Every day it seems there is a new social media site to be a part of. They come and go (we’re looking at you, Ello), while some stick around against all odds, and others fade away or transform. So how do you keep track of them all and what is worth your time, energy, and dollars? Consider this your quick and dirty guide to the 411 on just some of the social media sites orbiting the World Wide Web these days.
Sometimes disregarded by consumers as just the professional version of Facebook, this is the B2B’s answer to Twitter. With a more mature audience and professional sensibility, this network could be an untapped goldmine for yourself personally, as well as your business.
LinkedIn does things Facebook just can’t do as well. For instance, you may be reading this blog on “The Pulse,” LinkedIn’s professional blogging module. Simply upload a thought leadership piece and everyone in your connected network is notified that you’ve published your piece. Most people in your connections will want to know what you just wrote and will likely read what you have say. This is an invaluable opportunity to network with potential partners and show your knowledge off.
Not only that, but LinkedIn offers advertising and career openings that are measurable and garner successful results.
Takeaway: Spend some time strengthening your LinkedIn profile by connecting with people you know. Dust it off, refresh your profile, and start utilizing it both personally and for your business.
This is the titan of them all, and has easily secured itself on top for years. But things are changing with every passing month. A network that first gained considerable steam in the mid-00’s started out as a site only accessible to those with an .edu email address. The collegiate yearbook-styled site was a great way for high school friends to keep touch while away at college and for college students to engage with one another during school and over breaks and post-college. Soon, it became universally accessible and now, years later, it’s used less and less by teens and college students. If your business is focused on targeting 20 year olds and older, this could be a great place to engage with consumers. Photos and videos are key for this network, so retailers, restaurants, and artists can benefit greatly with Facebook. For business-to-business companies, some are able to make Facebook work for them, but for the most part, energy could be better spent elsewhere.
Takeaway: Facebook is still a great starting point and it’s smart to have presence at least. It’s important to know your audience. Facebook is an important tool for connecting with the most universal audience on a personal level. But are you looking to attract teens and be that hip, ultra-cool business? If so, there are better ways to reach your target.
Twitter is still one of those love it or hate it networks. For Twitter, which has become the go-to medium for engagement among television viewers, sports fans, and celebrities, you post in 140-character tweets. You gain followers and attention by using hashtags and by actively retweeting and favoriting others’ posts. Twitter is great for both B2B and B2C businesses and when committed to, can provide great results. Building your Twitter fan base can take time and the engagement is not always as tangible as on other sites, but it should still be worth your consideration.
Takeaway: Consider your audience. Do you think the people who want to hear from you are using Twitter every day? How about using it at all? If not, then it’s probably not worth your time.
In my last blog, Story Versus Snapshot, I praised Instagram as the answer to many company’s blogging woes. When content creation can be laborious and often not the priority of many company’s internal marketing resources, Instagram can fill that void as a way to connect and tell a story with just a photo and a caption.
Of course, companies who don’t work in retail, fashion, or food industries may struggle with content on that platform so you may have to get creative. And when all else fails, everyone likes a good shot of a pet or sunset. And don’t be shy, follow fellow IGers and double tap their pics too. Hashtag away until your heart’s content – none of these things can really burn you, and they will only strengthen your presence. With 41% of Instagram users between the ages of 16 and 24, this could be a great way to connect with a younger-skewing audience.
Takeaway: Fresh and fun content could be a tap of the phone away. Don’t struggle over having to write something – say it with a picture and a caption.
What doesn’t Google own these days? Not shockingly, they wanted a piece of the social media pie and so they just went out and made themselves this. Google+ is still the redheaded stepchild of social media, but it shouldn’t be ignored.
Google is the most widely used search engine, and like all businesses, they are going to do what they can to put themselves ahead in the forefront. Having a Google+ account (and for that matter, a YouTube channel if you’ve got means to create video content) will help you show up in search results and therefore improving your SEO. Is it important to be constantly focusing on that network? Not entirely. However, making sure you have the proper information in your Google+ profile and occasionally adding some content is never a bad idea. The good news is, for now, this is a social media network that can pretty much sit there, look pretty, and do its thing for you.
Takeaway: You know that thought leadership piece you just published to LinkedIn? Add it to your Google+ account too. There is no harm and no foul.
I’m in my mid-20s and by no means am I shy when it comes to testing out the latest social networks and apps. For pretty much everyone in my generation, these social networks are like a second fluent language. But Snapchat was this dark, mysterious place I never had any desire to go to. And my first experiences on the app made me instantly feel overwhelmed and about one hundred years old. I was confused, frustrated, and quickly gave up.
Plagued from the get-go by the media labelling it as a “sexting” app, Snapchat needed time and patience to win over businesses and a broader consumer audience. Myself included.
Take a quick look at the businesses who are “snapping” and you’ll find that they are photo and video oriented companies. People Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Food Network, CNN, Comedy Central, Warner Music...even celebrities themselves (much like on Twitter) are the most popular. These are all companies that have a key 18-49 demographic (some even a bit younger) and who would have no issue creating content to deliver to their audiences.
Takeaway: If you’re not targeting a young audience or already a Snap expert, this is probably not an app even on your radar.
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