A lot of people associate social media with bullying and abuse and consequently avoid it like the plague! It’s easy to find negative press about social media, too. But, like it or not, there is a place for social media marketing in business, and let’s be frank, it’s not disappearing any time soon.
What is social media?
In a nut shell, social media is modern marketing and advertising rolled into one. There are a plethora of different platforms and ways to use socials as a valid and useful suite of business tools.
It’s all about learning how each platform works, what skill set you need to manage them, and then spending the time and effort to incorporate social strategies into your marketing plans. Some would argue that social media is today’s must have tool, and learning to use it well can take your business to the next level.
However, if you despise social media, can’t get your head around it, or think you won’t have the time to manage it, then this could be an excellent area of your business to outsource. Before you make that decision however, read on for a quick explanation of each platform.
Decide on your Socials
The social accounts you use will depend a lot on what you are selling; your demographic; how you plan to sell and market your product; your skill set; and frankly, how much time you have to keep a whole bunch of social accounts up to date. Often, it’s better to start with one or two. Instagram and Facebook, or Pinterest and Instagram, for example, because, on socials there is no bigger turn off than a neglected account. Of course if you have the capacity, then by all means choose as many of these platforms as possible. Manage them well and grow your business, the “modern” way.
Here is a list of current platforms and what they are all about:
Probably one of the best know social networks in the world, largely because of the high profile of it’s co-creator Mark Zuckerberg. Lately, some commentators have been saying that Facebook isn’t the power house that it once was. Nevertheless, Facebook still boasts a staggering 2.27 billion global users each month.
Facebook is a free online social network. Users join by creating a profile and can then connect with friends, family and like-minded subscribers by invitation. Facebook posts can incorporate text, graphics, photos and videos and are shared on a “news feed”. Users are also able to connect privately by messaging directly through Facebook’s Messenger service.
Once you have a personal profile on Facebook, you’re then able to use it for business purposes. To do this, you first need to create a Facebook Business Page. This public page then allows you to share details of your business to the public and with your consumers. You can create sponsored content and advertise on Facebook. This is done by targeting specific demographics, in locations of your choice and within a nominated budget.
Created purely to share photos and videos, Instagram launched in 2010 and was an instant hit. The platform was purchased by Facebook in 2012. It has over one billion active global monthly users today and its popularity seems to be increasing. More and more users make their living off the app as “influencers”. Over 90% of Instagram users are under 35.
After creating an account on Instagram, users can follow individuals, businesses and organisations that inspire them. Instagram is popular with celebrities, some of whom attract millions of followers. Photos and videos appear as tiles in a news feed and can be commented on. Additionally, photos and videos can be posted as an Instagram story, which disappears after 24 hours. Live feed video streams are another Instagram feature, as is IG TV, Instagram TV channel.
Thanks to its versatility and extraordinary capacity for user engagement, Instagram is fast becoming the go-to app for business. You can create a business account as your primary account, which is a plus. The posts featuring your product link back to your website. It’s also easy to create sponsored advertising campaigns on Instagram targeting your specific demographic.
With over 2 million monthly advertisers, Instagram certainly seems to be the new marketplace for small business.
Once dismissed as merely a rolodex of business contacts or Facebook for corporate people, LinkedIn is now considered the go-to for promoting yourself as a business professional and also a great place to promote your business services. With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is arguably the largest professional network worldwide in existence. LinkedIn is all about building professional networks and strategic relationships with other members.
On LinkedIn, as an individual in business, you can showcase your business acumen and what you and your company are all about, typically via well-constructed articles. LinkedIn followers can like and comment on posts and are also encouraged to endorse each other’s skills and provide recommendations. As such, LinkedIn isn’t suitable for every business, but is still an avenue to consider for promoting your business or building your profile as an expert within your business sector.
The focus of Pinterest is on virtually sharing your interests with other like-minded Pinterest members by “pinning” photos and videos on a virtual board. Users create a collection of pins – images of things they like or find inspiring. Pinterest can be a powerful way to share pics or videos of your product or service. You can create boards with gift collections, for example, with links back to your website. With over 200 million monthly global users, Pinterest may be the perfect way to introduce and advertise directly to your target market.
Simply put, Twitter is a social platform where users communicate in short messages of up to 140 characters. Used well, it can be an effective way to boost awareness of your brand, promote blog or website content, push traffic to your website, test your product or idea and get instant feedback, or boost your website SEO. It can also be a quick and easy way to communicate with fans of your product or business.
Twitter announced early in 2019 that it has approximately 126 million unique users each day. While that is tiny when compared with Facebook, for example, a well–used Twitter account can certainly be an asset to your business.
This massively popular video–sharing platform is now owned by Google and operates as one of its subsidiaries. YouTube boasts over 1.8 billion global monthly users.
While YouTube is free for users, it generates income by allowing businesses to advertise without necessarily using the platform to load video content. Advertisers have a range of choices, including online video ads, skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, Bumper ads and Discover ads. To learn more about advertising with YouTube, check out their guide here.
Users of Chinese-owned Tik Tok – who tend to be aged 24 and under – create 15–second videos, primarily of themselves or their friends lip synching, dancing or performing comedic skits. Clever and intuitive animation tools and features ensure that even the most “untech–savvy” user can create professional–looking content. It’s also easy to repost and share content.
Tik Tok currently has one billion global monthly users, and has a cheerful and upbeat vibe.
Currently users can monetise Tik Tok through live stream video creation. The developers have also started experimenting with sponsored content and using influencers to promote brand content. Stay tuned: Tik Tok looks set to become the next social behemoth.