Introduction: The Power of Social Media Marketing
If you are a business owner in this day and age, social media marketing is really no longer optional. As more and more business leaders and entrepreneurs learn the power of social media, those business owners who have yet to adopt a social media marketing strategy are finding themselves at a massive competitive disadvantage. But beyond just keeping up with your competitors, why should you care about social media as a business owner?
Social Media: Influencing Customers, Forging Relationships
There are a couple of key benefits of social media marketing that you won’t find in any other kind of promotional medium, and as a business owner you are doing your company and brand a disservice by not capitalizing on these unique benefits. First off, looking at the statistics, it’s easy to see why social media has such an ability to influence potential customers.
- 75 percent of Americans have had their shopping behavior directly influenced by some information that they have found on social media.
- 33 percent of consumers discover new products, brands, services, and the companies that provide these services through social network sites.
- 92 percent of marketers note that investing in social media has resulted in more exposure for the businesses they work with.
Looking at these statistics and others, it’s clear that there is huge potential to use social media to directly reach, influence, and shape new potential customers and clients. With 75 percent of online adults using social media, a number that is growing every year, it just makes sense for businesses to do everything they can to reach these potential consumers. Companies that use social media marketing well have the potential to reach millions of new individuals, and those who don’t put themselves at a huge competitive disadvantage.
This is partially because of the sheer number of people on social media these days, and partially because the kinds of connections that are forged on social media are entirely unique in the marketing world. Social media marketing has a huge potential to strengthen connections between consumers and any brand. Here are a few reasons why:
- Social media facilitates conversations between your company and consumers since you can respond to customers directly on each social media platform.
- Social networking gives you the opportunity to reach out to influencers and experts in your industry, which can lead to profitable endorsements and connections that boost your credibility amongst consumers.
- Social media sites give you the chance to listen to your customers and do research about what your audience actually wants to see from your products and services.
When you combine all of these factors, it’s easy to see the massive potential that social media affords businesses. Social media sites give businesses the ability to reach new audiences, influence those audiences in unique ways, and form beneficial connections that you won’t find in any other advertising or promotional realm. And, if you capture some of that potential in the service of your business, your brand awareness and bottom line will benefit.
More Than Just Potential
If you are able to harness the power of social media for your business, you will see a lot more than just advertising potential. You will see a real boost to your business along a variety of metrics. Social media is now the number one source of website referral traffic, meaning that if you use social media the right way, your company’s site will see more traffic than it has ever seen before. This is a very good thing for your business.
In the guide that follows, we will introduce you to all of the major social media networks that are out there today. We will share some ideas about what makes each network special and a good choice for your business, as well as share some best practices for helping your business seize the potential of each type of network. Without further ado, here is “The Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing for Businesses.”
Part 1: Facebook
Facebook is the largest social media network in terms of active users, and it is inarguably one of the most powerful for business use. Here are a few reasons why your business should be on Facebook as soon as possible if you aren’t already.
The Power of Facebook: Huge Audience, Business-Friendly Framework
While a whole lot of fuss is made about just how big Facebook is getting, it really is astounding to step back and think about just how massive the potential reach is on the world’s largest social network. Currently, one in seven people in the world are on Facebook, and the billion-strong user base is constantly growing.
Not only is Facebook’s user base truly massive, but Facebook users are also very engaged on the social media site. The global average for time spent on Facebook every day is twenty minutes per user, but the U.S. average is a full twice that. People on Facebook use the site frequently, spend lots of time there, and log in to Facebook to engage with the unique content they find there. The platform does have the largest audience you will find on any social network, but its users are also perfect examples of the kinds of engaged social media users that business can benefit from.
Facebook makes it easy for businesses to capitalize on this massive audience, thanks to an already established business-friendly framework that caters to promotional content. Facebook pages make it easy for business owners to get started on the platform. By creating a page for your business, you set up a home on the platform where your fans and followers can communicate and show their appreciation for your business. From there, marketing to fans of your page is a breeze. Overall, Facebook is a very powerful tool, and probably the first social network that businesses should get involved with.
Why It’s Unique: Powerful Paid Advertisements
Social media marketing comes in free and paid varieties, and sometimes there is no good reason for your business to spend anything extra to market on the major social media platforms. But, if you do plan on setting an advertising budget for your social media efforts, Facebook has one of the most powerful and flexible paid advertising tools you can find.
The Facebook ads tool lets you create advertisements for your business in a matter of minutes, and you can set your own budget to decide how far and wide your promotional posts will be seen. Facebook ads let you decide who your audience will be, and spend as much or little as you want to reach that audience more consistently. When used correctly, this paid advertisement function can be ridiculously powerful, and can do a whole lot to expose your business to new potential customers and clients.
Facebook Best Practices for Business
Once you have setup your Facebook page, here are a few best practices to keep in mind to help you get the most out of your marketing strategy.
- Post consistently. When your page looks inactive, your fans won’t be as likely to engage with your content or pay your business any attention.
- Don’t overpost. Facebook users hate “spam” and will stop following your page if you flood them with too much content.
- Use pictures! The more visual you get on every social network, the better.
- Check your analytics frequently. Facebook pages have some powerful insights that can help you learn about what is and isn’t working for your business on the site.
If you are going to start just one social media profile for your business, Facebook is a very solid choice. Between a massive user base and some powerful business-friendly tools, Facebook makes it easy for business owners to gain exposure and promote their brand.
Part 2: Twitter
Though not as big as Facebook as far as the user base is concerned, Twitter has some unique features that make it an essential tool in its own right. Here are a few things that make Twitter special.
The Power of Twitter: Real Time Communication, Powerful Analytics
Twitter is such a powerful tool in the social media world because it works in fundamentally different ways than most other social networks. The Twitter “hashtag” mechanic connects users on the network in real time and makes it easy for your business to communicate with potential customers in a more responsive and direct manner than some other sites. Anything you “hashtag” becomes visible to anyone else using the same hashtag, which makes Twitter a great tool for communicating lots of information quickly.
Besides helping your business communicate with fans and supporters in real time, the ubiquitous hashtag mechanic also makes Twitter an invaluable source of data for your business. Twitter has some great analytics tools that can help you track how your own content is resonating with the community. But, you can use the larger Twitter userbase itself to easily research what is trendy and “trending” just by paying attention to which hashtags are used and how often.
Why It’s Unique: Exposure Through Hashtags
Besides being useful for analytics, hashtags can be an incredibly powerful tool for helping your business reach a wider audience through social media. When Twitter hashtags are attached to a post that you share, your post becomes attached to everyone else using the same hashtag. Anyone who clicks the hashtag on any post that is using it has a chance to see your post, which leads to massive potential for exposure if you hashtag in a strategic manner.
There’s a fine line that you will need to walk in order to capitalize on trending hashtags in a way that makes your business look hip rather than just exploitative. Once you master this technique, the sky’s the limit. All you need to do is keep a firm finger on the pulse of what is trending on Twitter, start getting creative about how to post your own content using trending tags, and consistently embrace this technique, and your business will find some unparalleled opportunity for exposure.
Twitter Best Practices for Business
Twitter is something of a nuanced social network, and there is a lot to learn before you can expect to start getting the most exposure out of the platform as you can. Here are a few best practices to get you started in the right direction.
- Get strategic about what you post and when. Twitter posts move at a much faster rate than content moves on Facebook or other sites, so you can share things more frequently. But, you still need a strategy to do so effectively.
- Engage with your customers by favoriting, retweeting, and responding to the things they post. The more you engage on Twitter, the more people will see your business, and the more people will start following you.
- Follow industry leaders and see what kind of content they post and when. There are “Twitter stars” who have been able to build up massive follower bases in just about every industry, and you can learn a lot from these leaders by paying attention.
- Watch what’s trending. The importance of hashtags on Twitter can’t be emphasized enough, and if you aren’t doing everything you can to monitor what is trending at any given time, you aren’t getting the most out of Twitter.
While it does have a bit steeper of a learning curve than Facebook, Twitter is an invaluable tool that should not be ignored. When you use it correctly, Twitter has a huge potential to help you spread information about your business and gain traction with your brand.
Part 3: Instagram
Instagram is considered the third in the “big three” most important social networks, along with Twitter and Facebook. The platform combines some of the strengths and weaknesses of the two networks we have already covered, but also brings a lot of unique power to the table. Here are a few reasons why Instagram is an invaluable tool.
The Power of Instagram: Underutilized Reach, Lots of Creative Potential
Instagram is unique amongst the social media giants in that its platform is built around and requires mobile technology. All Instagram posts must be photo based, and photos can only be uploaded from mobile devices. So, Instagram and mobile technology go hand in hand. But, since mobile markets seem to be constantly growing, and more and more Americans are now using smartphones, that kind of exclusivity is actually a good thing.
Business owners can use Instagram to reach consumers where they are spending tons of time online: their phones. Plus, as you get your business started on Instagram, you will notice another reason why the reach that business owners can gain from this site is so valuable. Compared to other big social media sites, Instagram is currently very underutilized by businesses and marketers. Starting an account on this site will give you a nice competitive advantage since not as many businesses are on Instagram yet.
Again, all posts on Instagram are picture based, and any content you share will be as a caption to the photos you post. While this may sound like a restraint, it’s another blessing in disguise. Instagram encourages creativity, and there is a ton of potential for creative expression on this social site.
Why It’s Unique: Potential for Visual Branding
Since every post on Instagram must be based around a picture, there is huge potential on the site for your business to strengthen its visual brand. While this is only one of the many reasons to use Instagram, it should be a very compelling one for every business owner. Every post on Instagram is entirely visual in nature, and you can take advantage of this to help cement what you want your visual branding to entail.
Instagram users are very familiar with principles of aesthetics, whether they realize it or not, simply because every interaction on the site is based around visual content. You can use this visual culture to see how well your visual branding elements are doing. Experiment with different fonts on promo images, different looks, and different color focuses, and see which elements stick. The Instagram community will be happy to provide feedback, and your visual branding will fit right in with the photographic nature of the site.
Instagram Best Practices for Business
Instagram combines Twitter’s use of hashtags with Facebook’s slower content sharing pace. However, it’s important to think about Instagram as its own distinct social media site with its own best practices. Here are a few important tips.
- Link your Instagram account to other networks. Visual content does well on every major social media site, and the more often you share pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere, the better. Linking your Instagram will make sharing photos on other channels easier, and will promote your Instagram along the way.
- Share unique content. Instagram has a big “resharing” culture, and it’s ok to post things created by others. Just make sure that you also post original content related to your business.
- Capitalize on the branding opportunity. Visual branding can be tricky to clarify for businesses that don’t have huge advertising budgets, but you can communicate information about your visual brand with customers easily with this photo-based network.
- Instagram users are very big on hashtags, but they are used in a different way than they are usually used on Twitter. Instagram’s format allows for the use of many more hashtags per post than Twitter, and some businesses and users will add a large number in hopes of expanding their reach. Don’t go overboard or get spammy, but feel free to use more hashtags on Instagram than you would on Twitter.
Instagram is far from perfect and using it can prove challenging for some business owners, but it’s entirely worth it in the end. If you want to tap into another huge potential market that is underutilized by businesses in general, and get the opportunity to share creative visual content while you do so, Instagram is a must.
Part 4: Pinterest
Pinterest can’t sport the same user bases as any of the “big three” social media networks, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked. Here are a few of the things that make this platform unique, and uniquely powerful for promoting your business.
The Power of Pinterest: Growing User Base, High Conversion Rates
Pinterest isn’t currently as big or powerful as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be soon. One of the most powerful and exciting things about Pinterest is that it is currently one of the fastest growing social media networks on the internet and that growth doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. The 100 million current users on Pinterest represent a powerful market of their own, As a business owner, getting in on Pinterest now is a smart move to plan for a future where the site will be more and more important.
While the audience base isn’t quite as large on Pinterest as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, that doesn’t mean that the site can’t do just as much for your business. Pinterest has some of the highest conversion rates of any social media network, meaning more casual browsers will end up on your site and have the chance to get fully acquainted with your business. The sales conversion rates for Pinterest are astronomical compared to other social media sites, meaning that you will sell more on this site per visitor than just about anywhere else in the social media world.
Why It’s Unique: Astronomical Lead Generation and Click Through Rates
The very mechanics of Pinterest lend themselves to great lead generation, and smart business owners can take advantage of this fact to use Pinterest to create more viewers for their sites. Everything that you share on Pinterest gets “pinned” to a “board” on your profile that is related to a category of your choosing. And each of these “pins” can be directly linked back to a landing page on your website for quick and easy traffic diversion.
Compared to other social media sites, Pinterest makes it easy for viewers to land on your website and turn into paying clients and customers. There aren’t as many steps between discovery and conversion on Pinterest as there are on other social media sites, so you can expect more people who interact with you here to actually contribute to your bottom line.
When used correctly, Pinterest has an unparalleled power to send people towards your website, converting more casual browsers and new fans into paying customers. The content itself is highly visual, and the content format is optimized for businesses looking to convert customers, and the mechanics of linking landing pages to each piece of content you share is ideal for getting your website out there. Pinterest currently is a massive lead generation tool, and the power of this tool will continue to rise as user numbers continue to grow.
Pinterest Best Practices for Business
Pinterest may not feel as natural or straightforward as some other social media sites, due to its “pinning” mechanic, but a few basic best practices can still help you get the most out of this invaluable platform.
- Get strategic with “board” creation. All of the content that you share on this platform will be organized onto a “board,” but YOU get to decide what those boards represent. If you organize content on your boards strategically, it can be easy to entice users to spend time sifting through your content and discovering more and more.
- Link EVERY “pin” to your website. Every piece of content you post on Pinterest can be linked to a landing page, and you should take advantage of this.
- Participate in the community. Pinterest users are a tight knit bunch, but once you start interacting with other users, they will return the favor, boosting your traffic in the process.
Pinterest is an interesting and useful social media network as much for as where it is headed as where it is today. Pinterest is an invaluable way to generate traffic to your site, and it will just become more and more useful as the site continues to grow.
Part 5: LinkedIn
Many people think of LinkedIn as only a personal social network, or as an elaborate online resume. But, when you approach LinkedIn as a social media platform and business tool, there are a lot of things you can do with this social network. Here are a few reasons why your business should be on LinkedIn.
The Power of LinkedIn: Powerful Research Tool, Business Branding Opportunity
If you are wondering why your business should make time for LinkedIn even though the social network isn’t as powerful of an exposure engine as the others on this list, think about what kind of people use this network. LinkedIn is populated by some of the most qualified and interesting minds in every industry. As a business owner, LinkedIn provides you with an incredible opportunity to conduct research for your business.
For one, you can use LinkedIn to research passively by looking at the content that leaders in your industry have shared. However, you can also use LinkedIn as a more active research tool to conduct market research by posing questions to those who know what they are talking about. By joining LinkedIn groups, you can start finding out what others in your field think about certain problems and topics you are facing, researching answers along the way from minds in a position to teach you something new.
As you spend more time on LinkedIn, you can even start answering questions yourself and posting your own authoritative content for others in your field. In this way, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful ways to build a brand for your business and for you as a professional. You can start establishing your personal authority by completing an in-depth profile with your experiences, and start building that authority quickly by getting involved in the community and sharing your unique thoughts.
Why It’s Unique: Business to Business and Industry Networking Tool
As your brand and authority on LinkedIn start to become more solidified, the true power of the social network comes out, and you can start using LinkedIn as a unique B2B networking tool. You can easily find other businesses that may be able to benefit from your product and services. And, once you have established some authority of your own, it is very easy to transition LinkedIn into a full-time networking tool.
Aside from just contacting other businesses that you may be able to work with directly, you can use this networking tool to attract talent in your industry and form industry connections in general. The more you use LinkedIn, the more you will learn how to reach out to others in your industry for lessons and support. As your authority grows, people will start reaching out to you! Since LinkedIn is populated by professionals, it really can’t be emphasized enough how powerful the platform can be as a marketing and networking tool.
LinkedIn Best Practices for Business
LinkedIn is pretty straightforward to use, and there aren’t too many unique mechanics to learn, but some basic best practice tips are still useful. Here are a few important ones.
- Create a company page as well as an individual profile. Yes, LinkedIn is great for personal branding and professional development. But if you want to use it as a business tool, your business needs a home on the platform.
- Get active in LinkedIn groups. There are hundreds of groups already formed around every conceivable niche and industry, and you can join these groups to start learning more. Spend time contributing, and your business is more likely to be discovered.
- Take advantage of LinkedIn as a publishing tool. Once you make a company page, you can start publishing content from your business as a way to build authority and give back to your community.
If you approach it the right way, LinkedIn can be a lot more than just a personal branding and professional development platform. Get your business on the social network today, and start using LinkedIn to develop your authority, research your industry, and attract talented employees.
Part 6: Google+
Google+ has been around for a while now, though the network never took off like Facebook or Twitter did. While it does have a smaller user base than some of the other networks on this website, Google+ has a lot going for it that makes it a no-brainer for business owners. Here’s why.
The Power of Google+: Feature Rich, Google Integration
Google+ has a growing user base that can offer your business direct exposure, but the real power of Google+ lies in the many features the social network brings to the table. Instead of just letting you communicate with your fans and followers like most social networks do, Google+ provides business owners with real tools that they can use to help make their business stronger and more efficient.
A prime example is Google Hangouts. With Google Hangouts, you can communicate directly with your team of employees in a powerful, multimedia-friendly dashboard. Another great example is the Google+ data downloader, which lets you easily pull data about anything you have posted on the site for future analysis. What it lacks in daily users, Google+ makes up for in unique features.
Plus, Google+ is fully integrated with other Google tools and features, and this integration can help your business in a major way. For example, information about your business is displayed when people search for it with Google’s massive search function, and you can edit this information through your Google+ profile. Doing so lets you share accurate information about your hours, location, and contact information with anyone who searches for your business’s name. Google is a truly massive internet giant, and getting your business on Google+ means that you will be benefiting from the integration features this behemoth offers.
Why It’s Unique: More Than Just a Social Network
Google+ is a whole lot more than just a social network, and taking a closer look at some of the tools offered through the platform demonstrates why. Turning back to Google Hangouts, it’s clear just how much businesses can gain by starting a profile on Google+. Hangouts let you meet face to face with coworkers and customers from anywhere in the world, thanks to the video streaming communication. With this dashboard, you can share your screen, share important information, and create a real connection with whoever you are meeting with.
Many other companies would offer a feature like Google+ as a premium paid access only tool, but Google offers this powerful feature and many others to its users completely free. When you get your business on Google+, you get access to more than just a social media network that can help you market your product. You unlock the power of a ton of Google tools that can help you build your business in unique and powerful ways – and you get all of that for free.
Google+ Best Practices for Business
Google+ has a lot of unique features and tools you can learn about as you go, but having some idea of best practices is still useful when getting started. Here are a few important tips.
- Focus on content curation. The audience on Google+ is very much so focused on learning and growing from their use of the platform, and sharing useful information will earn your business fans. Just make sure that the content you are sharing is high quality and interesting, or you won’t see any positive feedback from Google+ users.
- Track how your posts are doing. Google’s empire has been built around good analytics, and there are some great tools you can use from inside Google+ to see how your business is performing.
- Work on building relationships. Like LinkedIn, Google+ can be a great place to network with other businesses and industry leaders if you are proactive.
Overall, Google+ differs from other social networks in that your business can get a whole lot more than promotion by creating a profile. Check out the different tools available for businesses through Google+, and you will see just how powerful this platform can be for business owners.
Part 7: Snapchat
Snapchat is another mobile-specific social media platform, with a unique spin on content sharing. On snapchat, users share very short videos or photos that expire after one viewing, leading to an interesting and casual content tone. Here are a few reasons why your business should be capitalizing on snapchat.
The Power of Snapchat: “Cool” Platform, Cheap Content
In stark contrast to the “big 3” and most of the other social media networks on this site, Snapchat is still seen as a “cool” application and is very trendy in younger groups specifically. While there are a lot of other reasons why your business should be on Snapchat, this cool “trendy” factor is incredibly powerful and shouldn’t be undervalued. As a business owner, there aren’t that many things you can do to really appear “cool” to younger buyers, and using Snapchat for marketing is one of these rare opportunities.
Besides feeling inherently cool, Snapchat is great in that the content is very cheap or free to produce. Every video on Snapchat is only 15 seconds long, and most videos, even ones posted by major corporations, are very casual and seem “amateurish.” All you need to create a “snap” to share with your followers and fans is a cell phone, and you won’t have to worry about a production budget or shooting schedule in order to make great videos that sell your product.
Why It’s Unique: Creative Platform Where “Anything Goes”
If you are thinking about ways to use Snapchat for your business, step back for a moment and realize that there is really no “wrong way” to use the platform. Creativity is king on Snapchat, and the more out there and interesting your content, the better. Set aside any pretenses of formality on this platform and just have fun. It’s what Snapchat was designed for, and it’s what will sell your business best.
This emphasis on putting creativity first results in something of an “anything goes” atmosphere on Snapchat. Your “snaps” will only be visible for as long as you set them to be, meaning your content won’t live for very long. But, ultimately, that’s a good thing. The biggest strength of Snapchat is that it is a developing medium still, and experimenting and getting creative is a very good thing.
Snapchat Best Practices for Business
Even though “anything goes” on Snapchat, some guiding best practices can be helpful. Here are some important ones.
- Portray your personality. Snapchat is a very fun and casual platform, and the more that you put your business’s personality into your content, the better. Have some flair!
- Use the short time limit to your advantage! 15 seconds may sound short for a video, but it will force you to be creative and post interesting content if you push yourself.
- Research what other businesses are doing on Snapchat. Since this medium is developing so quickly, it’s a smart idea to stay tuned in on how other businesses are using the platform.
Snapchat is far from a “standard” social media network, but it’s still a great place to share content and a unique platform for making your business look “cool” while gaining exposure. Get your business aboard sooner rather than later, and you could help shape how Snapchat is used by the business world.
Part 8: Periscope
Periscope is a brand new social media platform, but it is growing so quickly and is so unique that every business owner should be paying attention. Periscope lets you live broadcast video to your followers and the general public, and all interactions revolve around these live broadcasts. Here are a few reasons why you should start paying attention to this young platform.
The Power of Periscope: Authentic Feel, Developing Technology
As anyone who has attended a marketing class can tell you, the best marketing never feels like marketing, and one of the biggest benefits of Periscope is that the platform feels incredibly authentic. When you live broadcast your business, you won’t be able to hide all of the little nuances that make your business great, and you don’t have to try. Live broadcasting gets messy, but you don’t have to be afraid of that messiness. Everything you do on a Periscope broadcast is real, and your potential customers will respond positively to this authenticity.
Since Periscope is so young as a platform, your
competitors probably haven’t started tapping into this authenticity yet themselves. One of the coolest things about Periscope is that it is a developing technology that not everyone has started using yet, so you can gain a massive competitive advantage by getting your business on Periscope before all of your competitors do. Not only will early adopters gain a big competitive advantage, but they will have a lot of influence in affecting how the application develops.
Why It’s Unique: Cutting Edge Technology
One of the biggest reasons why your business should be on Periscope is that the technology that the platform relies on is brand new, but will likely be incorporated into other social media networks and other online platforms in the near future. Live broadcasting like Periscope does it is a brand new idea. But, it’s one that is definitely going to stick around.
Often, smaller social media sites like Periscope are bought up by bigger social media giants down the road. Even when direct buyouts don’t occur, the most cutting-edge aspects of each social network often get incorporated in some way into the other big players. Periscope is new, but the technology it uses is likely going to be incorporated into other sites soon. This gives your business a great opportunity to get ahead of the curve if you start using Periscope now.
Periscope Best Practices for Business
While Periscope is changing quickly and developing as a technology, there are a few solid best practices to keep in mind when using the platform. Here are a few to get you started.
- Learn the language. Periscope is a very unique platform with its own vernacular, and the sooner you learn about the specific terms that will help you navigate the platform, the better.
- Subscribe to others. Periscope feeds can be followed, and by subscribing to others you encourage them to subscribe to you and you start building connections.
- Put community first! Periscope is growing and changing quickly, and the more that you plug into what others are doing, the more you can learn about how to best use the platform.
Periscope is brand new and developing quickly, but it’s destined to be an important player in the social media arena in years to come. By getting your business on the platform now, you gain access to some cutting edge technology and give your business a big upper hand in learning about the new kind of media.
Part 9: Tumblr
Tumblr is a blogging platform with so many social features that it really needs to be viewed as a social media network of its own, with distinct and useful tools that can help you market your business. Here are a few things that make Tumblr a great place to start an account for your company.
The Power of Tumblr: Ease of Communication, Engaged Community
Experts can tell you lots of reasons why Tumblr is a great tool for business, but one of the biggest positives of the medium boils down to simplicity. Compared to other blogging platforms, Tumblr doesn’t require very much time or effort to post content and get started. Tumblr posts are necessarily short, and it won’t take you much time to keep an account active for your business. Tumblr is a great place to share updates about your business and brand since it is so easy to post your own content and immediately have something simple and effective to share on your other social media channels.
On top of this ease of use, Tumblr is very well known for having a highly engaged internal community that you can tap into as a business owner to gain exposure for your content. Tumblr readers very loyally follow updates from their favorite accounts. By posting strategically, you can gain access to this invaluable high level of community engagement. Make sure that your posts are both authentic and unique, and the community will follow.
Why It’s Unique
The biggest thing that makes Tumblr unique is that it combines some of the best elements of other sites and platforms into one content sharing and discussion network. Tumblr has all of the social cues that you will find on Facebook, from the likes to the comment sections. Tumblr fans are very active in using these social cues to engage with businesses and other Tumblr users.
Tumblr is more than just another network where content can be regurgitated. The status of Tumblr as a blogging platform makes it a great place to publish and share original content that can then be shared in other places. Your business can use Tumblr for more than just connecting with other people and businesses. Tumblr can actually serve as your primary content hub, and as a great place to post all kinds of important content for your followers.
Tumblr Best Practices for Business
Even though it is incredibly easy to use and a very straight forward platform, it’s best to approach Tumblr with some best practices in mind. Here are some big ones.
- Focus on incorporating compelling imagery. No one will be interested in reading your updates if they are bland and boring, and the platform revolves heavily around sharing and commenting on image-based media. The more visual you get, the better your content will do.
- As much as you can. With everyone you can interact with. The Tumblr community is infamously engaged, but you won’t see any benefit from this engagement if you don’t put yourself out there and get interactive.
- Focus on your niche. There are a whole lot of businesses blogging out there, and you don’t need to do it all with Tumblr. Instead, focus on sharing content that you can speak on authoritatively, and you will find much more success.
Many business owners see Tumblr as strictly a content publishing platform. But, in reality, the platform has so many social functions that it is best thought of as its own network. Use Tumblr as a place to post original content, engage with a passionate community, and interact with others in your niche.
Part 10: Youtube
Youtube is owned by Google, so you won’t need a new account to start using this social platform to market your business. But, there are a few things that make Youtube it a unique and powerful engine for promoting your brand. Here’s a look:
The Power of Youtube: Powerful Branding, Cross Platform Potential
Most experts in online branding will tell you that Youtube is an essential tool for business owners, and the power of Youtube as a branding engine cannot be overstated. Youtube videos can tell your company’s story, showcase your businesses personality, and display what you are all about in a way that other media forms simply cannot. As long as you take the time to do them well and maybe invest a small amount into their production, Youtube videos can encapsulate all elements of your brand on one powerful place.
The beauty of Youtube videos is that they don’t need to live on the Youtube platform alone. Yes, Youtube has an engaged community that appreciates good content and rewards good videos with engagement, but Youtube links can also be posted and embedded all around the internet. Once you have produced a good video that you are proud of and uploaded it onto Youtube, the platform makes it easy to share your content out and spread it around the web.
Why It’s Unique: Second Largest Search Engine, Unique Marketing Medium
While some people may not consider Youtube a standalone social media network, there is no denying the fact that the site gets a huge amount of traffic. If you treat it like a search engine, Youtube is actually the second largest search engine on the internet behind its parent Google, with more searches occurring on the video platform than almost anywhere else on the internet. And, if you get active on Youtube and engage with the community in the same way that you would on other social sites, all of that search traffic can turn into big exposure.
Besides just having a massive reach, Youtube also excels as a social promotional platform because the site’s medium is inherently compelling. Put simply, videos are a great way to make your business look good if they are done right. Many business owners actually note that videos are the most effective form of content marketing, as they approach potential customers in such a unique and powerful way. When you do videos right, they have a lot of potential in helping you spread your brand, and Youtube is undeniably one of the best places to do video on the web.
Youtube Best Practices for Business
There’s a lot more to Youtube than just uploading videos, and a look at some of the site’s best practices can help point your business in the right direction. Here are a few important tips.
- Youtube has its own “SEO” that dictates how videos are displayed in search results. Remember, Youtube is the second largest search engine on the internet, and it has its own search engine rules just like Google does. While there is a lot to learn about “Youtube SEO,” the most important things to remember are that all of your fields need to be filled in, and you should be using tags to make sure your videos are seen by as many people as possible.
- Brand everything. Remember that you are using Youtube to market your business, and that the platform can be very powerful in promoting a brand’s image. Put your logo on every video, and your personality in every post.
- Answer questions that are relevant to your niche. People use Youtube to learn about new things, and if you are genuinely responding to a community need, your videos will do well.
There is no magic formula to help you brand your business, but any formula that you could think of would include a healthy dose of Youtube. The platform is a very powerful way to promote who your company is, and to solidify branding elements that can feel elusive in other mediums.
Part 11: Reddit
Reddit is more like a content aggregation site than a full-fledged social media platform, but the way that the internet giant works really evades categorization. While Reddit can be odd and outrageous, it can also be a huge source of traffic for your site, and can do a lot for your business. Here’s why you should care about the site.
The Power of Reddit: Massively Engaged Community, Huge Traffic Potential
Approaching Reddit as a marketer, there is a whole lot to be excited about, epitomized in the massive and highly engaged community that makes up this quirky corner of the internet. Reddit users log on to the site simply to interact with the content shared there by other users, and as a result users are a whole lot more engaged with content than you could find on any other social platform. Plus, the community is already organized into a pre-built infrastructure, so it is easy to find the right people to share your content with.
When you are able to capitalize on the Reddit community, huge traffic can come your site’s way. This community can be notoriously hard to capitalize on, but when you get things right, you will see your site views soar. Reddit is where things go “viral” in today’s internet landscape, and a post that does well on Reddit will be shared countless times through other channels.
Why It’s Unique: Powerful Market Research Engine
Even if you are never able to capitalize on the Reddit community to send traffic towards your site, there is one other huge benefit that this community can bestow upon your business. When used strategically, Reddit can be one of the most powerful market research engines you can find for free. The Reddit community is already highly engaged, opinionated, and happy to share their opinions with anyone. This means that your business can tap into that engagement to get feedback on your products.
When you are in the concept stage of creating a new product still, you can use Reddit to identify which needs your product will fill. Browse old threads to see where people have identified a problem you can solve, and to see where your product may fit into the current landscape. You create your own posts with product updates to solicit feedback from other Reddit members. As long as you are developing something interesting, users have historically been very happy to offer advice and feedback to businesses looking to try something new.
Reddit Best Practices for Business Owners
The Reddit community is so unique and idiosyncratic that you will need to spend some time on the site before you really understand what’s going on, but there are still some best practices you can keep in mind to get going.
- Read community guidelines. The Reddit community is organized into “sub-reddits,” and you can probably find several related to your niche where it will be a smart idea to post your content. But make sure that you take the time to read the guidelines in each of these “sub-reddits” before you post, or you could be banned from posting.
- Know your audience. Reddit is populated mostly by younger users, and the site as a whole has something of a unique tone. Spend some time on the site to learn what’s popular and how users interact, and try to learn as much as you can about the Reddit audience.
- Post authentic and quality content. If you only post promotional content that isn’t very interesting, the community will not respond well. Just make sure that you are posting interesting and unique things that you would find interesting even if you didn’t own your business, and you will be on the right path.
While most people wouldn’t categorize Reddit as a social media platform, the site defies categorization, and there are enough elements here that feel familiar to social media experts that there is some value in thinking about the site for its social potential. As long as you are posting interesting and unique content, Reddit can be a huge traffic-driving engine, as well as a great place to learn more about your customers and about what they want to see from new products.
The guide above will get you started with 11 of the most popular and powerful social media platforms out there, but taking your business to the next level through social media marketing will be up to you. In order to obtain that expert status and start using social media the right way, there are a few things you can do.
- Avoid getting overwhelmed. There are a lot of social media platforms out there, but you should really only create as many as you have time to maintain. Rather than jumping into every social media platform at once and drowning, take it slow and add more accounts to your social media repertoire as you go.
- What works for one business may not work for yours, and there aren’t too many hard rules that you need to follow. In order to learn what works best for your business and audience, start with the best practices we shared above. But, feel free to move far beyond these basic tips and experiment with different strategies and types of content to find your stride.
- Keep reading and learning. This guide is a great place to get started, but there is a whole lot of information out there about social media and how to use the major networks to market your business. New ideas and strategies are developing every day, so try your hardest to stay on top of what’s new and fresh in the social media world.
Marketing experts will tell you that there is a whole lot to learn about social media, and that’s certainly true. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get started and start learning on your feet as you go. Social media can feel intimidating, and you might feel like it’s easier just to ignore it. However, once you get good at using social media, it can be a whole lot of fun, and can do a whole lot of good for your business.
The cold hard truth is that most businesses these days can’t afford to keep ignoring social media. Your competitors are getting social and reaping the benefits. If you want to keep growing your business, you need to be on social media as well. Re-read the guide above, decide which platform is best for your business, and get started. There’s a big world of potential clients out there, and social media can do more to help your business capture these customers than just about any other marketing avenue there is.