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Make Smart Social Media Choices

Social Media ChoicesSocial media seems to be all the rage right now.   You hear about new social media applications every week or so.   It can be overwhelming and confusing since you don’t know which is best for your company or if you should jump on the bandwagon of something new.

One thing we do know, social media has become integral to increasing your brand presence. Our competition is online and we need to be there too!  But we need to be smart about it and pick the right platform for our business.

With so many social media outlets available, utilizing each of the outlets can be incredibly difficult and time consuming. Let’s look at the various popular social media channels and see which is best for YOUR business.

Social Media Channels for YOUR Business

Choosing the proper platforms will assist you in getting the most out of your time. This guide will help you find the right fit for your company while highlighting the focal points of each.

Twitter

Who should use it: Anyone and everyone. From ordinary individuals to worldwide corporations.
What to share: Start, join in and take the lead on conversations with brands and customers.
Post frequency: As much as necessary; daily.

Twitter is the dominant democracy of the social-sharing economy. Relevancy, personality and brevity are essential in getting your brand out there.

Useful tools: Buffer, Hootsuite, Meet Eger, and programs allow you to stockpile and schedule content in advance. Tools like this allow for posting around-the-clock, increasing the likelihood of snagging followers outside of your country or time zone without being on your laptop or device constantly.

It’s a guarantee that a conversation relevant to your industry or business is occurring on Twitter. The only question: are you part of it?

Instagram

Who should use it: Lifestyle, food, fashion, personalities and luxury brands.
What to share: Share visual content including brief videos.
Post frequency: Once a day.

You’ll want to experiment with your own user base and followers, but it’s likely that the best time to target your posts will be finding your audience’s eyes during their commutes, nights, and weekends.

Useful tools:  While hashtags are clickable and useful for search purposes, links in comments and captions are not. Links can be hard to correctly identify and are visually less appealing.

Instead, use the integrated sharing functions for Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter to repurpose your Instagram posts for more shareable media. Include a relevant hashtag to become more discoverable on Instagram and to track engagement across sites where you share your content.

Followgram is a great tool for tracking your stats on your most liked and commented posts, along with identifying top tags and locations.

LinkedIn

Who should use it: Businesses (especially B2B service providers), recruiters and job-seekers
What to share: Job-postings, company descriptions, employer/employee research
Post frequency: Two to four times a week

LinkedIn is the online analog to old fashioned networking. People – and connections to people – are everything

Keep a company description and profile page mindful of keyword SEO, but your network of employees and contacts is your most valuable (and potentially damaging) content on LinkedIn. Make sure people in your organization are appropriate, professional and on-brand. There’s nowhere online where employers and employees are more intimately linked.

Companies seeking clients and individuals seeking employment should grow their LinkedIn networks by adding as many real connections as possible. Use your second and third-degree connections to request personal introductions (when reasonable), and weed out the Internet’s infinity of companies and applications, focusing on opportunities where you have some real connection.

Top tip: LinkedIn shares more about your own electronic tendencies than any other network. Paid users can see who’s viewing their profiles.

Facebook

Who should use it: Open to all.
What to share: All types of online content, events, ads, ideas, visual content, anything relevant.
Post frequency: Twice a day or more.

Consider advertising or paying to promote your page on Facebook, but avoid making your brand’s Facebook page resemble an advertisement. Inspire conversations and shares – and be sure to ask questions.  Get the conversation going?  The more you can engage your followers the more they will feel a relationship to you.

In comparison to other social media platforms, Facebook is best equipped to openly share responses to a post asking a question or sparking conversation. Answers then appear in friends of your respondents, spreading the conversation.

Facebook offers personal connection and an enjoyable distraction amidst the work day, but use typically peaks outside of work hours. There’s no shortage of options for analyzing Facebook data. Track the success of your content by date and time to hone in on the best times for engaging your audience.

Useful tools: Facebook Scheduler and Insights – built into Facebook, you can schedule posts and use the insights to see how well each post is doing.  The insights also show you when your followers are online, demographic info, etc.

URL shortener Bitly does more than just shrink down links. Each time you convert a link, Bitly offers stats on clicks generated from that specific link, making it helpful to see how much traffic is generated directly from sharing to Facebook.

Google+

Who should use it: Brands that regularly use other social media outlets, B2B, networking, bloggers.
What to share: More formal and professional than Facebook; Hashtags have major search value.
Post frequency: Once or twice a day

As Google’s proposed alternative to Facebook, keyword and search engine optimization are central to the appeal of Google+. Link often to content on your own website to direct this search boost where you want it most.

Useful tools: Bloggers, set up to Google Authorship and have your Google+ profile follow your content from across the Web in search results. More than any particular feature of Google+, users are enticed by integration with Google’s other products.

YouTube

Who should use it: Brands with video content and ads, anyone giving explanations or sharing expertise.
What to share: Short video content
Post frequency: Once or twice a week

Google treats its own well, and YouTube is the prime example of this fact. YouTube videos feature prominently in Google search results.

Keep this in mind when naming and describing videos, and direct people looking for insight or information within your industry topics to your brand’s page.

Useful tools: A subscription widget or link to your website can help convert single views into long-term influence.

Pinterest

Who should use it: Fashion, food, design, travel and anything DIY; audience is predominantly female.
What to share: Creative, visual content.
Post frequency: Multiple times per day.

Users pin and re-pin posts to Pinterest Boards, which naturally push the content on Pinterest into categories. This makes easily-categorized content most apt for sharing, and wisely-chosen keywords essential to successful post captions.

Pinterest differs from other popular search engines in heavily favoring recent content. Pinning and re-pinning frequently is necessary to appear within current results for a given search term, regardless of how popular your content is.

Top tip: That stunning visual content on Pinterest? Undoubtedly the hard work of a designer, photographer or videographer. Technically, you’re only supposed to pin content you own or that’s within the public domain. Be sure to attribute your pins appropriately.

Yelp/Foursquare

Who should use it: B2C companies, brick-and-mortar outlets (especially stores, restaurants, etc.)
What to share:
Location-based business search and reviews
Post frequency: Before your physical business opens and whenever information changes. Otherwise, at least weekly.

Share details about your business on an official company profile page. Monitor customer feedback related to your business, and respond to concerns raised in reviews. Consider it free promotion and advertisement (although paid promotions are also available).

Keep your information updated, and pay attention to keywords and SEO in crafting descriptions – Yelp listings in particular feature prominently in Google searches for local businesses.

On the consumer side of these B2C networks, reviewers and bloggers can use Yelp and Foursquare to grow their following. You can’t post a link in a review (Yelp with flag those and potentially suspend your profile), but you can develop a reputation for reliable reviews.

Top tip: Both Yelp and Foursquare users tend to glance, so it’s important to get as many high numbered ratings as possible to gain a positive first impression. Add a link to your blog or personal website under the profile section to capture additional readership.

New Arrivals on the Scene

Two new arrivals on the social media landscape are Periscope and Anchor.

Periscope often referred to as Scope is a live streaming video that lasts for a limited time and then expires.   Those who scope seem to have lots of interaction and love it.   It also automatically posts a notification to your followers on twitter.

Anchor is an audio recording application that allows you to record for 2 minutes. Each recording is called a wave.  Others can reply to your wave and a conversation can go back and forth.  I’m seeing a lot of unique uses for this.

Take Your Pick

So there you have it, the most popular social media channels for you to consider for your business.   My suggestion would be to educate yourself a little and then research where most of your clients are.  Wherever your clients spend their time, you should be also.

If you are new to social media or putting your business on social media, don’t try to do it all.   Pick one platform and build up a following there.   Once you feel successful then branch out.  The important thing is that you build a relationship with followers.