It is a no-brainer in today’s internet savvy business world that every company should have a strong online presence. Social media marketing is booming as businesses search for new, low-cost ways to attract new customers. Whereas traditional marketing can be very high cost, social media marketing only needs your time and attention and is all about creating connections with your followers. Having a direct line to current and potential customers can go a long way in intimately understanding your audience and their needs, as well as promoting your products or services to millions of prospective customers.
But in a world where social media platforms rule the web, which ones should you choose to market your business? Let’s take a look at the top 5 social media platforms worldwide and how they can benefit your business….
Number of Users: 1.49 billion monthly active users
Everyone and their dog (sometimes literally) has a Facebook page so it is a no brainer that your business should have one to in order to tap into this worldwide market.
Once you have completed the initial set-up, Facebook is a fairly low-maintenance social media platform which only needs one or two posts per day so as to not overwhelm your follower’s news feeds. Facebook has a handy business page option so you can advertise your company as an established business while listing details such as contact info, location and opening hours. One thing to consider on Facebook would be paying to promote your page or boost your posts. This means that you will reach more people who have liked your page or target new audiences based on location, age or interests. There is no shortage of ways to analyse how well your posts are doing, with handy updates from Facebook that tell you how well each of your posts are performing.
A Facebook page can be the social media face of your business, with plenty of options to post photos and videos that represent your brand, and also plenty of opportunity to share updates and news or start conversations with your customers. The more that you post and interact with your followers the more likes and shares you will inspire, spreading the word about your business to potential new customers.
Number of Users: 304 million monthly active users
Twitter is hugely popular because of the wide variety of people that are regular daily users. Many people were first attracted by the celebrity users but now you can connect with anyone, from world leaders to the heads of multi-national corporations.
Twitter is a microblogging site on which you should post multiple times a day with fresh and relevant content in order to stand out from your followers’ fast-moving Twitter feeds. Twitter can provide your company with the chance to project some personality into your brand and interact with your customers on a one-to-one basis. You can lead conversations, run competitions or share news and articles that are relevant to your industry but whatever you do should be consistent, relevant and interesting in order to attract new customers to your brand and keep regular customers interested.
Twitter has lots of options and guides to help businesses get set up and running with their accounts, including step by step guides of how to drive conversions to your web page, grow your follower base and increase engagements.
Number of Users: 364 million members
LinkedIn is the social media platform made specifically for companies and professionals. It is basically the online version of business networking – people and connections are everything on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is especially profitable for business-to-business companies but is also primarily used by recruiters and job seekers. Your profile page is the face of your company on LinkedIn so should be professional and informative and mindful of keyword SEO. You should use LinkedIn to grow your professional network; start by adding as many real-life connections as possible and then focus on your online networking. If your employees are included in your connections on LinkedIn then be diligent on the content that they include on their profiles, as any inappropriate or unprofessional posts can easily be linked back to your company and can be potentially damaging to your brand.
LinkedIn can be a valuable tool when you are hiring so be sure to publish all job postings while also using LinkedIn profiles to conduct some future-employee research.
Number of Users: 300 million active monthly users
Google’s proposed alternative to Facebook, Google+ aims to help you build connections with people that share the same hobbies, passions and interests as yourself. More professional than Facebook and Twitter, Google+ was proposed to be a new type of social network, whose main aim was not spying on people that you know but rather building relationships with others that share the same interests as you. This is great for businesses that are active on Google+ as this helps you to bring your brand much closer to followers and prospective customers by targeting their interests. You also have the option to build a ‘community’ on Google+ that users can join and interact with. This not only allows you to engage proactively with your audience but also reflects positively in search engine results.
Keywords and SEO are central to the appeal of Google+ and everything that you post on this network is immediately indexed by Google, something that is extremely important to professionals and businesses as it can give a boost to your search engine rankings.
Number of Users: 300 million active monthly users
The internet is an extremely visual space, with millions of people jostling for attention by using eye-catching and visually stimulating images. Instagram has tapped into that market and has grown exponentially as a result, with now almost as many active users as social media giant Twitter.
Instagram is now used by a large variety of companies, large and small, who use the platform to boost the visual appeal of their brands. Posting once a day is usually enough as you are trying to attract your user base and followers during their ‘down-time’ and a hard sell will not win you any fans on Instagram. You can use Instagram’s integrated sharing function to also share your images or video clips to Facebook or Twitter, reaching more of your social media following and creating content for all of your pages. Make sure to use hashtags to make your content searchable across all platforms.
Instagram works best for companies that deal with lifestyle, food, fashion or luxury brands that have very visual products but can also serve very well for providing a more personal look at your company with the potential to post behind-the-scenes shots, or photos of your staff hard at work.