How do you choose the best social media platforms for your business—the ones that will help develop the type of relationships that naturally develop into sales leads? It’s an important question that all companies should be asking themselves when they are contemplating their online marketing plans. Since maintaining a smart social media presence takes a lot of time and energy, you want to make sure you are investing wisely.
The most trafficked social media platforms for business are LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook—aka “the Big Three.” The two main things to
consider when working with these or other platforms are the type of content you will be sharing, and the people with whom you are trying to connect.
Because everything in social media starts with content, you have to have something worthwhile to share. Twitter and Facebook function mainly as open bulletin boards, where you can float your thoughts and feelings, and post links to your more thought-out perspectives and concepts, establishing Thought Leadership for your executives and overall reputation for the company. Even LinkedIn, which most people consider to be primarily a networking tool, has come to rely on the power of thoughtful content as the foundation for starting mutually beneficial conversations.
If you want to build a robust online community, put some serious thought into the type of content that most represents your brand in a way that will connect you to the people you are trying to reach. Blog posts, white papers and feature articles are all fantastic vehicles for sharing important information, and will go a long way to helping you establish industry leadership for the company, as well as Thought Leadership for the authors. They also offer the raw material for socializing on all of these well-trafficked platforms.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may or may not want to include Facebook as part of your primary strategy. As a small business B2C marketing tool, it is pretty much required, especially if your outreach is primarily local. But if your priority is B2B outreach, then Facebook may not necessarily deserve a top spot on your to-do list. It’s always a good idea to have at least a minimal presence there of at least one or two posts a week, but it won’t necessarily be your main vehicle for developing business relationships.
If your content is largely visual in nature, such as infographics, photos or video, then it would be worthwhile to supplement your presence on The Big Three with content on either Instagram, Pinterest or YouTube. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years, especially with people in the entertainment, fashion and art worlds. Primarily a mobile platform, Instagram allows you to post pictures as well as video clips up to one-minute long. Most useful as a tool for B2C outreach, Instagram is being used by brands such as Motorola, Sony Mobile and LG Mobile to find success with targeted marketing campaigns.
Pinterest is a fantastic place to share infographics, design-related images and pictures. Again, it is most useful as a B2C branding tool, but companies such as Sony Electronics and Samsung Mobile have really made use of the platform’s visual capabilities. YouTube is the best place to feature webinars, instructional videos, interviews, testimonials and other important video footage you wish to share. According to statistics compiled earlier this year by Hubspot, 51.9 percent of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. Overall, colored visuals increase a person’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80 percent. It’s something to keep in mind whether your primary material is written or visual: always include strong images.
Another thing to remember: Although Google+ is not really a primary place of engagement, it is still a very strong contributor to SEO. It’s worth your while to use this platform to double post content you are sharing on LinkedIn, Twitter or any of the other channels, if only to keep your company’s name high in the Google ranking algorithm.
In the end, regardless of any statistics, the final measure of which social media platforms you should be using is the results you are getting. Identify where you are getting the most traction, and concentrate your efforts on deepening the connections you are making there. If you don’t get the results you want, think about varying the type of content you are posting, the time of day you are posting, and the tone and style of the language you are using. And of course, sharing, liking and commenting on other people’s posts is at least as important as promoting your own news. You have to talk about something other than yourself if you want to keep the social in social media.
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