users will “pin” to their own board (or profile), which in turn increases your brand’s exposure.
Consumers turn to Yelp to find services such as restaurants, health providers, clothing retailers, entertainment venues and more. A Yelp business page that includes information like the business’ physical address, menu items, product information, and so forth gives local users a way to find your business, and get more information about it. Then, consumers will begin rating your business and posting reviews, which other users will turn to as a worthy reference.
This social media platform works best for business-to-business companies, and it’s an excellent resource for networking with vendors and other professionals. Businesses can also use the platform to establish thought leadership, promote events and generate leads. One of the key features of the social media platform is the ability to join LinkedIn groups, which are focused on specific topics or ideas, for the purpose of networking and building credibility.
Another effective social media site for businesses targeting local customers, a Google+ business page can reach Google’s millions of users looking for information about products, services and brands. Your business can increase its reach by using the “+1” and circle features, exposing your posts to users in other “circles.” Google+ business users can also access its hangout feature, where groups of people can participate in video chats. Google Authorship, a component of Google’s algorithm that contributes to your business’ SEO, is another advantage businesses have. The algorithm now includes the content of expert authors (or content producers) in search results, and it gives these pages more value than authors with less credibility.
Building a social media presence takes time and resources, but there’s no question that these social media sites work for business. It’s really just a matter of choosing one or more platforms, and then gaining traction by posting relevant information and interacting with consumers.
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