CHOOSING THE RIGHT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

With so many social media platforms available, it can be tempting to sign up for them all. But when it comes to choosing the right social media platforms for your business, there’s more to it than mindlessly creating an account.

Social media was born as a way to connect people online. In recent years, businesses have taken advantage of these mostly-free platforms to advertise their services, creating an online voice that projects their brand to thousands of people every day. However, what use are those thousands of people if they are never going to buy from or interact with your business?

We’ve broken down some of the most common platforms, helping you to understand whether they’re right for you.

1. LinkedIn

2. Facebook

3. Twitter

4. Instagram

5. YouTube

6. Pinterest

LinkedIn

If you’re running a B2B business then LinkedIn is a gold mine. Designed with professionals in mind, the platform is a hub of business activity. Perfect for lead generation, LinkedIn allows people within your business to utilise their networks to promote your brand. Having an organised LinkedIn page makes it easier for advocates of your business to gain traction with their own posts by offering additional support and back up. Think about it, if your top salesperson is constantly bigging up your company on LinkedIn but your page doesn’t reflect their efforts due to poorly organised posts (or no posts at all!), then their hard work will likely be going to waste.

The great thing about LinkedIn is it doesn’t require as much content as other platforms like Twitter or Instagram to be successful. 1-2 posts a week is plenty for most businesses, but make sure you mix it up with a range of content, from video and photography to branded graphics, polls and links back to your website.

Facebook

Most businesses turn to Facebook as their first port of call, simply because it’s one of the most well-known social channels. It’s a fantastic platform and offers a range of features from advanced advertising, live video, watch parties, groups, pages, and the list goes on. It can be difficult to get your feet off the ground with Facebook as a new business though, especially if you’re an SME in the B2B market.

Over the years, Facebook has become much more about community and connecting friends and family. This makes it a great place for local businesses to connect with their local community (think coffee shops, bakeries or your local garage). Many people looking for local services will turn to Facebook for recommendations from friends and family so ensuring you’re on the platform will allow you to be in the running for new business when the opportunity arises.

However, if you’re a larger business or working in the B2B sector, there are still plenty of ways to make Facebook work for you. Retailers love the platform for its advertising and you’ll notice most of the sponsored content you see is from multi-national brands trying to sell their products. Additionally, the platform has recently updated its recruitment features, so if you often find yourself looking for new employees, ensuring your profile is geared towards promoting your company culture will help when it comes to filling vacancies.

Twitter

When it comes to wanting to be a part of your audience, there’s no better place than Twitter. The platform offers everyone the same experience, whether you’re a business or an individual, meaning it’s one of the best platforms for connecting with other people.

Unlike platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter operates with a basic timeline where posts appear in the order they were published, so to get seen you’re going to need more content. Influencers will use Twitter as a place to live-tweet their daily activities, posting multiple times a day, or even an hour, to keep their followers up to date. As a business, you won’t want to go this extreme but if you’re considering Twitter, think about posting more regularly than you would on other platforms.

Content doesn’t have to be quite as formal as places like LinkedIn either and you can use it to really connect your brand to the wider community. Retweet other people’s posts, comment on tweets you agree with and use hashtags to get your brand seen by a larger audience – but don’t be disappointed if engagement on Twitter is lower than on platforms like LinkedIn.

Instagram

One of the more visual social media platforms available, Instagram is a great place to be if you have lots of imagery to use. Even on platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, posts with images tend to perform better than those without, and on top of that, posts with original photography (not stock imagery) do even better – so if you’ve got it, flaunt it!

Instagram isn’t just about imagery though. Stories, reels, guides, IGTV are just some of the ways you can promote your business on the platform. And if you link up to Facebook you can advertise across both platforms with one simple click. If you sell physical products, setting up Instagram shopping means you can sell directly through the platform, while tapping into the influencer market can see your brand get the exposure it needs to grow. Make use of popular hashtags to reach a wider audience too, and make sure you’re checking up on your analytics to see how your posts are performing.

YouTube

Do you have an archive of great video content? Tired of people asking for how-to videos on installing your products? Then get yourself on YouTube. The biggest video platform in existence, YouTube has a tonne of great benefits, and considering it’s owned by Google, utilising it properly can see your content rank on Google’s video search pages – bonus!

Despite being saturated by thousands of funny cat videos, song covers, and vloggers promoting the next best smoothie recipe, there’s still space for quality, business-related content. Consider creating interviews with key members of your team podcast-style, upload installation guides, send products to influencers for reviews, the possibilities are endless. Just make sure if you do decide to focus on YouTube, you’re up-to-date with all licensing issues surrounding the use of music and asking people to promote your products!

Pinterest

Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest requires your website to work a little harder. Imagine Pinterest as a shop window for your website, similar to a Google search but for visual content. Every post needs to link to something of value, whether that’s a blog, how-to-guide or product.

The images used on Pinterest vary from standard images (showing a garden for example) to more complex graphics that advertise what you’ll get by clicking on the post. As the search screen shows very little of the post’s “title” many users opt to get the title of their blog or a description of the post in the image.

So, with all that being said, if you have an active blog and lots of valuable content, Pinterest is the next best place after Google to get that content seen and interacted with, especially if you have great imagery to promote it with. It may take a little bit of time to master, but it’s worth the effort if you do it right.

Last words of advice

We’ve given you the run-down of all the popular accounts used for business, but where do you start?! As a rule of thumb, we recommend starting small if you’re new to social media. Don’t spread yourself too thin as you’ll find it difficult to keep up. Pick 1-2 platforms and do them well, before venturing out onto others that you think “might” work for you. Once you’ve got a couple in the bag, you’ll feel more confident and can hit the ground running when it comes to adding to your online presence. There’s a reason businesses hire internal social media managers or outsource to a social media agency and that’s because it’s a major part of your marketing! Get the basics right and you’ll be on your way to successfully generating leads and making sales online.

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