Do you know which Social Media Platforms will help your brand the most?
There are a lot of different social media platforms and only so many hours in the day. So how do you know the best places to spend your valuable time? Well, that all depends on what you’re using social media for. Is it to promote your skills? Your business? Your site? Yourself? There are a lot of variables when it comes down to it, and choosing the wrong social media platforms just because you’re familiar with them will leave you spinning your wheels and frustrated. That’s why I’ve put together this handy guide for you to know where to focus your efforts to get the results you want.
Before we get into that though, we need to talk about why you should be taking advantage of social media.
This generation is the most plugged in of all time, which is a blessing and a curse. It means that it’s easier than ever to get information out there in front of millions of people. Of course, it also means that everyone and their brother can do the same thing. So, while it’s easy to get you or your business out there, it’s hard to make sure you capture the attention of the people. So, you need to choose your battles wisely. Go where you will be able to gain a foothold. What do you do when you get there? Well, that’s a conversation for another day. First, let’s get you on the social media platforms you need to be on. And yes, there was an “s” at the end of that.
Nearly a decade later and Facebook is still at the head of the pack. No matter what it is you’re selling, Facebook is a place you need to be. That being said, it’s also a very crowded place. So, you have to be careful with how you use it. For one thing, consistency is king. You have to make sure you’re regularly updating your page (at least 2 posts per day is recommended). If people visit it and see your last post was weeks ago, there’s no reason to follow you for updates. However, you don’t always want to be tooting your own horn. Facebook is about building a community around your marketing. So, share interesting articles relating to your business. Post pictures and videos. Don’t always talk about yourself, but always try to get the people following to stay interested in you.
Twitter is one of the big three social media platforms. It’s easy to set up, but hard to maintain. There are a ton of people on Twitter, but all of them are talking. So, if you’re going to use it, you need to have something to say and time to devote to conversations. If you have a business, Twitter is the best way for you to handle customer service. Often when people have a gripe with a business they’ll get on there to complain about it. If you’re on there, you can be on the front lines and know what people are saying, and be able to take the necessary steps to fix problems before they get out of hand. It’s also great if you have a site or blog that you update regularly. Twitter is the place where you go to talk to the people you sell to and the people who influence the people you sell to. If you don’t have the time to watch it properly and tweet 3-5 times a day, then there might be better places for you.
Instagram is very much the image equivalent of Twitter. It will let you find customers through hashtags and the people they are interested in hearing from the most. That means that is a social media platform for people who have compelling visuals to share. If you’re an artist, aspiring celebrity, restaurant, or any other business that can frequently come up with new and compelling pictures to share, this is the place for you. If you’re a law firm or account, this might not be a platform worth the time it would take to invest in it. Instagram is a place for creativity. You have to know what it is your audience or customers are interested in seeing and be able to keep giving them what they want. If you’re an artist, share sketches. If you’re a restaurant, share pictures of your daily specials. If you’re a life coach, share motivational posts with pretty backgrounds. There are a lot of possibilities, but it’s not exactly a suit and tie social media platform.
This on the other hand is. Linkedin might seem a bit dry and boring, but if you’re a business or a professional, you have to be on it. More often than not, your company’s Linkedin profile will come up in a Google search before your official website does. Now the secret to taking advantage of this social media platform is being able to establish yourself as a reliable source of professional information. So, if you write articles that have merit when it comes to businesses or developing professional skills, this is a great way for you to get some eyes on yourself and your company. Of course, there is room for creative types on there, but you need to use it to provide professional insight to people in your industry. Don’t use it to promote yourself, use it to establish yourself as someone with valuable knowledge other professionals can trust and will want to seek out.
Youtube is a great place to get exposure. There are people who make millions of dollars a year simply being “Youtube Professionals.” Like Instagram, it’s a visually driven site. However, it’s a site that any business can take advantage of if you have the time to devote to it. Businesses can share videos about their products. Artists can share tutorials and videos of their process. Bloggers can share videos of them talking about their most recent articles. It’s a tremendous social media platform if you have the time to devote to it. Like Facebook, consistency is key. That doesn’t mean you have to post multiple videos each day, but you need to have a schedule that you can stick to. It’s a great way to get creative and promote yourself and share information with an audience. Think of it like a site made for you to post commercials or your own personal show on. After all, it’s got more active viewers on it than cable.
Who uses Google+? Well, if you have a physical business that customers visit, you do. Google+ is a lot like Facebook, but it has a lot of advantages over the big dog in some cases. For one thing, it gives you SEO advantages (search engine optimization). Which means that when people are looking for your business specifically they are likely to find it. More importantly, how often have you wanted to find, say, an ice cream parlor near you and just typed it into Google to see what was near you? Well, Google+ helps you come up as one of the options. The best part is that you can keep it short and sweet while using it. Posts can just be photos of your business or 100 characters or less in length. It’s a very easy social media platform to use, but it’s a crucial one for physical businesses to have.
Snapchat’s just for kids, right? Well, would it surprise you to know that half the users are over 25? It might not seem like it, but there is a lot of potential to get your business some exposure through Snapchat. It’s mostly used for storytelling, which a lot of companies can use to their advantage. Show your viewers some behind the scenes of life in your business or give them an advance preview of your new product. If you own a bar, share some of your favorite customers toasting your fans. If you own a restaurant show your chef making the day’s special. If you own a small business selling a product, share a coupon that’s good for that day only. The only thing is that you need to make sure you share the content you create within 24 hours. However, what you create on Snapchat can be posted to other social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.
Pinterest is often a very under utilized site. However, it serves a very specific purpose for a very specific audience. Most users are women and on the site for social discovery. Meaning they are looking for do it yourself projects, recipes, how to’s, etc. It might not sound like a place for a business to gain a foothold, but there is a lot of opportunity with the right amount of creativity. Say you’re a grocery store specializing in organic food, creating a page (what Pinterest calls “boards”) to share healthy recipes using ingredients you sell can get your name passed around. The same goes for an artist who wants to share tutorials or some of their art. If you are a life coach, you can share motivational quotes that people might want to share. Like Instagram, it’s very image focused, but there is a lot of room for certain business to grow their brand. Especially if you can share something of value that indirectly promotes your business.
Those are some of the big social media platforms out there with a bit of information on how you can take advantage of them. The key is not to spread yourself too thin. If you think you could succeed on all of them, stop before you start signing up. Each one is going to require time and effort to maintain, and if you’re running a business or getting your career started, you might not have the availability to maintain a presence on all of them. A good rule of thumb is to get on 2-3 at first and share similar (or the same) content across all of them. Photos from Instagram can of on Google+. Videos from Youtube can go on Facebook. You get the idea.
If you don’t have a ton of free time or the ability to hire someone to help you with a lot of social media platforms, it can be dangerous to get on too many at once. Start with Facebook, and depending on what your purpose is, go from there. Artists should be on Instagram. Businesses should be on Google+ and probably Twitter. It can be exciting seeing all these new prospective ways to market yourself, but if you’re doing it all yourself, take it slow and make sure you’re steady.
Photo by Jason A. Howie