Social media platforms continue to grow by both numbers and influence. Most businesses utilize social media marketing to some extent, but if you aren’t familiar with how they work, posting and sharing content can become a real headache.
Let’s start with why your company should be on social media. If you want to expand your reach and get your name out there, social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your brand. Social media platforms not only allow you to share content, updates, and promotions, but it’s a simple way to drive traffic back to your website.
Next, you need to figure out which platforms will be most beneficial for your company. Some businesses may find it works best to post on three or four different social media platforms while others may only have the time and resources to post on one or two. Consider your marketing goals, target audience, and needs, and take the time to come up with a social media marketing plan that fits with your company’s style and personality.
Here is a quick overview of 4 of the top social media platforms.
More than 1.6 billion people are active on Facebook each month. This versatile platform is great for new and established businesses alike. If your small business doesn’t have a website yet, it would be in your best interest to create a Facebook business page! You can build relationships, engage with current and potential customers, expand your reach using paid advertising, and share various kinds of content. Facebook is ideal for:
- Sharing blogs/articles (driving traffic to your website)
- Sharing photos and videos
- Promoting your goods and services
- Gathering feedback/reviews and actively interacting with followers
- Creating brand awareness
- Increasing sales (paid advertising)
Fun facts: According to Brandwatch, Facebook adds 500,000 new users every day and 49% of users will like a Facebook page to support a brand they like.
Twitter has more than 310 million monthly active users. This platform is great for keeping up with what’s going on in your industry, discovering what your customers are interested in, providing customer service, and creating brand awareness. Tweets can have up to 140 characters (keep your messages short and sweet) and you can also share images and videos. If you want to boost your posts and make your shared content easy to find, use #hashtags. Twitter is ideal for:
- Promoting products and services
- Promoting events
- Sharing blogs (drive traffic back to your website)
- Sharing images and videos
- Gaining insights about your competitors and industry
- Providing customer service/answering questions/solving problems
Fun Facts: According to Brandwatch, 80% of users access the site via mobile and around 6,000 tweets are sent every second of every day.
Instagram is a visual platform that focuses strictly on images and videos. This Facebook owned network has around 500 million active monthly users. Instagram is almost entirely mobile and offers unique filters and editing options (you can’t add images from a desktop). This is a great platform for visual storytelling and spreading the word about your brand. If you are in the food, travel, fashion, or retail industries, this is the perfect place to showcase new products. Don’t forget to use #hashtags and keywords! Instagram is ideal for:
- Sharing high-quality images
- Connecting with other people or brands in your industry
- Increasing brand awareness
- Engaging with customers
Fun facts: According to HubSpot, 55% of young adults (ages 18-29) used Instagram in 2015 and more than 80 million photos were shared on Instagram each day in September 2015.
Google+ has around 540 million active monthly users. This platform is most often used by businesses who want to increase their website rankings on Google and it’s a good place to share blogs as well as images and videos. Keywords and #hashtags can and should be used here. Google+ is ideal for:
- Sharing blog posts (driving traffic to your website)
- Increasing website rankings on Google
- Connecting with online communities
Fun facts: According to Statistic Brain, 40% of marketers use Google+ and 70% of brands have a presence on Google+.
It’s unlikely that your business will utilize all of the different social media platforms, but with billions of people actively using these networks, it’s imperative that companies have a presence on at least one or two different social networks.