Whilst the benefits of an involved social media presence to a business cannot be denied, it is of critical importance to select the correct platforms to use, rather than simply aiming to create and manage a profile everywhere, which will no doubt result in a waste of resources. Targeting your company’s efforts to one or two channels that are going to provide the best return on investment will require an analysis of your objectives from using social media, and the nature of your business.
Here is a brief summary of what the main UK platforms have to offer, to which kind of business they tend to be most suited, and some tips for usage.
Despite all rumours to the contrary, this is still the undisputed boss of social media, but for how long? Facebook is great for many types of business, especially those that want to have regular conversations with their customers and followers. For businesses like Hidden Hearing, NGOs such as Amnesty International, and charities, Facebook is ideal for spreading messages, organising events and competitions, and sharing powerful imagery. Frequent changes to make the site more commercially-viable have led to dissatisfaction among some users, but it remains an integral marketing tool for many companies.
Tip: Individual posts can be targeted to segments of your followers, using dividers such as age, gender, geographical location, but it does cost money to do so.
Like a more formal and professional version of Facebook, G+ is good for companies in the B2B sphere. The sharing of frivolous content tends to be frowned upon, so you don’t see as many funny kitten pictures as you would on FB, but if you want to disseminate serious useful information among peers, this is one of the best places.
Tip: Keywords are important here, so link back to your own website’s content frequently.
If your business isn’t yet on Twitter then it really ought to be. This is the place to start a topical conversation, or join one, and like G+ it’s an invaluable networking tool, as well as a fantastic way to interact with your customers on a real-time basis. Many brands now use Twitter explicitly for customer services, with some maintaining the channel 24/7 for that purpose.
It’s the best tool to spread information succinctly and immediately.
Tip: Remember any negative feedback will be shared rapidly so Twitter feeds need to be monitored constantly, especially during sensitive periods.
Like a combined online rolodex and a networking event, LinkedIn is best for companies in the B2B sphere, and especially recruitment agencies. Longform content does well here, as do lengthy debates on industry-related topics.
Tip: Remember that people with upgraded memberships can tell if you’ve been looking at their profiles.
Instagram / Pinterest
Placed together purely for the sake of brevity, these sites serve different purposes and are used in varying ways, but they are both essential for companies with a strong visual element to their offerings, such as clothes and food retailers, and luxury brands. Superb for fast brand-building and telling an effective story, a good image can speak a thousand words.
Tip: Don’t focus too heavily on selling; instead create a distinctive viewpoint that will make your brand stand out.
Again excellent for visual storytelling, where Youtube really stands out is for providing guides such as instructions, and interviews with company executives as well as other members of the team. Content here does well in Google searches of course, as Google owns it.
Tip: Develop multiple channels to distribute videos on different themes.
Whichever platforms your company uses, a healthy mix is required. Experiment with each, but choose the platform that best reflects your company’s needs and is where you will find the audience you want. Remember that you need to update on a regular basis, several times daily for Twitter and Facebook, at least weekly for LinkedIn, for example.