With all the social media options out there, how does a business owner know where to be and where to direct its valuable resources? Not all mediums are created equal, and some work much more effectively than others depending on your product or service.
The top social media channels are:
YouTube – YouTube videos are a cheap, fun, and effective way to market your business — they offer you a lot of potential bang for your (pretty small) buck, says Michael Miller, author of YouTube For Business. “You can reach tens of millions of people with online videos, and it costs absolutely nothing to put them up.” And all it takes is a video camera and a plan. James A. Martin provides more data on why it’s an important part of your marketing plan in his article, YouTube Marketing Tips for Small Business, saying:
“Many businesses place a hyperlink to their website at the end of a YouTube ad or video. Visitors who go to a brand’s site after viewing its YouTube video or ad are twice as likely to convert into customers as those who arrive from other sites, he said. Also, those visitors are likely to ‘spend more money, more often’ with a brand after watching its YouTube spot.
YouTube marketing is also a more consistent way to reach targeted audiences. Google constantly changes its search engine algorithms, and “one small change” can ruin your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.”
Facebook – According to Social Media Today, in Will Your Business Facebook Account Matter in 2015?:
As of September 2014, Facebook had 1.35 billion active users and the ages of users are increasing, which is great for those marketing to a wider age demographic.
1. Don’t Create Content that Sounds Like You’re Overselling. One thing that is going out of style is overselling on Facebook. You might think you need to come across as selling something so people don’t misunderstand your intentions.
2. Offer Valuable and Quality Content to Users. You need to make sure you are always providing your followers with valuable information, as well as fun, interactive content.
3. Share and Create Videos for Facebook. After implementing the auto-play feature, Facebook saw an increase in the amount of people who viewed videos, which shows that creating or sharing video content is important for your business.
4. Don’t Hesitate to Use Ads. While it might be frustrating, Facebook’s paid ads are an important part of Facebook marketing in 2015. Since this channel has a wide range of users, this gives you the chance to reach out to people either in your area or around the world if you have an Internet-based operation.
Twitter – In 3 Ways To (Seriously) Leverage Twitter For Business In 2015, Reginald Chan expounds on the benefits of Twitter:
For those who believe that Twitter will be left out in the social media rat race in 2015, you’ll be disappointed. According to Jeff Bullas, there are over 241 million monthly users on Twitter and the figures are just continuing to increase by the day. Twitter is used by not only bloggers and influencers like Jeff Bullas but as well as top level brands. Namely Virgin Airlines and Nike.
1. Monitoring the current trends: Twitter makes it really to monitor the current, trending trends.
2. Twitter as an engagement tool. Twitter is often considered as a real-time engagement model. This means that people would use Twitter to engage with brands.
3. Using Twitter to analyze your followers (target market). Twitter Analytics is a free and powerful tool to find new target markets.
LinkedIn – As I recently outlined on my own blog related to the legal industry, but certainly also applicable to all businesses, LinkedIn is the largest professional social network online today with 259 million users and a targeted audience of business professionals. If you are a business professional and you do not have a powerful presence on LinkedIn, you are undoubtedly missing valuable opportunities to connect and grow your business.
Instagram and Pinterest: While more specialized, Brittney Helmrich of Business News Daily provides the cases for Instagram and Pinterest in Instagram for Business: Everything You Need to Know and Pinterest for Business: Everything You Need to Know, with information about what to consider for businesses in retail and with products that have a strong visual component.
So the data definitely supports the benefits to becoming active, but with so many channels to choose from…how do you determine which are right for you?
Hubspot offers an excellent (and free… don’t walk, run to download), “Online Marketing Opportunity Report”, recommending that you should first start with a strategy. You realistically can’t – and shouldn’t be – everywhere. The report gives specific data on 33 distinct industries and what the social media activity is in each. Your strategy should include the following:
1. Determine where the conversation in happening;
2. Measure detailed activity and the competition;
3. Formulate a strategy for each channel.
It’s well worth the effort to strategically evaluate where your resources should be focused. Most importantly though, once they are determined, to gain ROI you must go beyond just pushing out your company news – you must converse, engage and enrapture. And you must do so regularly.
After all, it’s called social media for a reason… because for it to work it must be “social.” So go for it, and have fun…you have a great opportunity to show your personality and gain attention for what makes your business unique!