Social media is one of those things that seems interesting and at the same time can have you wondering how to use it in your business. Isn’t social media...well...social? Why would your business need to have a presence on it? Is there any real advantage to having a presence on social media, and if there is, should you go with one, or two, or all of the social media platforms?
Today’s goal is to answer some, or all of those questions, as well as provide a brief review of a few different platforms, discussing the different features that might make them suited to your business.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Why A Presence?
When we begin looking through why social media platforms can be of use to your business, we’ll subsequently find the advantages to maintaining a presence too.
Firstly, the more visible you are online, the better your odds of drawing in your ideal customers. In the world of social media marketing, the potential reach for your content is huge, given that readers on platforms will often have the ability to share your content with their friend groups, and bring your content to people who might never have heard of you otherwise. Linking back to your website through your social media platforms will also boost your off-page SEO and improve your ranking in search engines.
Secondly, a social media presence allows you to reach your larger audience in hours and circumstances that are beyond the 9-5, business premises constraints. This change in availability allows you to speak to your audience in a way that is less formal, but no less informative or authoritative. The relationship between customer and business becomes more about building the kind of positive impression that people rave about rather than a come in, get-what-you-need, leave approach.
Thirdly, the type of social media platform can be used to directly appeal to your buyer persona, or you might be able to use a platform that will resonate with your ideal audience better. For example, if your business sells fitness apparel, you can appeal to the 20s-30s gym culture through a visual platform like Instagram.
In all of this, it’s important to remember that different social media platforms have different strengths and weaknesses, and all are time consuming, so it’s wiser to use the platforms that best align with what you sell and the buyer personas that you’re appealing to, so you’re using the majority of your time in the most effective way.
So, what platforms are up for use, and which will be of the most use to your business? There’s a lot more than just these ones for use, but here’s five.
5 Different Platforms
One of the biggest social media platforms around and a household name, Facebook can be used by individuals, businesses, and a plethora of entities in between. Its purpose is to connect real-life friends and connect people with similar interests.
Useful Features: Text and Image-friendly, allows for detailed comments and dialogue directly between individual users and your business.
Twitter trades the depth of posts for the frequency of them, and allows for real-time updating. It allows linking, so your best bet for business use is often announcement-type bulletins.
Useful Features: Individual users can follow you, as with Facebook. It can be used for text and image updates, and integrates with other platforms like Instagram, Vine, and Facebook well. The real-time updates allow for short, reactionary statements that provide an informal yet insightful voice for your business.
LinkedIn is a much more professionally-minded platform than other platforms, and allows you to have a presence as a business and as individuals in that business. It provides a simple and straightforward way to tell visitors what your business is about, effectively listing the ‘about us’ page of your website as well as listing your credentials for establishing a voice of authority.
Useful Features: LinkedIn provides a professional social media outlet for your business, and can list things like career options your business has open. It also allows your business to create separate pages for users to visit and interact with according to the different buyer personas you’re appealing to.
Google+ is the Google alternative to social media, providing a means of presenting individuals and organisations through text, image, and video, linking and following other individuals and organisations. The demographic is a little different to Facebook, with the focus being a more professional and formal platform for connecting people with similar business interests.
Useful Features: Google+ integrates seamlessly with Google’s other services, including Youtube and Gmail. It also integrates with Google Authorship, which can be used to validate online articles that you’ve written and improve the SEO of said posts. The Circle function allows for greater control over which of your followers see which posts.
Mostly visual, Instagram provides a lifestyle-promoting, photo-based platform. Allowing for searching through username and hashtags, and comments from any user, this platform excels at putting into contact any large business or individual with any user.
Useful Features: Instagram integrates with other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, and makes good use of geotagging and hashtags to classify and explore brandnames and campaigns. It works well for promotions.
Things To Think Through:
Which social media platforms can you best use to extend your reach and customer base? Which platforms will best appeal to the buyer persona that your business is using?
Keep in mind the amount of time you have when branching out to the social media space - it’s a big time commitment to make and you don’t want to commit to things that won’t gather a sizeable return. Be smart with the platforms you use and use the best ones for marketing your business to your ideal audience.