In this article we are going to be covering the social media platforms that really matter.
Social media is here to stay, that is, if you want to maintain your online existence. Marketers hold onto it for their business’ dear life. But if you use it for the sole purpose of marketing, this is when things might get confusing.
How to choose a platform
That’s because there are a lot of social media sites, various methods to engage your audience, and the different styles used in each platform. So how you should you choose the best platform for you? You will find out after answering these questions.
- What does your target audience use?
Determine which social media site your audience use. Not all your followers are actual people.
- Which site has the most active audience?
Having many users does not automatically mean lots of activity. Google has 1 billion users, but only 35% were actively using their account in the past month.
- Which site does your audience use for searching?
Every minute, millions of searches are done on Google, Facebook and Twitter. If you stay active on these platforms, your audience may find you.
- Which is the most suitable social media site for your niche?
If one site works for others, it might not necessarily work for you because of your niche. Find one that is frequented by businesses with the same offering as you have.
Use these questions to guide you to which platform you should use.
The big four social media platforms
The top four sites that really matter include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Facebook is the biggest social network with its more than 1.5 billion monthly active users. It has been around for over 10 years, with more than half of its users actively using it daily. Each visit lasts for 18 minutes on average.
Aside from browsing for updates or looking at photos, a Facebook is also connected to about 80 pages, events or groups. This is how you can reach them.
- Find out if your customers are on Facebook
See if they expect to find your business there. If you run any kind of consumer-facing enterprise, such as a café, a shop, a plumbing business or an ecommerce website, many of your customers will want to keep in touch on Facebook.
- Register for your free account
Getting started on Facebook is quick and easy. You don’t necessarily need a personal page to create a business page but it can be a good way to drive traffic to your business page.
- Get inspiration and advice on the Facebook for Business page. It has lots of useful case studies featuring businesses of all shapes and sizes.
- Tell people you are on Facebook
Use other social networks, like Twitter, to post links to your Facebook page, put details of it on your website and all your marketing literature, and include a link below your email signature.
- Make the most of your profile
Include appropriate images, a link to your website, an overview of your company and a description of your product or service.
- Use keywords in your profile
Also posts that people are most likely to search for in relation to your product so your page appears more prominently in search engine results. A key advantage of having a Facebook page for your business is that customers will be able to find you more easily from their mobile devices.
- Post content that people typically enjoy on Facebook
Images, in particular, tend to attract the most likes, shares and comments. According to Facebook, images account for 75% of content posted by brands. The content you post should show the human side of your business but make sure it is in line with your brand values and does not damage your reputation.
- Use advertising to reach out to specific groups of people
Facebook allows you to target ads based on everything from location and demographics to behaviour and interests or even a combination of these.
- Engage with your followers
Facebook users love to talk to real people and share their news and views. Reply to queries and respond to comments, including any complaints. You can also encourage discussion and feedback — positive user-generated content provides a very powerful endorsement for your business.
- Direct people to your own website or blog from your Facebook page
Set your blog’s RSS feed so that you automatically publish snippets on your Facebook page to encourage followers to visit your website.
- Reward your Facebook followers
Try running competitions or providing exclusive deals. Many people use Facebook to find special offers that aren’t available elsewhere.
- Measure everything
Page Insights provides an overview of who your customers are and how they’re connecting with your business. You can also use the Adverts Manager dashboard to see how your ads are performing against your objectives.
Each Twitter user, who has an average of 208 followers and 307 Tweets and spends an average of 170 minutes on their profile, presents a marketing opportunity. Half of its signups remain active daily, with 29% of them visiting their Twitter several times each day.
Twitter is more about engaging customers for their brand loyalty. About 85% of Twitter users feel a connection to a business that they are following on Twitter.
1. Optimize your Twitter bio. Make sure your company identity and voice are branded well. That means having a bio that tells people who you are and includes a link to your company website or a landing page — and having a consistent tone so that people clearly understand who you are and what you do.
2. Find out who the influencers and experts are in your target area and interact with them on a regular basis. Use Twitter search or a tool like Topsy or Followerwonk to find like-minded prospects, customers and influencers/media by searching keywords that relate to your industry. Then follow and interact with them on a regular (daily) basis.
Make a list of the 100 most influential people in your space — journalists, thought leaders, potential clients/customers, big-name bloggers and writers, potential partners, etc.
Add them to a private Twitter list and engage with them daily. (Tools like HootSuite make managing this process much easier.) And remember to be casual and helpful, not promotional, Build a real relationship and then look for opportunities to collaborate.
3. Get colleagues involved. The first people to help build your brand should come internally. Make sure your coworkers are following you on Twitter and tweeting, retweeting, engaging, etc.
4. Tweet regularly. Regular tweeting is a sign of an active, healthy profile. If you only tweet once a week, or once a month, you aren’t keeping up with the Joneses or the Twitter equivalent. Worse, folks will forget about you.
I recommend daily postings and engagement so that you are top of mind on a consistent basis. Just be sure you are tweeting relevant or useful information, content your followers will read, click on, retweet and/or favorite.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for some Twitter love. Ask followers to retweet, mention or favorite your tweets — or to share content with a fresh tweet.
6. Track mentions — and respond if appropriate. Track brand mentions and keywords to make sure you know what’s being said about you, Be sure to respond in a polite, professional manner if appropriate. After all, customer service is the new marketing! And many customers now post their product queries and complaints on Twitter.
Set up Twitter searches for terms relevant to your brand and monitor the conversations. Search and jump in to the conversations when appropriate, for example, say you’re a designer in New York. You could set up a search for the term Designer New York. Then, when you then see someone in New York tweet, “I need to find a designer in New York”, you could jump in and tweet, “I would love to have you as a new client new client.”
7. Retweet. Don’t be afraid to retweet as this will help link you with and cement your own thought leadership within your industry,
8. Favorite tweets. Many people don’t know about favoriting tweets, but it can get someone’s attention more than a retweet or a mention.
9. Follow trends/hashtags. Look at the trending topics and hashtags and find a way to make a relevant connection to your brand. By putting your business among the trending topics, your handle will be seen when people search tweets regarding that particular hashtag.
Tagging your posts with one or two relevant and trending hashtags can help you to reach new users. However, hashtags should be used sparingly, as they can be seen as ‘Twitter spam’ when over used or attached to irrelevant content.
10. Offer discounts or special deals to Twitter followers. Run Twitter contests such as: The next 50 people that retweet me will receive a coupon for 50 percent off, or have people post pictures of themselves in the store or using the product.
11. Use images and videos. Get visual, Photos and videos drive three to four more clicks on Twitter. Use free tools like Canva to develop engaging creatives for your posts.
Images, videos and other rich media have proven to receive more views, clicks and shares than plain text tweets. While community managers may be doing a great job engaging followers, a bland post about enjoying the weekend is much less effective than rich, in-stream content in which someone can, for example, view a film trailer and find out where the movie is playing in their neighborhood.
In fact, research shows that rich tweets have significantly lower negative feedback rates as consumers appreciate interactivity and content designed for their social mobile context.
12. Use Promoted Tweets. Be sure to directly target your audience with Promoted Tweets. Failing to define exactly who you’re trying to reach could cost you time and money.
Be sure that your promoted tweets aren’t spammy. The goal is to provide value that establishes trust and credibility, not trick people into clicking a link.
Keep it fresh, make sure your promoted tweets don’t run for too long. If you want to continue to get that message across, find a slightly different way to say it.
13. Make sure Twitter is integrated with your other marketing efforts. Twitter, like other social media platforms, is much more effective when integrated with your other marketing activities. For example, if you’re running a promotion or contest on Twitter, let your email subscribers know about it, as they are another customer base who have already let you know that they want to receive messages from you. Inversely, by occasionally tweeting out the link to your mailing list, you can also tap your Twitter base into your email content.
14. Use Twitter analytics. Use Twitter’s native analytics daily to get a grasp on what’s resonating and what’s not with your audience once you’ve built it. In the analytics dashboard, you’ll be able to tell what your best days to tweet are, the types of content that are more favored and the demographics of the followers that you’re attracting,” she says. Then you can replicate what’s working and rework or reevaluate posts that aren’t.
There are two new LinkedIn sign ups every second. Now, it has over 414 million users, creating another social media giant.
Marketers love Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ and often ignore LinkedIn. However, LinkedIn is actually the ideal platform for B2B marketing.
1. Communicate the important details of your business right away
When filling out your company’s profile, be sure to say exactly what your company is, who your clients are and how you help them. The idea is to make it as quick and easy for customers to know — right up front — what you offer and why they should contact you. And be sure that your profile headline and photo reflect your company and project professionalism.
2. Share interesting, engaging information
One way to boost engagement among your connections is to get them talking about relevant and timely news in your industry. You can do this by sharing links to interesting stories and asking questions about the posts you share.
3. Include a call to action
An important goal with online networking is to convert connections into paying customers. One way to do this on LinkedIn is to create a unique “call to action.” Instead of simply filling in LinkedIn’s generic “my website” or “my blog” links on your profile page, take the extra step and tell visitors to click on your links. For instance, write: “Click here to (insert your product or service here).”
4. Create and participate in groups
Not only can creating and managing a group of your own provide you with a level of credibility, it can allow you to expand your network to reach targeted and influential individuals in your field. Research topics of interest within your industry and choose the top two or three as the basis for your group.
5. Showcase your products
Be sure to fill out the “Products and Services” section of your company page. Not only is this your opportunity to explain what you offer in a compelling way, individuals can recommend and share the products you list, becoming ambassadors for your brand.
6. Send targeted messages
Accessible from a LinkedIn Company Page, targeted status updates can be an effective way for business owners to tailor the content in their status updates to specific types of company followers. This helps ensure the right people are reading the most relevant messages from you at the right time.
7. Encourage employees to be on LinkedIn, too
One easy way to expand your company’s networking base is to encourage your employees to create and actively use LinkedIn profiles of their own. By connecting with your employees, you open your own network to their pool of second-degree connections — who can be valuable customers and clients you weren’t connected with before.
8. Optimize your profile for search
With hundreds of millions of people searching LinkedIn, you want your company’s profile to stand out. When crafting your profile language, be sure to include keywords that are related to your business and industry to help improve the chances of your name appearing in LinkedIn’s internal search results. Think of these keywords as the words a potential client would type in when searching LinkedIn.
9. Avoid buzzwords
If you’ve described your startup as “creative,” “effective” or “innovative,” you might want to consider using a different adjective. Clichés won’t help your profile stand out and might not accurately convey your professional identity on the site.
10. Get endorsements and recommendations
These are your customer testimonials on LinkedIn. You can ask customers to give you written recommendations or to simply endorse your company for its skills or expertise. It’s important to endorse others first and avoid sending a mass email to everyone in your network asking for an endorsement, which can be a turn off. Instead, try segmenting your network into different lists and writing a more personal note to a specific group.
If you don’t want to miss out on a lot of social media love, make sure to stay active on LinkedIn.
Marketers consider Google+’ as a great SEO platform. They even predicted its growing impact on social media, which came true.
Given how Google+ is backed up by the biggest search engine in the world and the effect of Google Authorship, it’s no surprise that it has become as big as it is today. It is now an engagement mine due to its collaboration with Hangouts.
1: Take Advantage of the YouTube Integration
If you have a YouTube channel but haven’t taken advantage of its relationship with Google+, you need to. Whether you’ve already established yourself on YouTube (or Google+), you’ll reach a wider audience when you use them in conjunction. Take advantage of the integration!
Share your YouTube videos on Google+ to reach more people and garner more engagement.
For example, when you share a YouTube video to Google+, users can view the video within Google+. Any comments on that Google+ share show up as comments on your YouTube video.
2: Increase Your Reach
Webinars are a powerful tool for building email lists and a loyal audience. Unfortunately, webinar software can be clunky and expensive. Google+ has an easy alternative.
Hangouts On Air provides a free video broadcasting service that lets you stream a live feed to your YouTube channel for recording, and of course is completely integrated with Google+.
google+ hangouts on air tab
Hangouts On Air lets you reach your Google+ and YouTube audiences, as well as record your session.
Why is it important to use? According to Stephan Hovnanian, using Hangouts On Air drastically increases your brand’s reach.
If you’re looking to build your own Hangouts On Air audience, I recommend visiting HOAShows and submitting your hangout to the directory. HOAShows is one of the more robust and regularly updated Hangouts On Air directories. (It’s also a great place to find other great Hangouts On Air.)
3: Keep the Conversation Going
With Google Drive, Google’s cloud-based file management and storage service, you can share an incredible amount of information with your Google+ audience, including presentation slideshows, PDFs and even password-protected documents.
Google Drive adds a new dimension to sharing your valuable content.
These supplemental documents (e.g., worksheets and notes with key takeaways) add significant value to your Hangouts On Air and can keep the conversation going after your event.
4: Store Your Pictures
How are you backing up the pictures from your phone? Did you know you can use Google+ to store your pictures for safekeeping? Google+ is a reliable way to store your pictures, and then delete them from your phone.
Once uploaded, you can highlight the important pictures, enhance them so they look better or create image galleries—and easily share all of them.
5: Extend the Life of Your Content
Google+ Embedded Posts is a cool feature that lets you share your Google+ posts on your blog.
The benefits of embedded posts are twofold. First, post content created within Google+ is eventually lost within the news stream. Embedding that same post on your blog extends the life of the content.
Share your content on Google+ and your blog for cross-platform engagement.
Second, Google+ content embedded on your blog is directly tied to your Google+ profile. If your readers are logged into their Google+ accounts, any +1s, shares or comments show on both your blog and your Google+ content.
6: Create Animated Videos with Photos
Videos are popular because they’re visually attractive and (usually) a quick way to consume content.
Google+’s Auto Awesome feature lets you create animated videos with photos, videos or both. It’s a really cool effect and has endless possibilities for video-minded marketers.
To create your video using Auto Awesome on Google+, you’ll need to download the Google+ app for your smartphone and make sure you have the correct settings enabled. Go into Settings > Camera Settings and turn on Auto Backup, Auto Awesome and Auto Enhance.
After taking your pictures, upload them to Google+, then wait a few minutes and check your photo album. Google will automatically make the video.
7: Take Full Advantage of Images
Visual content is the best way to catch your audience’s attention. Wouldn’t it be great if all social networks agreed to use the same dimensions for shared images? As it stands, we’re stuck formatting images to match the various dimensions for Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
The truth is, not every image we want to share fits within each restricted space. We’re forced to do one of three things to share images across platforms: crop or resize the image, share it and have it look odd or not share the image at all. None are ideal outcomes.
Google+ is different. It doesn’t auto-crop your images or require you to resize them before posting.
8: Format Your Posts
Readers want to consume as much information as they can in as little time as possible. Scannable content is a must if you want any social media marketing success at all.
LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook don’t let you format your post content. That means you can’t always draw your reader’s eye to the important parts of your post (e.g., links or media you’re promoting).
Google+, on the other hand, allows you to add simple variables such as “*” for bold and “_” for italics to quickly grab your readers’ attention. Post formatting helps your most valuable content stand out.
9: Use Relevant Hashtags
Just like Twitter and Instagram (and unlike Facebook), hashtags can have a notable impact on reaching a targeted audience on Google+. The Explore feature uses hashtags to help Google+ users quickly find and interact with topics they’re interested in.
Use Explore to find out which hashtags are trending.
When you create sharable content, check Explore to see how your topic relates to trending hashtags and use them if they apply. Or if you see a hashtag relevant to your brand or industry, create content around that topic and share it (including the hashtag, of course).
Whatever it is that you are trying to sell, say or do for the sake of marketing, make sure to stay active on these social media platforms.