How to pick the right social media networks for your business

There are many. And picking the ones that work for your business best will help you save time – which ultimately is your most valuable asset. Here is a short review of the most popular platforms and why they might be a good fit for your business:

Google+

Although many argue that the platform itself is not as good as everyone anticipated, I find Google + to be one of the best web traffic boosters I know. Given that it is Google’s very own product, it naturally pushes your content up the search engine ladder. The more your content is shared, the easier it is to be found via the search engine.

It works for both B2B and B2C and there are many ways you can interact with other users. Users can share their own content, re-share existing posts and engage in conversations within groups. As a user you can set up as many pages as you like and you can co-manage them with other users.

LinkedIn

The place to be for all professionals, I find that LinkedIn works best for B2B marketing. It is a great place for your business and yourself to be seen as it is your virtual marketplace where you can connect with your peers and potential clients, join relevant groups and is a great way to keep in touch with your target audience. Use the advanced search functionality, start and participate in group discussions and share relevant content.

If you are targeting senior decision makers, this is definitely the type of social media that you should be using daily. Even if you don’t have your own content to share, you can build up your influence by re-sharing useful knowledge – your connections will associate the quality of the content you share with you and your business.

Twitter

Twitter is an universal platform that works well for all businesses, irrespective of size or industry. The thing to remember is its high velocity which means that things get lost pretty quickly. You don’t need to sit there and keep tweeting all day – you can just set and schedule your tweets to go out throughout the day. You can form some great networks with fellow tweeters, as there is no need to approve connections and users follow each other based on the interest in the other person’s tweets.

I find that tweets with pictures get more retweets and favourites, and are also the main referrals to the website. Pictures, however take up space so you will need to shorten your tweet, but I definitely recommend doing it. Use a URL shortener such as bit.ly or owl.ly to make the most of the word count. If you are sharing someone else’s content, it’s always nice to mention them in the tweet – they will be more likely to return the favour.

Facebook

Definitely one for B2C, but always helpful if you can get your friends help to promote your brand even if it’s in the B2B space. For your B2C campaigns, you can get your audience to like, re-share  or tag a friend as part of your content strategy. That way you are extending your brand’s presence onto their connections. Visuals work really well with Facebook, even better if supported by a catchy wording to go with it.

You can start a page and ask people to like it which will result in your page’s updates being included in their news feed. When asking your friends to like your page, spend some time thinking about the message that you will send them – avoid a blank invite to the page as they are more likely to ignore it. On your page, use relevant wording and keep your updates regular. Even if you don’t see much social interaction, it is a great reminder about your brand.

StumbleUpon

This is another great platform that will boost your web traffic. Works for everyone really, although I find it to work more effectively with visual content. The platform itself uses your bookmark to push relevant web pages in front of you, so tagging of your web pages is the most important thing here. You will need to pick your category and type in your relevant key words that describe the page.

In order to add a page, you will need to download a plugin and click the “like” button at the tool bar and then add the pages you like. Simple and very effective.

SlideShare

Ideal for B2B and businesses who use thought leadership as part of their marketing strategy and have presentations and PDF documents to share. It’s a very useful resource that can help you promote your expertise by simply uploading your documents and adding relevant tags.

YouTube

For any business who uses video to market themselves, there is no better place to be than YouTube – no matter if you are targeting consumers or businesses. Videos are a very powerful tool to get your brand noticed and this platform provides an easy way to create your profile and upload videos. As always, tagging them with the most relevant terms is the key to be found. It’s quite a lot going on in there, so you will want to make sure your profile stands out.

Pinterest

Given its visual nature, it is more effective with B2C, but you can’t go wrong with using it for visual demonstration of data such as infographics, for your B2B audience. Similarly to StumbleUpon, you will need to download a plugin and then start pinning things to your boards. Creating clear and accurate descriptions for your boards will make it easier for other users to find your content.

Instagram

Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is set for visual content. You just need to hashtag your posts so you appear in searches. There is no limit to how many hashtags can you use, so use as many as you need to cover all relevant search terms.

These are only the few platforms that I believe get used the most, however I’m sure there are plenty others that are equally effective that I’ve missed. Please feel free to share any that you think should be added in the comments below.

The key to success in any social media marketing is the volume and quality of interactions with fellow users. Don’t just promote yourself but also get involved in online conversations, help others to promote their brands and return their shares. One thing that we often forget is that even though this is all happening online, we are still talking to people and should maintain good manners as we do in our offline communication.

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