How to Use Social Media Platforms (As a Business)
No two platforms are quite the same.
Think of social media platforms as tools in your marketing toolbox. You wouldn’t use a hammer to tighten a screw, would you? So why do people treat Facebook like Twitter? And if you never used your pliers, you’d be preventing yourself from doing every job of which you’re capable. The same holds true for ignoring sites like Reddit and Pinterest.
Knowing the best way to utilize different social media platforms will increase your company’s marketing power, helping get your message out to the people.
Ah…Facebook. Arguably the most famous of social media platforms, if your company already has a social media presence, it’s probably on Mr. Zuckerberg’s book of faces. Many people are already on it, so if they search for your company there, your page will pop up (and if you have a shopping cart on said page, that’s another selling channel working for you).
Facebook also allows you to buy ad space, which seems like a good idea–if people are already spending an incredible amount of time on social media, then why not advertise to them there? But there are so many ads out there already that social media goers are getting really good at ignoring them. Why spend money on something people are going to ignore?
Instead, use Facebook to connect with your customers in a way that makes them interested in you. Facebook lets you use images and pictures to tell your story, and then respond to people to comment on them. Get people engaged in what you’re all about, and they’re practically your customers already.
Reddit is a quirky website, for sure, so keep that in mind when marketing to the people on the so-called “Front page of the Internet.” (Just look at their ad sales pitch deck.) Reddit’s audience skews to the 30-and-under crowd, usually geeks and web-savvy folks, so be mindful of that when creating content to be shared on Reddit. If you create spammy or overly advertising-type materials, you’ll be worse than ignored–you’ll be mocked. (Sure, they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but really…there is.)
In order to use Reddit effectively, you’ll need to get creative. Think outside the box. Don’t just think how your product or service can provide value to this audience–think how yo can make it interesting and entertaining to them. Are you familiar with any memes? Any pop culture you can link yourself to?
Using Reddit can be tricky, but if you do it well, your content can gain a lot of momentum (and a lot of attention for your business).
Twitter only allows posts of up to 140 characters, so whatever you say on this platform has got to be short and sweet. While links to larger articles are expected, try not to include one in everything you post. Take advantage of hashtags to hop on bandwagons (or to start one rolling), but never use a hashtag just because it’s trending.
Look to July 2012 for an example on what not to do. @celebboutique posted about the trending hashtag #Aurora, as they had a line of clothes with Kim Kardashian by that name. Unknown to them, #Aurora was trending because of the tragic shooting incident in Colorado.
So while Twitter can get your company quite a bit of attention, you need to make sure it’s the right kind of attention. Use it to let people know about things right when they’re happening. Some people (like Mark Cuban) use it more than Google when looking for up-to-the-minute news. Keep that in mind.
The thing about social media is that it connects you to someone, so the question you need to ask to ask yourself before posting something for your business is, “Who am I trying to connect with?” If the answer is, “Predominately women,” then you should head to Pinterest. Sources vary on what the precise gender ratio is (and take note that it’s more balanced in the UK), but most agree the site is visited by more women than men.
In any case, Pinterest is great for any business that wants to add some visual appeal to their marketing. Like an online corkboard, content on the site consists of “pins,” or pictures/images with some words beneath. Users can repin something to their own board, or send pins to other users.
Like with all social media platforms, your strategy here should be to create interesting content that people will want to repin, and to repin content you think your users will find interesting. Be a place where people come to find things they like, and soon you will be one of the things they like.
There’s no question that Google is the world’s biggest search engine, easily blowing the others out of the water, but how does this global giant stack up in the social media world? I know that when I first saw it, I thought they were just trying to put a Google spin over everything Facebook already does. I didn’t see the value in it.
But being connected to a giant search engine has its perks.
For businesses, these perks include getting found more easily in Google searches. (And isn’t that one of the key motivations behind marketing?) If you create a Google Business page–essentially a page for a company instead of a person–and then make a Google Places page, a nice little box will pop up when someone searches for you on Google. People can leave reviews of your company on the Places page, and aren’t we all a bit more trusting of what other people have to say about a company versus what that company says about itself?
Google also has something on Facebook in its Google Hangouts. Social media is all about connecting people, and with Google Hangouts, you can do that with voice and video (for free). You can pick up to 10 people and see them live on camera–great if you’d like to pay some special attention to some VIPs.
Utilizing each social media platforms for its strength will allow you to get the most bang for your buck (or likes, or repins, or shares…) The more you connect with your audience, the more they’ll spread the word about you, making it easier for potential customers to find you.
Have any questions for us about social media? (Or any other topic?) Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter @ShipEdge.