You may think social media is just that-- an extension of people’s social lives intended to help people stay connected to those they otherwise might have lost touch with. But it’s so much more than that! Think about that very idea. “People you otherwise may have lost touch with.” That same idea applies to people your business may not have reached had you not utilized social media! But, what is the best social media for business? Which social media platforms will drive more traffic to your website? It depends on a few things. To start, ask yourself these questions:
Who am I trying to reach?
The most important thing is knowing who your audience is. In what social platforms can they be found? Are they using social media for business or pleasure?
Business to Business Social Media
Products or services for businesses may do well in several platforms because business people are human. They’re going to look at things that are funny, pictures of their friends’ kids and articles related to their careers all pretty much at the same time. Place your company in that mix.
Consumer Products or Services Social Media
If your product is mostly used by consumers, you may not need to spend as much time in platforms like Linkedin. And if you’re targeting an older audience (over 60) you may want to use the social media platforms their children use most. The children be an influencer on the decision making process for their older parents.
Knowing the answers to these questions about your audience will help you not only choose the right platforms to build on, but it will also help you create and deliver your content more effectively.
Why am I using social media?
Now that you know who you’re going to talk to, what is your goal when communicating with them? Are you going to speak mostly to new customers? Do you need to use social media to service existing customers? Both? If you’re a new business, you may be in the process of establishing brand awareness and bringing more people to your site. Long-standing brands are looking to maintain market share and re-create excitement about their products. Once you have an answer for why, you can begin to focus on the how.
What are my strengths?
Are you more of a visual communicator, using photos and images to convey your message? Is writing your strength? Identifying what you’re good at will ultimately help you hone in on where you want to distribute your content. Some platforms are more image driven than others.
Four Social Media Platforms for Business You Should Consider
Now that you’ve got some of these questions hopefully answered, you can start looking at the top four names in social media and start to decide which of them to start using. The answer could be “all of them”.
But to start, you might want to choose a few platforms where you want to be involved and focus on those. The top four we’ll talk about here are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Twitter is great for engaging and generating conversation. It allows for frequent posts and it creates a great platform for current customers to communicate with you quickly and on-the-spot. That means you should plan to have some time scheduled for responses and monitoring the communication flow. With Twitter, you can build an audience pretty quickly.
Facebook is a tool best used to show your business’ personality because you can use images and text to tell a little more of a story. It’s also the best social tool for increasing awareness for your brand. Engage others by asking questions and sharing relevant content posted by others to get your name out there. It can be a little harder to grow the Facebook audience without an effort outside of Facebook. For example you can tell customers about your page and ask them to like you in exchange for discounts or offers only available to those who like your Facebook page.
LinkedIn is useful if you need to post content or information to entire groups of people or if you have a professional network that would benefit most from your content. This platform is used quite a bit for networking and engaging with others in an industry. Joining groups and then posting in those groups can generate some conversation about your product or brand that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.
If you’re trying to provide more information to educate your customers about a certain industry, Google+ might be helpful to you. It’s also ideal for local search optimization because it’s a product of Google itself!
Others that might be a good outlet for you include YouTube if you have video content, Instagram for more photo oriented content, and Pinterest which is also very image driven and targeted in large part towards women. One or more of these might be a good fit too.
Here is a graphic that summarizes how each of these platforms work:
Stretch Your Social Butterfly Wings
By establishing why you are using social media, recognizing your audience’s needs, and identifying your strengths and weaknesses, you should be able to better understand which tools will be most useful in accomplishing the business goals you’ve set. Then comes the fun part: socializing!
If you need to create a LinkedIn Company Profile or would like to learn more about the opportunities that LinkedIn offers to help you grow your business, download our free ebook and templates for Company Profile images.