Using Social Media Platforms to Market Your Business

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“You have to post this!” “Oh, don’t bother with that platform!” “Make sure you’re posting X times per day!” You’ve probably heard them all when it comes to figuring out your business’s social media strategy. It can quickly feel overwhelming as you try to best represent your brand as well as be engaging, informative, and even a little funny so we’re sharing the inside insights to help you decide which social media platforms are right for your business.

Getting Started
If you’re just getting started with social media marketing, now is the perfect time to create clear expectations, establish metrics for success, and determine your audiences. Where do you want to be in 90 days? 100 followers? A year from now? 10,000 followers? Will you even measure social success in terms of likes and follows or are you more interested in the leads you can generate through social engagement? Is your audience made up of industry decision-makers or the company rank and file – or both? Now’s the time to make sure the content creation matches the audience and keeps them interested, engaged, entertained, and informed.

two people at table with various electronic devices

Do your research now to find out where your customers are spending most of their time on social media. Are they on Facebook commenting enthusiastically on a specific topic? Or are they on Instagram posting daily about their latest adventures or the most popular foodie spot? Are they on LinkedIn following an industry influencer or leading a group? Go where they are and target your communications.

Social Media Platforms
There are many different social media platforms to consider, with new ones popping up every month it seems, so here are a few insights into the four major social media players.

Facebook: Facebook has 2.06 billion users globally. That’s a pretty big platform to use to tell your story, and it is increasing where people will turn to learn more about your brand. You may be surprised to learn that Facebook – over other social media channels – is also where 24% of senior decision-makers look for information when making a purchasing choice. (LinkedIn was cited as the preferred platform by 17% of decision-makers putting it far ahead of Twitter, which was the primary source of information for just 6% of decision-makers.)

woman holding laptop with facebook

Twitter: Twitter is a great tool to use to communicate in real-time. It’s also one of the only social platforms where you are encouraged to post multiple times a day. As with any other platform, begin by creating content here that people will find informative, engaging, entertaining or fun, but–even with 240 characters–keep things short. You can always link to your blog post if you have a lot to say. Twitter is a great place to show your sense of humor and humanize your brand. Ask questions and run polls: What Spotify playlist is your office listening to today? Is your Keurig for coffee or tea? Your posts shouldn’t always be business or even industry specific. And trends are showing that they all shouldn’t be.

Instagram: With its 700 million users, Instagram is a perfect platform if you have a visual product or brand. Use the platform to show off your latest project; with the addition of slideshows on a post, you can showcase an exceptional before and after. If you’re hosting an event, share behind the scenes snapshots or a special social graphic promoting it with your unique hashtag so attendees can get excited about the event. Remember to follow your hashtag to spot images that your followers have posted and, with the original poster’s permission, repost those images.

laptop showing instagram login screen

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with more than 530 million users worldwide, 128 million of whom are in the US alone. LinkedIn allows you to promote your company news, showcase your specialties, and encourage your staffers on the platform to share it out as brand ambassadors. Because every single Fortune 500 company is on LinkedIn–as well as thousands more businesses–you can also connect with leaders in your industry through groups and keep an eye on what the competition is doing.

Social Media is About Conversations
The success of social media marketing depends heavily on how much effort you put into it. If you’re active on your platforms (posting, engaging, commenting, liking, and sharing) and responsive to your fans, you’ll be able to build a loyal following. If your current business demands mean that you can only manage to post sporadically and not respond to your followers when they comment, consider if this is the right timing and medium for you.

Whichever platforms you choose, skip the sales pitch.
The hard sell has no place on social and most followers will scroll right past those posts. Instead, start a conversation to build trust and relationships with your target markets. Don’t always talk about all the new diamonds you just got in. Instead, talk about trends in ring design and tips for handling wedding stress, share proposal videos and maid of honor checklists.

Create content that is specific to each platform.
A lot of businesses spend hours creating an amazing promotional image, and then use that same image on all of their channels. There are some cases where this may work, but for the most part what you’ll end up with is an image that looks stellar on Facebook and has the tagline chopped off on Instagram. Be smart when it comes to promoting content across your channels: your YouTube video from your most recent seminar is a great share for Facebook where Instagram might be a perfect place for a social graphic promoting the conference. Don’t forget that white paper that goes in depth on the subject matter can be pushed out on your company LinkedIn. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you’re planning your content.

two women at computer

Test What is and What Isn’t Working for You
The best way for you to find which platform works best for you is to test, test, test, and then test again! Maybe all of the popular platforms work for your business, but maybe not. It is perfectly acceptable to spend the bulk of your time and resources on one or two social media platforms, while simply keeping an active presence on the others or skip them altogether. But don’t make assumptions about where your audience will be found. Times have changed and so has social media marketing.

John Brown, group head of engagement for Hotwire, said: “It’s time to put to bed the myth of some channels only being suitable for B2B communications and others for B2C. Social media has eroded these divides and created an environment where what matters is how compelling the story is, not where decision makers see the story.

Remember, just because one platform doesn’t work this month or this quarter don’t count it out entirely. Keep an eye on the trends and where your targets are because one this is certain in social media marketing: things are always changing. If you still feel like you don’t know where to start getting the thumbs up on social, we’re here to help. Black Bear’s social media experts can help you establish your presence, strategize social media marketing and even manage it all every month. Contact us to find out more.

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