Social media marketing: Which platforms do you need?
Social media is a highly valuable digital marketing channel for small businesses. Not only is it free, it also allows you to connect with your target market on a more personal level. We discussed it briefly in our post detailing 7 easy and free digital marketing tactics for small businesses, but now it’s time to delve deeper into the social media arena.
Here we’ll be outlining the major platforms available and which types of businesses can easily leverage them. Why can’t you just sign up for all of them? It’s difficult to do a good job across all of the social media channels available – putting your time and energy into 3 to 4 platforms means you’ll be able to get more out of your marketing, as opposed to spreading yourself too thinly over 10 or more.
Social media explained
Some years ago, the image below went ‘viral’ online. While some of these notions are a little out of date (for example, Google+ now has millions of users that aren’t Google employees), the general idea still stands. It’s important to know which channel you should target, based on your audience and which products and services you provide.
Recommended social media channels for all businesses
There are three channels that we recommend taking advantage of no matter what kind of business you’re running. This is because these platforms have such a large user base that it’s almost impossible not to find a suitable audience within. Whichever type of business you’re running, you should be able to find your people here.
Setting up a Facebook page for your business is a must. With more than a billion users, you can see why it’s important to have a presence. No longer a channel for college students (as it started out), it’s now even popular among grandparents.
Your business Facebook page should engage users and encourage discussion and community. Ask for feedback from your customers, answer questions and even run a few promotions. Try not to post more than once or twice per day.
Twitter has almost 300 million active users and is perfect for broadcasting news, sharing great content, and enjoying short interactions with both customers and industry peers.
You can feel free to post a little more than once a day, but always keep it interesting and relevant to your industry.
While Google+ doesn’t have the same universal popularity of Facebook and Twitter, it still has an estimated 300 million active users. If you have a tech related product or service you’ll probably do particularly well on this platform.
The other reason to get involved is because Google+ may complement your SEO efforts. Posted links will be indexed almost instantly and a Google+ page will also boost your local SEO efforts.
Optional social media channels
The following platforms still have large numbers of active users, however, may not be suitable for all businesses. Have a think about whether these channels are really for you before you invest time setting them up.
LinkedIn is considered the ‘Facebook’ of the professional world. While it can be a great way to interact with peers on a personal level, it’s really only worth setting up a business account if your business offers professional services.
This channel is particularly useful for anyone within the human resources industry. If you end up setting up LinkedIn for your business, try sharing relevant industry news and articles with your connections.
Everyone’s favourite video streaming site has around one billion active users; however, it’s a waste of time creating a business presence on YouTube unless you commit to creating interesting content. If you can’t make videos that people will want to watch, it’s not worth the effort.
Tutorial and ‘how to’ style videos are extremely popular, especially within the tech and beauty industries. YouTube also tends to work really well for companies such as Red Bull, who invest in extreme sports videos as part of their overall marketing campaigns.
This is a great social media channel for anyone with a great visual angle on their business. Some examples include food and health related businesses, or anyone involved in the design space (this could be interior design, graphic design, fashion design, etc). Travel and tourism businesses also tend to do well.
Always post beautiful images on Instagram, as this is what the platform is all about. Rough images or ‘behind the scenes’ style shots should be saved for Facebook or Google+.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a great platform if your business can be shared in a visual way. Popular with all of the industries mentioned above, Pinterest is also great for sharing recipes, as well as arts, crafts, and DIY projects.
This one is worth the time if you have a lot of great images to share, but don’t bother if you don’t have the time or content.
What other social media platforms do you use and which one works best?