Choosing the Best social Media Platforms for Your Business

December 18, 2016

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and all the others can provide you with excellent options for reaching potential clients. However, with so many other companies and individuals trying to do the same thing, your company’s message can get lost in the crowd.

If you’re trying to figure out which social media platform is the best for your business, here are the most important ones to consider:

Facebook

Facebook is still the leading social media platform, but it’s become more of an advertising platform than a way to organically reach new people. However, it’s very useful to use to build customer loyalty, and you can establish yourself as an authority by sharing interesting, informational, and relevant content. On Facebook, short videos are the most effective, followed by images. People want to learn about other people on Facebook, so you need to make your brand as personable as possible.

YouTube

YouTube is all about the interesting and new, but presented in video format. The beauty of YouTube is that anyone can start a channel and upload videos at any time. The bad news is that there is so much competition that it can be hard to get noticed. However, creating videos for YouTube can give you content to post to your other social media accounts.

Twitter

Twitter is the place for people to share breaking news, instant feedback, short-form content, quick updates, promotions, contests, and viral content. Using hashtags (your own and popular ones) will allow you to engage with people around the world. It’s a highly effective online publicity platform, but it’s not as effective at promoting customer interaction.

Pinterest

With Pinterest, it’s all about the visuals. Pinterest users will share beautiful images, many of which are linked to products. Pinterest is like an online scrapbook where people showcase products and display the “essence” of their brands through visual creations and “inspiration boards”. To use Pinterest, you need to have someone who can create beautiful branded images. Integrating a call to action into your Pins will increase customer reactions. Best of all, you can micro-target your promotions and campaigns.

Google+

Google+ is a Facebook wannabe, one that encourages building an audience and brand loyalty. However, the beauty of Google+ is that it’s not as over-used as Facebook, and it can do wonders for your Google SEO ranking. Posting content to Google+ can be a good way to reach a whole audience of people who never use their Facebook accounts.

You need to use each social media platform the way it was designed to be used if you want to see results!

Social media can be a highly valuable tool for your company if used right, or a giant time-waster if not. Knowing how to use social media correctly can make all the difference! Here are a few tips to help you maximize your social media use:

Know your platform

Twitter is used for VERY short-form content, Instagram is all about visually appealing images, and YouTube is for engaging long-form content. When posting to social media platforms, make sure you’re posting content that suits the audience.

Plan first

Never jump into a campaign without a plan. Sit down and create a comprehensive social media marketing plan before the campaign begins. It can help you increase your chances for success, as well as prepare you to analyze the good/bad of your plan.

Engage

The truly effective way to reach more people is to engage with them. Always be ready to reply to comments, thank people for participating, and listen to what people have to say. The more you engage, the better!

Monitor your efforts

You’ve come up with a social media plan, but you have to be ready to adjust or flex as needed. The only way to know if it’s needed is to monitor your efforts. That means tracking/analyzing your social media progress to determine if it’s having the desired results. Change as the situation merits!

Take advantage of automation

Twitter and Facebook both have automation options, and you can find tools like Hootsuite and Buffer to help you schedule content ahead of time. Automation can help to streamline the process!
Target your audience – Know who your audience is, and make sure your posts reach them! The narrower your audience, the greater the chance that you’ll reach the right people with your content.

Maximize ROI

Don’t spend time posting across all platforms if only a few platforms yield the results you want. Make sure your efforts are concentrated on the social media channels that work best for you.

Be smart with hashtags

Used right, hashtags can be a great way to track your engagement. Used incorrectly, they can clutter up your content and annoy people.

Organize yourself

Part of the social media plan should be to draft a calendar that helps you to keep track of everything you are posting and when.

Advertise

It’s worth spending a bit of money on advertising via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media channels. The ad money will often yield a higher ROI than with Google AdWords marketing!

The internet is one of your best and most cost-effective tools for marketing. However, to use it right, you need to understand the mentality of the average web user. For most people, it’s all about finding the most appealing, concise, and easily accessible information and solutions to their problems. The vast majority of the younger web users prefer images and videos to written content. If you’re trying to reach that younger audience, you need to use video marketing!

Video marketing is effective for the simple reason that EVERYONE loves well-made, clever, and interesting videos. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, videos are worth far, far more. You can deliver a powerful, engaging, funny, clever, or interesting message in a matter of seconds using video. You can also tell a story to entice web surfers to click on your link and see what more you have to say. Well-made videos can stop any casual web surfer in their tracks, perhaps even long enough to get them interested in your product or service.

Video marketing is also effective because it’s entertaining. Go to YouTube, and you’ll find HUNDREDS of videos on every topic under the sun. Many of them are created to make you laugh, cry, think, and be interested in something new. Videos present important information in an entertaining way. People love to be entertained, and it can make learning a whole lot more enjoyable. You can teach useful things through the medium of entertainment.

Best of all, video marketing is available to anyone. You don’t have to be an internet marketing genius to use video marketing. All you have to do is know how to make a good video. That may mean hiring a video expert to help you create something informational, engaging, and entertaining. Once you have the video, you can post it to your website, blog, social media accounts, and even a YouTube channel. If the video is well-made and engaging, it has a much better chance of being shared around.

Videos tend to “go viral” (being shared all over the internet) much more often than written articles. Viral videos can get millions of views in a very short amount of time. If you’re the one who created the video, all those viewers will link the video to your company/business. The viral nature of the video means thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people around the world will find out about you and what you have to offer.

The truth is that video marketing is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal. If you want to reach the widest audience possible, it’s worth investing in making videos that entertain, educate, and engage in a clever, interesting, and animated way!

Social media has changed the marketing game forever! Where marketing and advertising once involved spending millions of dollars on physical ads (newspapers, magazines, etc.), now you can spend far less and make your ad visible across the world courtesy of social media. Social media is a cost-effective solution that allows you to reach the people YOU want to reach.

If you’re considering marketing via social media, it’s a good idea to consider Facebook. Here are a few reasons why Facebook offers the most effective option for your company’s marketing strategy:

Targeted advertising

Facebook Ads can be sent to as broad or narrow an audience as you want. Facebook has access to a wealth of personal information on each person, including location, age, sex, work history, social circles, marital status, likes, dislikes, and the list goes on. Facebook allows you to set dozens of filters to ensure that your ad ONLY reaches the people it’s intended for.

Affordable costs

Facebook advertisements tend to be far more cost-effective than Google Ads. The cost per click through is about the same as Google Ads, but people are more likely to perceive Facebook ads positively. After all, they’re on social media to relax, so they associate the things they see on social media more positively. You’d be amazed by how many impressions a mere $5 to $50 per day can get your advertisement!

Increased connectivity

Advertising on Google or even physical ads are intended to put your product in front of the right people. However, Facebook ads allow you to connect with your customer base. The interactivity features are built into the social media platform, and people are encouraged to share, like, and comment. You’ll find that Facebook offers better engagement with clients, suppliers, fans, and customers. It’s a way to build a following rather than just have people buy your products.

Easy tracking of metrics

With billboard ads, you have no idea how many people you reach. Google Ads provide you with detailed metrics on your performance, but Facebook delivers real-time analytics to help you track and improve the reach of each advertisement you run. You can make adjustments to the ad while they’re running, or learn from each ad to improve the next one. For marketers who want to stay on top of the game, Facebook is the detailed tool of choice.

Make no mistake:

Facebook knows it’s one of the best marketing platforms, so it will continue to make changes to their platform that encourages paid marketing over free. However, if you can learn to use Facebook effectively, you’ll find that spending even a small amount on the ads and marketing options is a great way to reach a broader audience and get your message across efficiently.

You’d be amazed by how many people use social media incorrectly. They post content that tries to hit “everyone”, without any sort of targeting or strategy to reach the demographic best-suited for their product. If you’re serious about using social media to reach your target market, you can’t just post whatever springs to mind. You need to come up with a plan, targeted content that is visually appealing, and learn the ins and outs of the various forms of social media marketing. That is the only way you’re going to read that audience!

Here’s what you need to know:

Step 1: Choose the right platform.

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube all offer access to a different target audience. Pinterest is more popular among women, Facebook is more commonly used by businesses, and Twitter is the short-form social media for busy people on the go. Understanding what each platform offers—mainly in the demographics that frequently use the platform—is the first step toward using your social media effectively.

Step 2: Learn the ins and outs.

Learn how using the right hashtags can make your Twitter posts more engaging and reach a broader audience. Learn how Facebook Ads effectively help you to put your published content in front of the right people. Learn what sort of YouTube videos are most effective for promoting your content. The more you learn about the platform, the more easily you’ll be able to plan the marketing strategy.

Step 3: Learn more than one.

Sticking with just one social media network isn’t going to get you the results you want. You need to learn to use multiple networks, and learn how they can cross-promote each other. Twitter posts can be automatically posted to Facebook and vice versa, or short YouTube videos can make your Facebook feed more engaging. Instagram photos will do well on Facebook and Twitter. Learn at least three or four of the primary social networks, and you’ll have a better reach!

Step 4: Be engaging.

The primary purpose of your content is to get people to stop what they’re doing and focus on what you have to say/share. Your content needs to be visually appealing, offer entertainment or real value, but most important of all get people engaged. Ask a question, offer advice that’s likely to be shared, or solicit your readers’ opinions. The more people engage with your posts, the more likely they will be to engage with the posts marketing and selling your product or service.

Step 5: Give something special.

Your social media followers want to feel they’re getting something special for their interaction with you. Offer them discounts, special deals, or coupons as a reward for their engagement. This offers them value, which in turn increases future engagement.

Since 2010, the world of internet marketing has exploded. A significant number of companies and small businesses have changed their marketing approach and relied entirely upon social media for their advertising and outreach. 2017 is one of the best years for social media marketing yet, but are you using social media the right way?

In the last few years, paid advertising has been the key to expanding your reach and putting your content in front of more eyeballs. Paid advertising is still a highly effective option in 2017—you may want to invest money into highly visual Facebook ads and target customers on YouTube with smart video advertisements. However, for more effective social media marketing, you need to focus on your message.

People often overlook or skip past the “Sponsored” posts on Facebook, or click away from videos that are too ad-heavy on YouTube. The Twitter or Instagram posts with too many marketing hashtags will annoy people if there is nothing else useful included. Instead of spending your money on blasting your content over social media, focus on making that content higher quality.

Remember: social media is about ENGAGEMENT. The more people you get to join in your conversation, the more reach and influence you have. Your content should ask questions, provide answers and solutions, or present food for thought in a way that your audience will respond to. Even something as simple as a poll to get people’s opinions can be a highly effective way to get your followers to click or share your content.

The majority of your investment should go toward producing high-quality content: articles, blog posts, images, and videos people will WANT to check out. If they find it interesting, they’re much more likely to share it. That word of mouth is going to lead to a far better reach than anything you could achieve through paid advertising.

Yes, you will want to continue setting aside a portion of your advertising and marketing budget to take advantage of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube’s paid options. They are a sound investment that are very likely to return good ROI (Return on Investment). However, make sure that the content you’re promoting is of the highest quality and has a good chance of engaging those who see it. Eventually, you may find that you don’t need to spend as much money on advertising because your organic reach is sufficient to spread your message far and wide.

Twitter is so much more than “just another social media platform”. It’s actually one of the best platforms to use for business, as it offers a broader yet more targeted reach than any other social media network. With 300+ million users and 500 million Tweets sent per day, it’s a small business’ most valuable tool for expanding your audience.

Why is that?

Your competition is using it.

You can find your competitor brands on Twitter, and the last thing you want is to be left behind!

It’s quick and easy.

All you have to do is type up your message in 140 characters and hit the Tweet button. You can share info about a new product, offer a discount, or announce big changes easily.

It offers better visibility.

To get hundreds or even thousands more people to see your content, all you have to do is use the right hashtags. Hashtags increase the visibility of your post beyond your immediate network. If used correctly, they can help you reach a much broader audience than you ever could on your own.

It’s good for your brand.

Any business that isn’t on at least Twitter and Facebook are “behind” and “antiquated”. To stay relevant and modern, you need to be using social media networks—even if you don’t master them, at least use them!

You can stay on top of trends.

Want to find out what’s “in” or trending? Use Twitter Search to help you find out what people are saying about a certain topic. Get in on the conversation or create content that makes you relevant. It’s a great way to ensure you stay in touch with the world around you.

It’s great for networking.

You can talk to anyone in the world just by tweeting to them. There are no limits on reach, so you may find a broad range of opportunities you’d never have found otherwise. All you have to do is keep your eyes open and think creatively.

You can be smart with your communication.

Instead of spamming your social media with useless content, Twitter enables you to start a two-way dialogue with people. You can make jokes, share interesting content, or talk to people directly. You’ll find it will help you to refine your brand and message!

If used correctly, Twitter can be your most effective tool for engaging with your customers and followers. Be smart with your Twitter use, and it will help you to improve your brand and message.

Social media isn’t easy; in fact, it’s a lot harder than you’d think! Being savvy with your social media marketing means learning how to navigate each platform according to its design, features, and user base. If you want to succeed, here are some mistakes you’d do well to avoid:

Giving up too soon.

It’s tough to learn social media, so it may not seem worth the time invested. Oh, so wrong! Social media marketing is currently among the most lucrative and offers a high ROI if done right. Just setting up the accounts isn’t enough—you have to make sure to spend time on your social media accounts every day.

ONLY marketing.

If someone only tried to sell you their product every time you saw them, you’d get sick of them pretty quickly. That’s the same with social media! You can’t just focus on marketing, but you need to engage with your followers and fans with high-quality content. Keep your marketing to less than 10% of your total posts, and you’ll avoid irritating your fans.

Sticking with what works.

If you do the same thing day after day, eventually people will get tired of what you have to say. You need to keep updating content and changing your tactics. Social media is always changing and growing, and it’s vital that you stay current in order to stay relevant.

Cross-posting incorrectly.

Facebook is designed for longer-form content, Twitter is short and snappy, and Instagram is all about the images. Each platform has its uses. You can cross-post content, but it has to be done right or else you’ll irritate your readers. It’s worth taking the time to tailor each post to the specific platform you’re posting to.

Over-automating.

There’s something to be said for using Buffer, Hootsuite, and other automation services for posting. However, if used incorrectly, it can be irritating for your readers and cause them to “unfollow” or hide your content. Plus, automated content doesn’t feel personal—it’s more like a business doing their duty rather than giving interesting, quality content to engage with.

Posting too often or not often enough.

Both are just as bad! You want to engage with your followers daily, but don’t overwhelm them with content and posts. Ghosting your followers will cause them to forget about you.

Posting “viral” but irrelevant content.

Just because an image, meme, video, or GIF is going viral, that doesn’t mean you have to share to get in on the buzz. Make sure everything you post is relevant to your brand!

The day of long-winded, text-heavy articles is coming to an end; now, people want to SEE rather than read. They say that an “image is worth 1,000 words”. Thanks to Instagram, a well-crafted image can be worth a whole lot more!

Instagram is a photo-based platform that allows you to share images, GIFs, and videos, using the same hashtags that make Twitter one of the best social media platforms for visibility. It’s a platform that you should definitely be using for a number of reasons:

Interconnectivity.

Anything you post to Instagram can automatically be posted to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. It’s a simple one-click platform that will allow you to spread your images far and wide.

Younger audience.

The average user on Instagram is between the age of 18 and 45, with more than 50% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 owning an Instagram account and using the app regularly. If your product or service caters to the young, trendy, and tech-savvy, you NEED to be on Instagram to find your target audience where they’re at.

Massive user base.

Facebook and Twitter still have the largest user base, but Instagram hit 600 million accounts in late 2016. That’s an enormous number of people taking advantage of the photo-based platform to share their content! It’s also one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, with new updates and upgrades on a regular basis.

User-friendly design.

And by this, we don’t mean you, the marketer. We’re talking the users who browse Instagram to find new and interesting content. The layout of the app makes it incredibly easy for users to get access to content from all around the world, not just within their network of friends and contacts. Anyone can access any public Instagram account, giving you a much larger platform to work from.

Better engagement.

With Facebook, you have to spend money to make your posts visible. On Instagram, everything is visible to everyone. The number of user comments is also much higher on Instagram, leading to better engagement with followers and strangers. People are also more likely to follow an account that hooks them, as well as give a “Like” to great images.

Instagram has its pros and cons as far as social media marketing platforms go, but any smart marketer will take advantage of the benefits it offers. You’ll find that Instagram can provide you a much more efficient way to reach your target audience!

The addition of videos to Facebook revolutionized the way brands and companies can reach new fans and followers. Now, you can give people interesting, valuable content in the form of a short, snappy video. If a picture says 1,000 words, a video is worth a whole lot more.

Here are some tips to help you use Facebook Videos that will serve your brand:

Launch a product

If you’re doing a physical product launch, use Facebook Live to show people what’s going on during the launch. Even if they can’t be there physically, your fans will be able to enjoy the experience from the comfort of their home and still feel like they’re part of the buzzy new product.

Take them behind the scenes

People love to feel like they’re getting something special or exclusive. To make your fans feel special, take them behind the scenes of your business operations, your new product, or some special event.

Interact with customers

Facebook Live allows you to interact with customers and followers in real time, answering questions, giving information, and even sharing tutorials and how-to’s. The more you interact with people, the better!

Interview someone interesting

Give your Facebook fans the chance to hear from someone else: an expert in their field, a celebrity, or someone else who will pique their interest. Interviews can be fascinating and provide a lot of value in just a few minutes of video.

Surprise people with a sale or promotion

Videos are a great way to get people interested in sales and promotions, and you can share a lot of info in a few seconds or minutes. Plus, you’ll find people are far more likely to share the videos to others they believe will be interested in the sale or promo opportunity.

Tell a story

People connect with stories more than they do anything else! Use your Facebook platform to tell stories: of people whose lives have been improved or changed by your products, funny and interesting things that happened to your company, or the process of creating a new brand or product. Stories are always more interesting than marketing content or product feature lists.

Discuss current events

There will always be something happening in the world around you, and Facebook Videos give you a chance to discuss them at length. Trending issues change on a daily basis, so make sure to “strike while the iron is hot” and get those videos uploaded before something else becomes more relevant.

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