Social media has swept the globe, and every week it seems like someone is discussing a new platform or method of distribution for social media.
These growing platforms are valuable for marketing, brand management and customer feedback where businesses are concerned.
How you use your social accounts can give people insight into your business, build awareness and result in additional conversions if you do it correctly. Social media is a free way of accessing audiences, and can result in conversions, sales and brand awareness you otherwise may not have had, with audiences you may not have reached through traditional marketing.
Therefore, it is essential to know the specifics of each social media platform in order to further develop your business with an effective option. Some of the more popular social media platforms are LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok.
From a personal point of view, Facebook is a social networking app, which came into being as a desktop website. Users create profiles for free, on which they can then post images and videos, share opinions and ideas, put up links to articles and music, and join groups with other like-minded people.
From a business point of view, however, businesses can create a ‘page’ on Facebook, which users then like to stay up to date with announcements, product launches, and general content that is uploaded. You can set up an ‘about’ section on your page explaining what your business stands for, you can link your website, add contact information, as well create question templates that customers can use to message your page easily.
Pages are for businesses and external facing brands (like a website), whereas a profile is a private friend-facing tool to connect with people.
How can Facebook help your business?
Facebook is one of the original social media platforms and it makes for a great way to steer additional traffic to your website. Sharing links to useful sites or articles, uploading videos and photos and engaging with people in Facebook groups will get your business profile raised.
Facebook owns Instagram so you can create and promote ads on Facebook for both platforms.
Here, you can create a target audience, create ad-specific content that reaches a wider demographic, and also can choose how you’d like your ad to be presented to potential customers. Another great way to boost sales is creating a ‘reviews’ section on your Facebook pages, where previous customers can provide reviews – this builds a sense of trust and transparency between your business and potential customers.
Instagram is a social media platform that’s entirely based around visual content in the form of pictures and videos. It exists with a basic rule, you follow accounts that interest you, and if your account interests people, they follow you back.
You can post images on Instagram in three dimensions; 1080 x 1080, 1080 x 1350 (portrait) and 1080 x 608 (landscape). As for videos, Instagram has brought in various updates that now make it easier for people to view the sort of content they’d like, as well as gives you the opportunity, as a brand, to cater to different audiences and allow for more reach. Videos can be put up in the dimensions mentioned above, or you can use Reels which lets you record 15-60-second portrait videos that can be edited along with music, text, and effects. Another excellent feature available on Instagram is the video tab, which allows you to share videos up to 15 minutes long.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may also be able to use Instagram Shopping to display your products, add prices as well as link them back to your website to purchase. Instagram Stories provide a great way to share behind-the-scenes footage, upcoming products, or real-time snippets to build greater trust with your audience as well as help your business be more relatable.
How can Instagram help your business?
Instagram is an indispensable marketing tool for business owners with visual products, given the amount of people who use it on a daily basis, as well as showcasing visual elements of brands.
If you’re not a visual brand, consider how you can show behind-the-scenes insight through photos and videos of your company, to humanise your brand.
The great thing about Instagram is that businesses of all sizes can thrive on Instagram – and while it may be unrealistic to achieve this overnight, it is possible to reach a wider audience with consistent content sharing, using the platform in a smart manner, or collaborating with influencers.
TikTok is a video-sharing platform that allows users to record up to 3-minutes’ worth of footage which is short, sharp and with music. Users have the choice of recording videos directly on the app along with the usage of special effects and filters provided by the app or can import videos from their phones and layer text, songs, and sound snippets. The nature of the app is such that users can easily get carried away watching short, fun, and random videos for hours on end.
The app has two sets of feeds, a ‘For You page’ and a ‘Following’ section – as the names suggested, the ‘Following’ section shows content from the users you’re following and the ‘For You page’ shows content TikTok has curated for you, based on the general algorithm as well as new content that’s being tested for data collection purposes.
How can TikTok help your business?
TikTok gives users two Pro account options based on whether you are a creator or a business. Though switching to a Pro account doesn’t increase your video’s chances at showing up on a user’s For You page, it is still essential at mastering the algorithm and looking into insights. Metrics and insights are a great way to understand user behaviour, knowing who your audience is, where they’re tuning in from and what kind of content, they enjoy the most is key in boosting business growth.
The easiest way to gain views and engagement is to add a shock value or hook which shows up in the beginning and makes the user want to stop scrolling.
One way in which you can ensure your content reaches people is by creating an ad that shows up mid-way while people are using the app, or it comes up as the first thing they see when the app is opened. Another way is to do what the rest of the creators are doing – create original content. Participating in TikTok challenges, using trending sounds, and showcasing what it is that your business does in a quirky way that would attract potential consumers.
Given its incredibly fast growth, businesses are only now realising the true potential of TikTok as a marketing tool. In fact, Instagram rolled out its Reels tab after the advent of TikTok saw huge growth in the short-form vertical video space. Both are great for getting involved in viral challenges, creating friendly and engaging content and doing short, sharp videos, edited within the apps.
The business or corporate equivalent of LinkedIn, this site is great for sharing company news, information and job postings. The site is very active on business days, given its users, however is quieter on weekends. LinkedIn also has the option of company pages or profiles. This means you can create a company page, again like a website, and have your own profile with connections. Connections can see your posts and activity, whereas everyone who ‘follows’ a page can see the activity. LinkedIn also allows video uploads, link sharing and picture formats so you can choose the way you present your content.
How can LinkedIn help your business?
Using a page is excellent for sharing achievements or links to insightful articles. You can also use your profile to promote your company and connect with other like-minded (or sometimes not so like-minded) individuals. LinkedIn has its own advertising suite too, so you can promote content from videos to links, downloads and forms. If your work focuses on a B2B format, LinkedIn can be beneficial in establishing new relationships, reaching business owners and senior executives and promoting your company.
Twitter is essentially a micro-blogging site. Here, a user creates an account, posts a message, also known as a ‘tweet,’ which is limited to 280 characters, along with a picture, video or external website link if required. Connections here are made by following one another, and once followed, anything the user or organisation posts will show up on your Twitter feed. ‘Retweeting’ is also a big part of Twitter and how it works. This mainly involves people resharing tweets from other individuals, or organisations, and businesses with their own followers.
The culture of Twitter is incredibly instantaneous – conversations here are created and become viral very quickly. Most activity on Twitter takes place around a hashtag based around an ongoing issue, trend, or subject. Think of Twitter as a form of texting to a global audience instead of just one person.
How can Twitter help your business?
With around 400 million tweets being generated every day on the site, it goes to show how actively Twitter is used not just among those who tweet, but also among people who view these tweets as well as engage with them – this makes Twitter a great tool to use to grow your clientele and boost your business.
The best way to use Twitter would obviously be to submerge yourself within the culture of Twitter. Using relevant hashtags is a great way to increase the visibility of your posts beyond your followers. Think of Twitter like a party, where multiple people are around the room having multiple conversations. You can duck in and out of various ones, sharing your thoughts, hearing theirs, and moving on, working the room so to speal.
Identifying the right hashtag is key if you want your tweet to be grouped within ongoing discussions and for it to get the appropriate engagement. Many businesses use hashtags creatively to their advantage and make it a great feature to use when marketing their products.
YouTube is a free video-sharing website that makes it easy for you to watch and upload videos on practically any topic. Engagement on YouTube generally takes place through watching, commenting, liking, or disliking, and sharing the video. If the account that puts up a video has more content you’re interested in, you can also ‘subscribe’ to their channel – this ensures you receive a notification each time they upload new videos and also shows their recent uploads to your YouTube main screen.
How can YouTube help your business?
YouTube is a great platform to market your business given its popularity and features.
Your business could use YouTube to an advantage in a number of ways. You can upload videos demonstrating how your products work, or by providing in-depth explanations about your services – this works exceptionally well if your business does not have a physical store as it gives some amount of confidence and satisfaction to potential customers.
Another way in which you could benefit from using YouTube is by showcasing your expertise on relevant matters which helps in building a reputation as an expert in the field. This could include anything from short video tips to detailed video tutorials. Like other social media platforms, YouTube as well allows for sponsored content to be shown to viewers. You could choose what sort of ad you wish to pay for, it could be a banner running on the top of your main YouTube screen, or could be skippable/unskippable ads that are played before a selected YouTube video is played.
It’s also worth noting that YouTube is owned by Google and therefore is involved in SEO – so you want to ensure your YouTube videos have robust titles and descriptions with plenty of keywords.