Which social media channel is best for your business?
Running your business takes a whole range of skills and expertise. You may have set out thinking that your passion, the thing that you excel at, could make you a living but it doesnâ€™t take long to realise that doing what you love also entails accounting, meetings, marketing, salesâ€¦â€¦
Add into the mix the world of social media marketing and some business owners throw their hands up into the air: how do you â€śdoâ€ť social media, what do you say, how often do you update it, which platform is best for your business and how on earth do you keep up with such a fast moving market place?
The one universal truth about social media marketing is that there is no one universal truth – no one rule fits all. Your business is unique and therefore your marketing efforts, whether they remain in the traditional marketing realm or embrace that of digital media, need to be bespoke to your business and your target audience.
Which doesnâ€™t help you answer any of those questions above does it?
Letâ€™s just pluck one of those questions out, the one that does have the most generic rules: which platform, or social media channel is best for your business?
Which social media channel is best for your business? The Top Four:
Facebook? Facebook has by the far the biggest number of active users; of any social media platform; in the world. So it kind of makes sense to have a business Facebook page and update here â€“ after all, in theory your messages will be placed in front of the biggest number of people. In practice, unless you are prepared to pay for â€śsponsoredâ€ť stories, your Facebook marketing efforts may yield little return.
Facebook suits business owners who are already happy using it in a personal capacity. It works well for businesses who are able to update regularly with interesting articles, videos and images. Facebook users are most active out of office hours, logging in before and after work and at the weekends; they are predominantly over here for leisure time, so if you are sharing tips on tax returns, or the latest accounting software, you are less likely to do as well as a company sharing images of gorgeous babies in their new knitwear range. And whilst puppies and kittens are some of the most shared posts on Facebook, the posts still need to have relevancy and reflect you professionally.
Twitter? Twitter can seem like an incredibly busy and noisy place â€“ the inner city of the social media world, all hustle and bustle. How can you use this and be heard? It may seem contradictory, Twitter being all about speed, but to make your mark here you need to build up slowly and be in it for the long haul. Twitter has, once again, got into bed with Google who have announced they will be indexing tweets. What does this mean? It means that Twitter will become important for search â€“ if you have a professional Twitter account your tweets could come up in a Google search when someone is looking for the services that you provide.
This can be a great place not only for prospects to find you but for you to find, and reach out to them. Twitter has great market research abilities, something often over looked by businesses, and offers you the chance to interact with industry leaders that you may never get to meet in your ordinary working life. However, it takes commitment and time â€“ if you receive a message on Twitter you cannot leave it for a few days before replying â€“ you need to be on top of this platform.
LinkedIn? Whereas Facebook is for hanging out and having fun, when using LinkedIn you should always be wearing your suit â€“ yes, even if youâ€™re logging in just before turning out the light for the night, suited and booted. OK, not literally, but metaphorically you need to think with your professional head before you add anything to LinkedIn. We may have found the platform with the biggest â€śsnobsâ€ť here, and breaking the etiquette rules could be detrimental to your businesses public image.
Having said that, LinkedIn generates thousands of leads for B2B businesses on a daily basis. If your business looks after other businesses you need to put your suit on and get busy on LinkedIn. Not just your personal page, but your company business LinkedIn profile as well. The other good news about LinkedIn is that itâ€™s not quite as frenetic as Twitter, youâ€™ve got time to compose yourself before replying to any comments.
Google+? Ah, not only does this platform leave the most people wondering how on earth they ought to be using it, but it also garners a huge amount of online coverage as to itâ€™s imminent demise. If itâ€™s difficult to understand, and itâ€™s about to be put out to pasture, you donâ€™t need it then do you? Except you do.
â€śWhy?â€ť I hear you cry. Quite simply, itâ€™s Google. Where does anyone search for their business requirements these days? Google. So you do need to be there. And actually, itâ€™s not that difficult to understand. You have a personal page, and a company page, and both you as an individual and you as a business can then join â€ścommunitiesâ€ť â€“ which are really pretty much the same as LinkedIn groups. Spend a little time looking around G+, even if it is going to become extinct you can never ignore Google as a whole.
And what of the others? What about Instagram? Pinterest? You Tube? Should your business be using these social media platforms as well?
If you are in a position to produce top quality videos with interesting content, You Tube will be a winner for you â€“ it is, after all, one of Googleâ€™s babies. If your business can produce rich and interesting images, be it of your own products, or your staff, or your location, then both Instagram and Pinterest could work well for you.
If you are planning on managing your social media yourself you need to ensure that you can dedicate time to it, and you need to feel comfortable with the platform that you are using. A business who you know will excel on Twitter but who doesnâ€™t like Twitter will only fail on Twitter if they are managing it themselves.
Alternatively, if you are considering outsourcing your social media, find a company who will sit down and discover enough about you and your business to recommend the right avenues to take â€“ not all social media works for all businesses and you need to ensure that your hard earned resources are targeted towards the most rewarding avenues of return.