It’s pretty easy to get overwhelmed by social media options. Some sites seem to come and go so quickly that they never have a chance to gain footing, or you only hear about them when they’re already in decline. Of course Facebook is the heavy hitter, and YouTube is hugely popular but often disregarded as social media because of the reliance strictly on video content. Twitter always makes its way into the conversation, but it continues to be used by a relatively smaller number of users and may be unnecessary for businesses. Don’t get us started on the big changes for Google+. With all of that in mind, how do you decide where to focus your social media efforts?
Here is a quick rundown of a few current social media sites to consider for your business.
Google has done it again…maybe. It’s hard to figure out exactly what the future of Google+ is because Google is being vague about how the platform is changing, but it seems that a lot of the social functionality and business sharing will be phasing out as they begin to focus on business listings integrating with local search, and as personal pages move to different formats. Businesses are highly encouraged to claim their Google listing because this gives you control over how your business appears in local search, but it’s questionable whether sharing posts on Google+ will continue to help your digital marketing presence. For now, we suggest posting to Google+ still, but we’ll see how that changes in the coming months.
Pinterest has been popular from its birth because it is visual and fun, includes elements of organizing, inspiring, and sharing, and has a unique demographic. Pinterest is overwhelmingly female (85%) and tends to draw women with higher household incomes. Not every type of business does well on Pinterest, but those with visually interesting products—especially products that change frequently—and businesses that provide services having to do with health, wellness, fitness, fashion, beauty, and travel can garner incredible followings on Pinterest when done correctly. What you should know: Pinterest has opened up its paid advertising options to all accounts. Check out their tutorials if you want to try promoting a pin and see what kind of response you get. You can make it inexpensive and still get interest from other users, and traffic for your site.
LinkedIn is an interesting social media site. Generally it is used for professionals to connect with each other and to follow companies and view their job opportunities. The nice thing about LinkedIn is that you don’t have to post updates for it to be effective. For instance, any company that has a staff may occasionally have job openings. If you simply have a LinkedIn page and post your job opening there when it opens up, you’re likely to get people sharing your post because it’s the perfect place to let your network know about available jobs. That’s not the only place you should post a job opening, but it’s a good idea, and it’s quick and easy.
The thing about Twitter is that it does a few things really well and doesn’t do much else. Granted, they are increasing the character limit to tweets, which may change the dynamic of the site, but it still does best with only certain kinds of marketing. For example, Twitter is great for events and expos where people can tweet with an identical hashtag and find out what’s going on around them. Twitter is also good for customer service. Someone may not necessarily send you an email to ask about a product or to let you know that they liked a product or have a suggestion, but they may tweet at you instead. This is good and bad. It opens up more lines of communication, but it also means that you have to have someone on staff who has notifications going to their phone. If you don’t see and respond to tweets fast enough, you might as well not have Twitter. Also, Twitter has 65 million users in the US, but over 40% of accounts have been created and never sent a tweet. It’s difficult to tell how good Twitter is for most businesses on a local level, and if it seems like it doesn’t do much for your business, it’s probably not necessary to spend time on it.
Of course, there are plenty others to consider. YouTube is a must if you have any video content. If you have lots of interesting visual content, Instagram can help drive web traffic and engage younger users. Facebook is necessary for most businesses regardless of industry (with a few exceptions). What social media sites are you on?