By now you’ve noticed some brands’ Facebook posts popping up in your newsfeeds. They may be brands you’ve heard of, like Oreo, Applebee’s, or Skechers, or they may be brands you haven’t heard of, but appear to be targeted to your particular interests. Businesses of all kinds and all sizes are on Facebook and other social media platforms, and if a business isn’t on at least one social media platform yet, then it’s behind its competitors.
If your business falls into that category, then here’s your quick guide to getting up to speed! More than 1.2 billion users are on Facebook alone; that alone tells you there’s a huge pool of consumers to tap into just through that one social media platform.
Facebook is a great social media channel for just about any business because it holds the honor of most users. Keep in mind, though, more and more teenagers are drifting away from Facebook because more and more, how shall we say…mature users are signing up for the site. It still remains a great site because it allows businesses to tailor their ads to their target demographic right down to age, gender, location, and interests.
But if your company wants to target the teen market, your business should also put considerable effort into social media sites like Twitter or Instagram.
Twitter isn’t just for teens, of course, but marketers and business owners need to recognize that Twitter is a faster-paced platform than Facebook with its users often logging on multiple times per week, if not per day. Its posts are limited to 140 characters, so messages need to be concise. Twitter is really best for businesses with emerging technologies or frequent news to share. Having said that, businesses in the technology field would do well, marketing companies, sports-related businesses, and news organizations as well. These are all industries that would have information to share not just on a daily basis, but closer to an hourly basis! Business owners need to keep in mind that Twitter requires more attention to keep brand awareness levels up.
We mentioned Instagram earlier, too. Instagram is a fantastic photo-sharing social media platform ideal for the food, fashion, technology, and any industry that has a product consumers want to see. It’s also got a large share of 18-29 year old users, in case your business targets that demographic specifically. If your business is a recruiting firm, for example, Instagram may not be the best social media platform since there is no tangible product to show off (we suppose you could post photos of all your happily placed candidates?).
Another fast-growing social media site is Pinterest. Like Instagram, Pinterest is visual-oriented. But it’s not simply a site to share one’s own photos; it’s where users “pin” photos from other users, websites, or their own computer folders. Users create boards and then pin photos that fit those boards—common boards are wedding ideas, cooking recipes, vacation dreams, etc. Again, businesses with products to share should get on Pinterest right away. Jewelers, designers, photographers, and so on will see more return from Pinterest than any other social media site. A lot of this has to do with the site’s demographics: much of the site’s users are in the $50,000+ income range and about 35% are in the $100,000+ income range.
You’ve probably heard of Google Plus. It’s a content-sharing site that’s popular with technology companies and marketers who like to share information. While it has more than 560 million users, only about half that number is active on Google Plus. This is most likely because it’s linked with YouTube. Businesses should strongly consider Google Plus because it helps overall search rankings on Google itself because it is Google’s social platform so they will rank that information favorably higher. Even if your business does not fall under marketing or technology, you can keep it up-to-date with interesting articles related to your industry, updates like you post on Facebook, and share other users’ info or pictures.
YouTube, linked with Google Plus, is important for businesses to consider because searches on YouTube are second only to Google itself! Videos are increasingly becoming the marketing tool of choice. Consumers are more likely to watch a brief video than read an article (maybe we should have turned this article into a video?!) and are more likely to share a video with friends if it’s funny or touching. Businesses in any field should consider YouTube so long as they have the time and resources to find a good story and capture it in less than 2 minutes.
There are many other social media channels out there (and some that are yet to be), but that doesn’t mean your business needs to be on every single channel. Research the site’s demographics and what is published on the site. If your business targets those demographics and has content aplenty to share that fits its purpose, then go for it! If only one of those factors fits, don’t take the plunge just yet. Look at other sites, and if only one really feels like a good fit, that’s all you need to focus on.