How to Choose the Best Social Media Platforms for Your Business

So you realize that you need to be social. But where do you start?

It can be overwhelming. There are numerous platforms and every social media advice website will tell you something different. Here is what it comes down to – you need to evaluate your brand message and your marketing goals and find platforms that match the “persona” of your business.

“But how do I know which platforms match my business?” Luckily, I am here as a social media expert to break it down the main platforms for you.

Via Flickr by marcopako

Via Flickr by marcopako

Facebook. Many say Facebook marketing is as dead as paper marketing, which, if you follow my posts, you know is not the case. It is good to have some Facebook presence no matter what your business is (however retail, restaurants, and local businesses do the best). It’s a numbers game – there are over 1.2 billion active users as of January 2014. You can’t ignore that big of platform. Granted, Facebook’s algorithms make it hard for your messages to reach that platform, but if you do a little bit of research you can greatly use organic reach Facebook to your advantage.

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Via Flickr by mkhmarketing

Twitter. With the right hashtags, you can do anything on Twitter. Yet the best businesses on Twitter are the opposite of the best businesses on Facebook. This is because retail, restaurants, and local businesses have a dedicated customer base while other businesses have more casual relationships with the audience. This is where Twitter comes in. Twitter allows you to connect with other businesses, prospective customers, and industry enthusiasts who will promote you for free – as long as you use the right hashtags. I insist the majority of my clients get both a Twitter and Facebook. They are the two powerhouse platforms you can’t ignore.

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

LinkedIn. LinkedIn is THE platform for B2B marketing. Yet LinkedIn can be tricky. You need to have one employee be the “face” of the company, meaning they create, manage, discuss, and make connections on the company’s behalf. It can be tricky to outsource your LinkedIn marketing. Usually it is best to do in house after researching the best way to use LinkedIn as a connector tool, not as a spam marketing robot.

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Via Flickr Zack D. Smith

Google+. I admit, I have a love-hate relationship with Google+. There is a lot to be desired and I don’t see its use as a social media platform – outside of its affiliation with Google. With Google’s search engine rules, having a Google+ page is practically a must. With a Google+ page, you get higher search engine rankings and more credibility in Google’s (AKA – Internet God’s) eyes. If you rely on high search engine rankings for your business, get a Google+ page.

Via Flickr marioanima

Via Flickr marioanima

YouTube. YouTube is more of a supplemental platform for your marketing plan. Only certain brands are good for YouTube. If you have the opportunity to make instructional videos, product reviews/highlights, or “commercials” online with your product or service, then YouTube is a great platform for you. Just make sure your videos are professional and high quality!

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Pinterest. Pinterest is a great platform if your business is highly visual. If you have high quality product photos or offer services that are eye-catching, get your boards started! The pinning platform is best for craft, home decor, home improvement, wedding, food-related, and retail businesses.

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Via Flickr Play Among Friends

Instagram. Like Pinterest, Instagram is great for highly visual businesses. The difference in Instagram – you need to be very interactive as well. On Pinterest, you can get away with throwing up content without a whole lot of interaction. On Instagram, you have to be involved. You have to know the best filters, know the hashtags, and know your audience as well as constantly communicating with your audience.

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Via Flickr by manoftaste.de

Blog. Bottom line – blogs are important for pretty much every business. Blogs are your opportunity to showcase your knowledge about your industry. The golden rule is to never write an entire blog post as self-promotion. You should always blog to give away “free samples” of information to your audience so they want more.

Originally posted on LinkedIn

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10 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Your Advantage

LinkedIn is the ultimate social networking for business. There are many features and tools on LinkedIn that can help you network and extend your business’ outreach. Many businesses and employees, however, are not using this social network platform to their full advantage. There are a ten easy things you can do to make LinkedIn more beneficial to your business.

Via Flickr by koka_sexton

  1. Join groups
    You can add and organize the people you connect with into groups, making it easier to share content that these groups of people would like. For example, if you publish or post content about marketing, you can post the content for these groups to view. This increases the reach your content, and business, can have.
  2. Become a specialist
    Only allow three to four endorsements on your profile in order to make yourself a specialist in certain fields. Choose endorsements that are completely relevant to what you do. Too many endorsements can damage your brand and profile. 
  3. Build credibility
    Recommendations are extremely important to establish your credibility. The internet makes people used to looking up reviews of products before they buy them. This is the same when they look up your business or profile on LinkedIn. 15 to 20 recommendations are a good start to build credibility. Look at your competitors and make sure you have more recommendations than they do. 
  4. Connect for the right reasons
    Using LinkedIn is like being in a virtual conference with people all around the world. This means you need to build valuable connections, not just connections to make your count higher. Every connection needs to correspond to your business or marketing goals. Having tons of followers will not help grow your business or profit. To get authentic followers, start with visiting your past jobs and connect with everyone you enjoyed working with. These people can also give you recommendations.

    Via Flickr by TheSeafarer

  5. Categorize the connections
    Connections can be categorized by topic in a process known as tagging. This helps make your communication with connections as targeted, personal, and specific as possible. When they are segmented by topic, it makes it easier to communicate with contacts.
  6. Add value to relationships
    You need to build a rapport with connections on LinkedIn, either past or present. This is part of why it is not a good idea to have a ton of impersonal connections. Consider what is in it for the connection to listen to you in order to start building a valuable relationship. 
  7. Be professional
    All aspects of your profile need to be professional. Your name on LinkedIn needs to be your actual business name and not a selling gimmick. Your profile photo also needs to be professional, not something you took on your beach trip. Adding a profile picture makes your profile seven times as likely to be viewed. The headline needs to encourage people to find out more about you. There are only 110 characters, so be interesting and concise. You should also customize your profile’s URL to make it easier to find.

    Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

    Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

     

     

  8. Be active on the website
    Update your status on a regular basis and share thoughtful or insightful news that pertains to your industry. Interact with groups and your connections multiple times a week in order to appear authentic and build long-lasting relationships. Also, make sure your profile is up to date constantly. 
  9. Add visual content to your profile
    Put many examples of your work on your profile to showcase your talent. Add things like test scores, courses, patents, certifications, and volunteering or causes you support. Volunteer work is great on your profile, since 42 percent of hiring managers say they view volunteer work the same as paid work. Make sure to include visual content, such as videos, presentations, and documents. 
  10. Make contact easy
    Make sure it is easy for people to contact you on LinkedIn. Put your email address and links to all social media accounts on your profile. Each person who views your profile will have their preferred method of contact, so provide a lot of options. 
Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

Via Flickr by Link Humans UK

What are some LinkedIn strategies that work well for you? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!