For most businesses, social media is an important part of their marketing. But new businesses, growing businesses or those who haven’t jumped in yet may be wondering where to start or how to expand their social media presence.
How to Choose the Right Social Networks for your Business:
- Identify Goals – Determine what your company goals are. Are you trying to expand your current network and gain new customers? Reach new markets? Build customer loyalty and referrals? Monitor your brand online? Get nationwide exposure? Start with your overall business goals and marketing goals in mind.
- Locate where your Customers are – Next, find out where your customers and industry players hang out online. If you are not sure, do some research – ask your customers individually or survey them as a group to get some insight. You could also use the search features within different social networks to see if people are talking about your topics. Setting up Google Alerts for your brand, products, company name, or industry is another way to get a feel for where conversations are happening across the web.
- Consider the Content – What type of content does your company create or plan on creating? Is it easy to get photos or videos of your products, services, or of something interesting that relates to your business? In most cases, a mix of content can help you to get the most exposure and engagement. But when you really excel with certain content, it will help you pinpoint some social networks that will help you best use your marketing communications.
- Prioritize – Now that you have a list of some great choices for your business on social media, prioritize and determine how much time and resources you have for social media marketing, or if you will outsource or hire a Community Manager. If your time and resources are limited, focus on which 1-2 social network(s) can help you create the best results and give them your all! Remember, with all social networks, your work is not done once the account is set up. Social media marketing requires an ongoing commitment of listening, engaging, and strategy in order to see results.
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Choose your Social Media Channels Wisely
Your marketing team has decided to take the plunge into social media. But with hundreds of social networks to choose from, where do you start? Next, we are going to talk about some of the top social networks and how to decide if they are right for your company.
Active Users: 2.38 Billion
Especially Good for: Engaging with your customers as easily and widely as possible
Common Challenge: Creating content that is engaging enough to be seen in the newsfeed
Most companies choose to start with a Facebook page when first diving into social media. With the biggest amount of users, many companies (especially B-to-C businesses) will find that this is where their customers are. Facebook fan pages are set up so that the individual needs to “Like” your brand or companies Facebook page. Clicking the “Like” button does take a certain level of commitment from your fans, as compared to “followers” on Twitter that may come more easily. Facebook is typically for networks of people that you already know, so expect to work hard for your “Likes” as you build your community on Facebook. On Facebook, you can post a variety of updates such as longer posts, photos, videos, and links. Facebook Analytics gives you a lot more ways than you can measure your Facebook marketing success and day-to-day posts. Paid Facebook advertising is a great way to get in reach potential new customers and there are numerous targeting and re-targeting options.
Active Users: 1.9 billion monthly logged-in users
Especially Good for: Telling relatable stories, educating, or entertaining through video
Common Challenge: Creating engaging videos on a consistent basis
YouTube is owned by Google, so there is no doubt that videos on YouTube are getting attention by the super-search engine. But video is also a powerful social media marketing force because there is so much you can show in a video when a photo or text doesn’t quite cut it. With a mobile device, we can all easily create, publish and view videos wherever we are without fancy photo gear. If you are unsure about how to market your business or products via YouTube videos, here are some great ideas to get you started.
Active Users: 1 billion monthly active users
Especially Good for: Telling a visual story to younger demographic
Common Challenge: It is virtually still “new” to marketers
Instagram for Business is primarily a mobile photography app for people and brands to share photos, videos, or stories (stories are similar to Snapchat stories). Owned by Facebook, people or brands can “follow” your Instagram profile to see your photo posts in their feed. Using hashtags with your photos is important to get found by a new audience. If you have a business that has a story that can be told with pictures, and your target market is under age 40, Instagram could be a great place to show another side of your business. With 23 different filters that can be added to your photos, and longer-form videos through IGTV, Instagram is growing quickly and brands are catching on to how they can create a visual marketing strategy.
Active Users: 321 Million (declining)
Especially Good for: Listening
Common Challenge: General lack of understanding by marketers, minimal use in rural areas
First and foremost, when choosing which social media network to promote your company on, you need to be where your customers are. If your business if very regional (especially rural areas), you may find that people in your demographic area are not on Twitter. But if you are trying to expand your business nationwide, or even more in the metro areas, Twitter could be an important place to connect with people. With just 140 characters (can include links, photos, and videos), using Twitter is much different than Facebook or any other social network for that matter. A best practice with Twitter is that most tweets need to be written specifically for Twitter, and not just re-posted from Facebook. The use of hashtags, tweet chats, and lists make Twitter a great tool for building new contacts beyond your existing network. Twitter is also a great place for listening. You can easily monitor conversations on Twitter about your industry, brand, or products, allowing you to stay on top of trends, opportunities, or customer service issues. To learn how to make the most out of Twitter, check out Twitter Terms.
Active Users: 575+ Million Users
Especially Good for: Professional Networking, B-to-B
Common Challenge: Maximizing potential with company-wide utilization
LinkedIn is the social network for professionals (if you are reading this, that is you!). Many companies who sell B-to-B have had a lot of success with using LinkedIn as a marketing tool. LinkedIn Company profiles can help distinguish your company a leader in the industry, with the company’s employees (who are on LinkedIn) tied to it. Anyone on LinkedIn can choose to “follow” a company so that the company’s updates (which can include links, photos, documents) are in their newsfeed. Employee’s individual profiles can also be a way to promote the company using social selling, so often starting with an internal campaign to get more of your staff to enhance their LinkedIn profile and use LinkedIn as a networking tool can help promote the company as well.
Common Sense Tip: If you are considering any social networks, be sure that you have a personal account first. Anyone who is managing a social media presence needs to be using it personally to truly understand how it works and how to best use it to build personal relationships.
Users: 250 Million (81% women)
Especially Good for: Using compelling images to drive traffic to great content
Common Challenge: Finding or creating engaging images to match content
Like Instagram, Pinterest is a very visual social media channel, but more addicting because images are organized by boards (interests) and lead to more content on the web. Brands and companies with products and services that match the Pinterest demographic, and have great content and visuals, could find Pinterest be a significant traffic generator. Again, hashtags play a big role in getting found on Pinterest. Before starting your company’s Pinterest page, here are 10 great questions to ask first.
Do you need help creating a social media strategy or managing your company’s social media presence? Vivid Image has professionals that specialize in content writing, social media marketing, paid social media advertising, and more. Let’s rethink your marketing together – contact us here!