By now you’re completely aware that you need to have some sort of social media presence. After all, the statistics have proven how important social media networks are for a business. Consider the following:
- 8 out of 10 internet users are reached by social media sites and blogs.
- Marketers saw an increase of 74% in website traffic after devoting just 6 hours per week in social media.
- 87% of small businesses claim that social media has helped their business.
- 85% of business-decision makers believe that at least having one social media channel is very important for technology purchase decisions.
But, there’s much more to just creating a Facebook or Pinterest account and expecting success to follow. You actually have to understand which platforms work best for your brand and where your audience spends most of their time. For example, the MTV crowd is more likely to spend time on Vine, while a white-collar professional would be over on LinkedIn. It’s very doubtful that both of those audience would cross paths on one specific social media network.
Besides, it would take more resources than it’s worth to update and perfect all of the social media platforms out there. Instead, just to focus on the couple of networks that can best broadcast your message and raise brand awareness to your targeted market.
That may sound easier said than done. Which is why we put together the following article which the most popular social media platforms and who should use them. As an added bonus, we also included some helpful pieces of advice so that you can master your preferred network and become a social media hero.
Everyone had a Facebook account. Literally. Statistics have shown that 93% of all adult users online are on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network. Marketers are also aware of Facebook’s power. According to Hubspot, “74% of all marketers say Facebook is important to their lead generation strategies.”
While there’s no doubt that Facebook has a lot of pull, does that mean it’s the right platform for you? We’re going to go ahead and say yes. As a whole, Facebook remains a popular platform for people to spend time and catch up with friends, family, and even the news. Having a Facebook business page to share a variety of content, like updates, contests or events. Just keep in mind that the most effective Facebook pages aren’t just advertisements 24/7. It should be casual and spark conversations.
Our friend Belle Beth Cooper put together some really useful Facebook statistics over at the Buffer blog you can use as a guide. Here are some of the more important takeaways:
- Posts that contains photos make-up 93% of the most engaging posts.
- Keep your posts under 250 characters.
- Using emoticons can get your post liked 57% more than those without.
- Most engagement occurs towards the end of the week from Wednesday to Friday.
- Posting between 9am and 7pm is acceptable.
- Question posts “get 100% more comments than standard text-based posts.”
- 35% of users participate in contests, 42% like a page in order to get a discount or coupon.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to create an effective Facebook page, check out the “20 Best Company Facebook Pages” from Inc.com. Suggestions includes Zappos, Fresh Brothers, Community Coffee, Burt’s Bees, and Bonobos.
The 140-word character micro-blogging site has 190 million unique site visitors every month, on top of the close to 650 million registered users. That’s a lot of people who you could potentially convert, which is why everyone should have a Twitter handle. Twitter can be used to continue a conversation and because of its “in the moment” platform it can be used for customer service.
The problem is that there are also 58 million tweets per day. And that’s a lot of competition. So, how can you make the most of this invaluable tool?
- Make sure your tweets are relevant and urgent.
- Show your personality.
- Tweet 2 to 5 times daily.
- Use a tool like Buffer to schedule tweets throughout the day.
- Image links can get 2x the engagement rate.
- 86% of tweets with links will get retweeted.
- Make sure links come from mobile friendly sites.
- Use hashtags to gain 2x more engagement.
- Keep tweets under 100 characters.
- Tweet later in the day while people are commuting.
Want to learn from the pros? Check out the Twitter accounts from Delta, Charmin, WWE, Skittles, American Express, and Taco Bell.
LinkedIn has become the go-to social media platform for professionals. If you run a B2B business, are a recruiter or a job-seeker, you need to be on this platform. And there are numbers to back this claim. There are over 300 million members and 3 million company pages on the service globally. In other words, if you need to post a job or do some research on an employer or employee there’s no better option out there.
However, LinkedIn is all about growing your professional network. This is why you need to have a complete profile and make sure your contacts are appropriate and professional. You’ll need these contacts, along with the people you already know, to get introduced to second and third-degree connections. If done correctly you never know who you’ll meet – maybe a potential employee or employers.
While establishing connections is the most important aspect of LinkedIn, it’s also a place where professionals can gain advice, industry insights and exchange ideas. This means that LinkedIn is mainly composed of mature, career-oriented individuals and isn’t as casual as Facebook.
To get the most out of LinkedIn, remember the following:
- Use relevant keywords in your content.
- You should customize your LinkedIn profile URL.
- Have a link from your website to your LinkedIn profile.
- Keep your page clean and organized.
- The best times to share content: 7:00-8:30am, 5:00-6:00pm
- The worst times to post: Monday and Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm
In December 2013, LinkedIn shared the best company pages of the year. Included in the list were Adobe, AppleOne, Commonwealth Bank, Dell, Four Seasons, HubSpot, Kellogg, Marketplace Home Mortgage, Mashable and NPR. We suggest you look them over.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Google+ is that it’s appealing, and useful, for both professionals and people just looking for a casual social media network. The reason this is possible is because you can organize your contacts into circles. This means you could share a funny video with your friends or family without sharing said video with your professional network.
Of course, we already suspect you’re questioning how popular Google’s so-called Facebook competitor really is. As of October 2013, there are 300 million active users per month. And, 53% of users have reported that they’ve had a positive interaction with brands on Google+.
But perhaps the biggest advantage of Google’s social media platform is its affiliation with the world’s most well-known and used search engine in the world. This means that when you link to content on your blog it’s going to give your SEO a major boost. And, no matter what field you’re in, that’s always a major perk. There’s also the fact that you’ll also be tied into a Google network that contains Drive, Maps, and YouTube.
Here are some helpful tips on how to optimize Google+.
- Just like Twitter, you want to use hashtags, preferably 2 or 3 per post.
- You can also use hashtags to keep track of conversation and campaigns; use Explore First to see what’s popular.
- Be specific, this will help reach your targeted audience.
- Find the right headline.
- Google+ is both an image and text platform, make sure to use both.
- Embed Google+ comments onto your blog.
- Look into +Post Ads.
- Best times to post are between 9:00-11:00am; avoid from 6:00pm-7:00am
Despite Google + have a significant increase in users, there’s still a lot of unknowns surrounding the social media outlet. We suggest you review the top 10 Google + pages according to Jeff Bullas. The list features brands ranging from Toyota, Pepsi, H&M and The New York Times.
Instagram has an impressive 200 million active users who share 60 million images per day. But, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Because this an image and video based platform some fields will benefit more so than others. For example, if you’ve involved in the food, fashion, luxury, or lifestyle industries, then Instagram is a perfect fit.
What makes Instagram an interesting platform is that it can add some much-needed personality to expand brand awareness. This means that even more formal brands can lighten up a bit and show a different side of the business with humorous, lighthearted, or creative content. Furthermore, you can use images to showcase your latest products, give visitors a behind-the-scenes look or announce an upcoming event. There’s also the interaction with visitors by encouraging them to take an image related to your brand for contests or just to establish brand loyalty.
There are also two huge benefits going for Instagram. For one, the use of images in social media is becoming more and more important. This was covered by Jayson DeMers who stated that images can grab the attention of your audience and improve SEO. The other big benefit of being on Instagram is that it’s owned by Facebook, so sharing your Instagram content on Facebook is a snap.
Here are some useful pieces of advice for Instagram use:
- Keep your audience in mind
- Take images that best represent your brand.
- Your photos don’t have to always be professional, that defeats the real-connection
- Make use of both the @ and # symbols.
- Use Followgram to keep track of your stats.
- Best times to post are between 3-5pm during weekdays and on the weekend.
Still looking for some inspiration on how to make the best of Instagram? Go back and read how Michael Kors earned 34,000 followers in the 18 hours after posting the the first Instagram ad. Other brands who are doing Instagram are GoPro, Old Spice, Benefit Cosmetics, HBO’s Girls, and General Electric.
Much like Instagram, Pinterest is a great platform for anyone involved in the food or fashion fields. However, Pinterest has been shown to be an effective platform for travel, design, home decor, and anything related to DIY. The most well-known part of Pinterest is it’s popularity with women, which make up 80% of all users.
If you’re still on the fence about Pinterest, consider the following. It has 70 million users and, compared to other social networks, Pinterest users spend the most amount of money. In fact, they spend nearly double what Facebook users spend and triple what Twitter users spend.
Interaction among Pinterest users is mainly based on ‘repins,’ ‘likes’, and comments that are usually shorter than most other social networks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun by creating boards and then placing those boards into the right category. This helps users find and create content based on the likes and interests of their audience.
Still interested in giving Pinterest a try? Don’t neglect the following.
- Keywords are an essential part of your pins.
- Don’t forget to include links.
- Attribute images if not your own.
- Word count for pin should be in the 100-200 range.
- Use a shortened URL.
- Best times to pin are on Saturdays, 2:00-4:00pm and 8:00-11:00pm. The worst times are 1:00-7:00am and 5:00-7:00pm.
Pinterest is still relatively new, so you may night be all that familiar with the platform. If you’re looking for how to perfect boards, check out “10 Brilliant Pinterest Board Ideas From Real Brands” by HubSpot. Other brands that have been ruling Pinterest are Lowe’s, Whole Foods, Jetsetter, L.L. Bean and Better Homes and Gardens.
We all know of YouTube, but can you use the video service for social media marketing campaigns? Well, that depends. If you’re offering advice or sharing your expertise, then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be creating informational and useful videos for your customers. You could also create teaser trailers or behind-the-scenes footage to give your target audience a little something extra.
However, once you read these YouTube statistics, you may suddenly go out and start making videos for your YouTube channel.
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth
- 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
- YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
- According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
Because Google owns YouTube, these videos also do extremely well in search rankings. Which could be a good thing for SEO.
Just remember these tips when jumping on the YouTube bandwagon.
- Add links to your other social networks.
- Grab viewers attention within first 15 seconds.
- Feature a call-to-action by asking viewers to like or subscribe.
- Create content on a frequent basis.
- Make sure that you have relevant and attention-grabbing titles, description and tags.
Some great YouTube channels to spark creativity would be GoPro and TED. You can also see why AdWeek included Playstation, Warner Bros., and Call of Duty in “The 10 Best Brand Channels on YouTube.”
One of the most exciting, and fastest growing, social media platforms is Vine. While the 6-second video platform may not have the numbers that Instagram does – around 40 million registered users compared to Instagram’s 200 million – it’s been capturing the minds and attention of brands and viewers for the last year or so.
Here’s some other benefits of using Vine: by 2017, two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video, five tweets per second contain a Vine link, and a Vine-branded video is four-times more likely to be seen than a regular branded video.
Still not convincedVine can help your brand? Here’s one great success story. On the first day of Honda’s #WantNewCar Vine campaign, it gained 1,020 new followers. That may not sound incredibly impressive, but compare that to its six-month average of 242 new followers and this is definitely a major push. The Vine campaign also earned Honda 2,292 mentions.
Most brands can use Vine to gain brand awareness or showcase a new product or service, specifically if geared towards a the 18-20 year old demographic. What’s great about this technique is that it’s relatively cheap and allows you to have some fun with your brand. Vine could also be used for contests or customer engagement by asking them to create their video based around your product or service.
Here are some tips for your consideration:
- Be creative.
- Invest in a tripod.
- Make sure your shot is framed.
- Have proper lighting and audio.
- Time your shots.
- Include a clever description.
- Users are most active from 10-11am on Saturdays and Sundays.
Some of the brands that have been getting the most out of the potential of Vine are Oreo, Airbnb, Samsung, Dunkin’ Donuts, and General Electric.
Foursquare and/or Yelp
While not commonly associated with the likes of Facebook or Twitter are platforms like Foursquare and Yelp. There are ideal if you have a physical like a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, or any other sort of brick-and-mortar store. They could also be used for B2C companies as well.
The power of platforms like Foursquare and Yelp is that they rely on word-of-mouth recommendations from previous customers, as well as discovering local businesses. Word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful tools business owners can build upon since it’s visitors are basing their final purchasing decision based off of reviews.
Foursquare has around 45 million users and has a very strong presence on mobile devices. Foursquare also encourages users to interact with each other and is perfect for helping friends meet up at a specified location. If you’re business is more geared towards the younger, socially active demographic, than it’s a great platform to use.
Yelp is a little more established and boasts a user base of 120 million unique monthly visitors. Yelp reviews also make more appearances on the first page of search results. Yelp may not be as hip as Foursquare, but it’s the better option for a more mature crowd and, according to Marketing Land, “more than two-thirds of their reviews are for non food and beverage establishments.”
When it comes to platforms like Foursquare and Yelp, keep the following in mind:
- Make sure all your business information (hours, location, menu, official website, etc.) is up to date.
- Monitor feedback and respond to concerns.
- Ues the right keywords – this is most important for Yelp.
- Share additional information about your business, such as if reservations are accepted, the parking situation and if you accept credit cards.
- Include images.
Besides essentially receiving some free advertising from these platforms, you can also run campaigns. In the past by teaming up with Foursquare, the History Channel gave away a trip, a New York city steakhouse simply offered a free dessert, guests at Starwood Hotels received points, and Pepsi helped fans score concert tickets.
Have you had any success on a particular social media platform? If so, what was the platform and why did it work for you?
Featured Image: Pixabay
Image #1: JD Hancock
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