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? We can help – first of all, make sure that you review Which social networks should my business use? (Part 1) to learn the four steps to choosing the right social network for your business. Next, we are going to talk about some of the top social networks and how to decide if they are right for your company. Let’s begin with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Active Users: 2.27 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. 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 updates such as longer posts, photos, videos, and links. The new Facebook Analytics gives you a lot more ways that you can measure your Facebook marketing success and day-to-day posts. Another recent win for Facebook marketers is that Facebook relaxed their rules on contests. Previously, any contests or giveaways had to be done via a third party app, making it more difficult for small business – not anymore!
Active Users: 326 Million
Especially Good for: Listening
Common Challenge: General lack of understanding by marketers, minimal use in rural areas
First and foremost, when choosing which social network(s) 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 for Twitter, and not just re-posted from Facebook. The use of hashtags, tweetchats, 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 stay on top of trends, opportunities, or customer service issues. To learn how to make the most out of Twitter, check out Twitter Terms, and 10 Twitter Time Savers.
Active Users: 500+ Million
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 they work for, 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 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.
Insider Tip: Hootsuite is a Social Media Dashboard that can help you to streamline your posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Although it is not best practice to post identical updates on all the social networks, some social media automation can be useful in certain circumstances.
Other Recommended Reading:
What is a Community Manager?
Don’t Fear the Social Media Policy
31 Ways to Re-purpose Blog Content for Social Media