Social Media in a nutshell
Social Media is pivotal in showcasing your business, maintaining contact with clients and with a guaranteed worldwide audience, it gives access to a much broader marketplace. With many businesses these days eschewing a traditional website in favour of social media pages, it is clear that anyone not making the most of this resource is missing a trick. But with such a breadth of choice out there, how do you know which platform is right for your business, and should you be spreading the word on them all, or focussing on a few to broadcast your message? And if a few, then which? In this blog post, I am going to give you a social media comparison, albeit brief, involving looking at five of the most popular sites and explaining their individual uses, what they do, who uses them as well as some pros and cons for the small business owner. I have also included a top tip for each of the platforms that may come in useful, especially for those new to social media.
Social Media Comparison
With 2 million users worldwide, Facebook is the biggest social media platform in the world. There can be few people who are not familiar in some way with it, but in basic terms, Facebook is a social networking site, which allows users to connect with friends or the public in general and is, therefore, ideal for both business and personal use.
It is designed to encourage easy communication and interaction by allowing users to post a comment, images, and photos to their own page and then to share this with others. The audience can then assign a human reaction in appreciation (or sometimes otherwise!) to that post.
Facebook users are 53% female and the most common age demographic is 25-34 year olds. This gives you, the business owner, the chance to interact and engage with this key consumer group.
Facebook – what’s great?
With business pages easy to set up, Facebook is great for business. If you share interesting content, there is the ability for that content to be shared by others worldwide. Facebook now offers “Facebook Live”, a live video broadcast to your followers, allowing you to promote yourself as “ahead of the game” and forward-thinking. In addition, if you respond positively (yes, even to the odd complaint!) to customers’ comments, you can showcase your fabulous customer service – always a plus with customers and potentials alike.
Facebook – what’s not?
With so many businesses harnessing the power of Facebook, it can be difficult to showcase your business and make it stand out from the crowd. Added to this, FB has some quite complicated algorithms on their news feed, which means that, even though someone “follows” you, or “likes” your page, not all of your content will necessarily appear on their daily feed. Frustrating huh?!
You should also ensure that you regularly monitor your page as it is possible for users to post inappropriate content and an unmonitored page just shouts neglect! Do not, however, be tempted to censure genuine comments from customers, even if they highlight a failing on your part. A potential is as interested in seeing how you dealt with a problem as what the problem was in the first place!
Facebook – Top Tip
Experiment with different types of post as well as posting at different times of the day. By using Facebook Insights you can measure how effective these changes are and your audience engagement to them. But remember that consumers are a fickle bunch and you will need to constantly monitor this for any change in audience habits.
A micro-blogging site, where each post (or “Tweet”) is limited to 140 characters. Once the home of “celebrities”, posting the minutiae of their daily activity, Twitter has emerged in the last few years as a great place for business advertising. With approximately 310 million users a month, Twitter is a great provider of real-time updates.
Twitter – what’s great?
Because of the character limit, Tweets are quick and easy to send Remember also that, unlike Facebook, all your messages get to all your followers– a boon for getting your marketing messages out there.
Twitter – what’s not?
Because it is a real-time platform, the average tweet has a life span of only 18 minutes; it can, therefore, be difficult for your message not to be swallowed up amongst everyone else’s tweets. Although tweets are quick to post, their brevity can lead to them being overlooked by potential customers. Twitter is not great for image-based content, so its’ effectiveness can somewhat depend on the product or service you are promoting. Novice users do not tend to stick around – being put off by what can sometimes be perceived as a complicated structure.
Twitter – Top Tip
Calls-to- Action – By using well-placed call-to=action in your tweet, you can significantly boost interaction with your post. According to Twitter, using actionable words like “download” will increase your clicks by an average of 13%
Dedicated to professional people and originally set up to provide networking opportunities worldwide, LinkedIn has 300 million users with most spending 4 hours or less per week on the platform. It is a great place to go for thought-leadership and is a great opportunity to connect with some of today’s influencers. It works by “connections” to individuals with whom you have something in common, a work interest, for example, and by the joining of groups. From here, networking is key. Connections are graded according to whether they are personally known to you (1st), a connection of a connection (2nd) or a connection of a connection, of a connection!(3rd) so it is fairly easy and painless to source new leads and potentials.
LinkedIn – what’s great?
The content you post is visible to everyone, even if you are not directly connected. With its’ vast content via individual profiles and company information, LinkedIn is great for sourcing potentials and finding others within the same professions or with similar interests. Great for sourcing solutions or discussing ideas! Personal credibility is established through your connections and endorsements.
LinkedIn – what’s not?
It can be incredibly time-consuming to set up a profile, scout for connections and communicate with them, not to mention posting informative contact and interacting with others in any group to which you belong. This may explain why, according to Hubspot, only a quarter of all users are active. LinkedIn’s effectiveness can also be dependent upon the type of business you have, so do research it before you commit hours to getting an all-star profile!
LinkedIn – Top Tip
Personalise invitations to connect.
As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” so instead of using the default “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”, invitation to connect, make it personal by adding where you met or a topic you discussed in a LinkedIn group previously. This way, your potential connection is much more likely to want to connect!
This is a visual content-sharing site, historically used by women. However, it is increasingly being used by men and now boasts 100 million monthly users. Each user creates a “board” of the content of interest to them, which then becomes visible to other users, who may share your content on their own boards – think of a giant corkboard! It is more about collating content than creating it, but, depending upon your type of business can be great as a portfolio of products or services.
Pinterest – what’s great?
An ideal platform if your target customer is female, with 80% of users female. Pinterest is great if your products are very visual and it is very easy to use. The “Buy” button is great for direct commerce opportunities.
Pinterest – what’s not?
This site is still not at the top of many businesses promotional list, so pickup for your business may be slow. Pinterest works best if you have a large number of products to promote – if not, maybe look at other options.
Pinterest – Top Tip
Created boards have a ‘shelf life’. To ensure they stay on user’s news feed for as long as possible, ensure your pins are interactive and cover a popular topic.
The video-sharing giant, owned by Google. Everyone knows You Tube, right? But, did you know that it is the second biggest search engine, after Google itself? And has over 100 million visitors every month. 54% of these visitors are male and 37% are aged between 18 and 34 years.
Users can upload, share and view videos, with a huge variety of content from individuals and businesses.
You Tube – what’s great?
Videos are a great way for showcasing your expertise, as well as your products and can be used across a variety of businesses, from posting “How-To” videos to client testimonials. And, because it is owned by Google, contact on You Tube is a dream if you are struggling to improve your SEO!
You Tube – what’s not?
Related videos can be distracting and users may lose their way to your content. Creating interesting content can be time –consuming and expensive and, also consider whether it may have to be updated regularly – remember, content can go out of date quickly and be replaced by more recent postings.
You Tube – Top Tip
View written transcripts of people’s videos Did you know that YouTube automatically generates a written transcript for every video uploaded to its website? This means you can easily write down a quote from a video, or maybe find a specific section of a video without having to scroll back and forth by hand. To see a video’s transcript: Open the video in YouTube and press the “More” tab underneath the video title. Choose “Transcript” from the drop-down menu.
So that’s it. A very brief social media comparison of five of the most popular platforms currently available to you and your business. Which you should select will depend largely on your type of business. Social media can be an absolute minefield for your business and, as any user will attest, can be a real drain on time. If you are unsure where to go next, why not give me a call? With over ten years of social media marketing experience behind me, I can cut through all the jargon and explain any platform to you and advise on where you should be showcasing your business for minimum effort and maximum impact!