Social media has become a favourite way to promote a business for free. Any business wants to have social media presence, and there is a tendency to want to be everywhere.
Signing up for a social media platform and create a business profile doesn’t cost anything, but keeping your platform active requires a big amount of time, dedication and resources. So, before signing up for any social media platform, determine first which one is best for your business, depending on the nature of your products or services, the business personality and your target audience.
In this post today I’ll take you through the most popular social media platforms to help you identify which one is the most suitable for business.
Facebook it’s the biggest social media platform on the web. Everyone is on Facebook, so every brand and business wants to be there too. Even you can reach a very large audience through Facebook, it’s also highly competitive.
What you see on Facebook depends on your previous interactions with every page that you follow. If you don’t like, share, comment or follow links in any post of a fan page, Facebook will stop showing posts from that page in your feeds.
Therefore, you may have thousands of Facebook fans, but not everyone sees what you post on your page. If you want to reach your entire group of fans, you have to pay and boost your post.
To know more about how Facebook feed filters work, read this article 'Facebook News Feed Filters emotion Study', published by The Guardian.
Facebook is for your business if you have:
- Cool photos of your products
- Amusing or inspirational videos of your business
- Useful articles and links to valuable resources
- Contests and giveaways
- Discounts, coupons or package deals
- Upcoming events, webinars, conferences, workshops, etc
A great example: Mr. Wonderful
Mr. Wonderful was established in 2013 by a couple of Spanish graphic designers. They used to be a small design studio. Not anymore. With a huge social media success they have become one of the most popular brands of scrapbook and stationary in Spain.
Their Facebook page is great because their posts combine clever copyrighting, beautiful images and links to interesting resources, a winning combination to get lots and lots of responses from their followers. They share new products, company updates, events, etc, with beautiful and well-styled images and graphic copy.
Twitter is described as a microblog site with a 140-character text limit. It’s a very fast-paced social network with a very short life span, which means that you have to post as often as you can.
Twitter is a great way to start conversations with people on the Internet. While everyone recommends Twitter for customer service, I personally find it a great platform to thank people who have interacted or collaborated with my business somehow. For example, thanking a blogger who mentioned my products or services in a blog post or congratulating a provider for putting together a fabulous event that I attended.
Twitter is for your business if you can…
- share frequent company or industry news and updates (at least 2 – 3 times a day)
- start conversations and answer questions about a topic of general/industry interest.
- listen and help customers with doubts or even complaints.
Google+ is similar to Facebook but with more marketing features (like hangouts and +1s). As it’s owned by Google, everything is posted there will rank highly in their search engine.
Google+ is for your business if…
- Seo is an important part of your digital marketing strategy
- You share cool photos or videos
- You have useful articles and resources that can be shared through a link
- You want to promote upcoming events, webinars, workshops, etc
Pinterest is the platform for quality visual content, being more suitable to promote products than services. However, many businesses have found the formula to sell their expertise on Pinterest sharing knowledge through infographics.
Pinterest is for your business if you…
- Target women between 25 – 45 year old
- Are in the photography, design or lifestyle industries (fashion, design, home decor, food and luxury brands)
- Sell products online, as it allows including a backlink to your product page on your site.
- Have professional and styled images of your products
- Share images that are not in your website or will be only for a limited time.
A great example: Elle&Co
Elle&Co is the brand of a young and talented designer who has managed to make Pinterest the main referral of traffic to her website. Her main target is creative businesses for a female young market, so Pinterest was the perfect channel to reach this target. Even she doesn't sell physical products, infographics and clever graphic headlines grab the interest of Pinterest users.
Instagram is another photo and video sharing platform with includes some filters and photo editing tools. You can only post on Instagram from your Smart phone which means that you can share more casual images - and less professional - than in Pinterest.
Although you don’t need to share here professional images, many businesses put a lot of effort in sharing beautiful, well-styled and perfectly lighted images of their products, making their brands stand out in Instagram.
Uploading professional photos saved from the Internet directly on to your phone can take away the connexion with the brand, as your audience expects to see a more informal side of your business in Instagram.
Instagram is for your business if…
- Your business is in the lifestyle industry
- Your target audience is mainly female between 18 – 35 years old.
- You can take beautiful images of your products with a consistent look and feel directly from your Smart phone.
A great example: My little fabric
My little fabric is the business name of Aline, an amazing French graphic designer and photographer, so there is no surprise here how beautiful her Instagram is.
Another great example: The Villa Styling
Australian stylist and photographer Louise Roche uses Instagram to showcase her work, publishing amazing photographs quite regularly. In spite of her professional and high quality visual content she doesn't promote her business on Pinterest. Instead she uses Instagram, and let her website visitors pin her photographs to their own Pinterest boards through sharing tools under her images.
Youtube is a video sharing platform. After Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine. Like Google+, since Google owns it every link in YouTube will rank quite well in search engines.
Youtube is for your business if…
- Seo is an important part of your digital marketing strategy
- If you’re a mediapreneur in the video production, movie-making and music industry!
- You can produce your own videos to share your expertise (through video-tutorials, vlogging, etc)
- You can produce video-demos of your product showing how they’re different from everyone else’s.
- You can produce a very cool, watchable and sharable video that will go viral.
A great example: Oh Joy!
American graphic designer Joy Cho made of blog a global fenomenum. After one decade of blogging Joy has now implementing her own Youtube channel for those who rather watch than read.
Linkedin is the largest professional social media platform for business people, where you can share your expertise and professional skills. It connects recruiters and job-seekers, and it’s also great to connect with industry fellows.
You can share expertise through linkedin groups, as well as get referrals and recommendations from those who have worked with you.
Linkedin is for your business if you…
- Are a B2B business (like coaching, consulting or business development services)
- Share professional and informative content
- Offer links to career-oriented articles and resources
- Post jobs and career opportunities.
If you are a small business owner, select a maximum of three o four platforms to promote your business and create a clear and well-organised plan to keep your platforms alive. Don’t try to be everywhere just because everyone is. It’s better to have just a couple of active social media channels to promote your business that a long list of dead channels where you only post once in a blue moon.
What social media platform are you using to promote your business and why? Which one is working the best for you and which one is not working at all?
Which Social Media Site Should You Be And Why, by Social Media Today
Which Social Media Channel Should I Use For My Business, by Y Marketing Matters