Social media is a phenomenon of our age. Once a way for millennials to share status updates, social platforms like Facebook have become titans of business, with everyone from multinationals to governments having a presence.
There are massive opportunities available to smart businesses, even though the platforms themselves don’t always make money (following an extraordinarily successful precedent set by companies such as Facebook where monetisation occurred only after widespread adoption). Large companies hire media managers to maintain an online presence in social platforms, but even small companies can benefit from careful forays into these platforms.
We stress the use of the word ‘careful’ when regarding forays into social platforms as the same reach that allows your carefully crafted message to deliver your brand to a massive new audience can also deliver a damning indictment if the wrong message is received. Ensure these powerful tools follow the script.
One fact of any social media presence is the need for consistent content; if you aren’t speaking, then your audience will drift away. You might not need to post every day, and for some platforms you definitely shouldn’t, but if you’re not finding something to say each week then you’re not using the platform to its capacity. However this comes with a cost as significant time and effort is needed for generating all this content.
Another danger of social media occurs when businesses lose sight of their goals. It’s easy to spend a lot of time and money fostering your loyal online community, which is fantastic and uplifting, but ultimately an expensive distraction if you are selling a product or service and fail to convert that community vibe into profits.
We’ve talked about the risks of social media first, because these can be overlooked in the excitement around the benefits:
Active engagement is a hallmark of a successful modern company. Social media used well is a gateway into your company, a living index of shared information and exchange, with a real audience the size of which staggers belief. You just need to reach a tiny percentage of that audience to be successful.
Another positive benefit of active social media is the impact on Google search results. If people are searching for your company name, or for topics on which you are published, then your social pages may rank very highly and increase that all-important impression of your company having a significant presence.
There are a lot of social media platforms and it probably isn’t feasible to use them all. Some of them probably aren’t suitable to your business, and some may demand more of your time than seems likely to be rewarded. Let’s talk about some of the biggest platforms you should consider – and you really should consider them all because the one thing they have in common is that they all have more than a hundred million users.
Facebook was founded in February 2004, and has changed the world. Almost 2 billion people use Facebook for socialising, news, games, business, and more. Businesses may use Facebook to engage their community, and for advertising. In 2016, Facebook revenue from advertising surpassed giant rival Google. Facebook advertising is generally inexpensive, has massive reach and may be refined or restricted based on sophisticated user demographics. If you don’t have a Facebook company page then you should get one.
Twitter recently raised two billion dollars selling non-voting shares using a prospectus that clearly stated there was no guaranteed path to monetisation. The investors clearly believe in the prospects of this company, as do the 300 million monthly active users. Messages on twitter are limited to 140 characters, so this is the perfect platform for headline announcements. Twitter followers will expect regular content updates on this platform, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice your perfect pithy prose.
Google-owned YouTube is a massive platform for sharing videos. For a company, this video content can be advertising, guides, or anything else interesting that you wish to share. YouTube is a great place to put your company videos, saving you the storage, giving you another forum online, and providing extra Google search results for your content at the same time.
LinkedIn is a professional networking tool. This isn’t the place to support your community or blast your ad campaign; rather it is the forum for engaging your peers. Content similar to blog posts may be shared through your company and personal LinkedIn pages to remind your colleagues of how you’re keeping busy, and who they should call if an opportunity arises in your area. You won’t want to spam content on LinkedIn, and should focus on sharing quality material that showcases your thoughts or efforts.
These three distinct platforms provide different means to share images and short video content. Used by some to share pictures of breakfast, companies use these platforms to share product snapshots, showcase the people and places around their company, and promote the events they host or attend. The visual nature of these platforms means they aren’t for everyone – but even if this kind of platform isn’t to your taste personally, you can’t ignore the millions of people active here daily, so maybe it’s worth considering what snapshots might interest your customers.
There are so many more platforms that could be included on this list. Reddit might be perfect for you, or Slideshare, or maybe you have an idea for a regular podcast. The information contained in this discussion is a starting point for an exploration of social media; there are entire books and thousands of pages on online content on the topic if you wish to dig deeper.
We take a different look at the social side of apps in the topic ratings reviews downloads, where we talk about how your products are received and perceived, and what you can do about it.
If you’d like to speak with one of our social media specialists about setting up a campaign for your business then please call our Perth office on 1300 DAPPER from within Australia, or submit an online request for a meeting or consultation via our Contact page.