“Which social media platform do I use as a marketing tool for my business?” This is one of the most important questions you should ask yourself as a business, when you plan to launch a social media marketing campaign. There are couple of questions you can ask, to help you get to the answer of this question. Which social media marketing platform makes sense for your business? Where does your audience spend most of their time online? Where does you audience network and communicate with like minded individuals? I already mentioned the importance of deciding which tool is appropriate for your business in one of my previous blog posts, however I wanted to summarize the most popular platforms that marketers use and the appropriate use for them. While we cannot strictly classify one platform as B2C and B2B only, we can notice certain advantages and disadvantages for each platform that ties back to the type of business or industry we are in. The easiest way for me to describe what a social media platform is, it is a place online where you create, interact, communicate and exchange information with friends. Social media platforms can have different forms and the picture below depicts the different types. As a business you do not need to be present at all social media platforms. Not every business needs to have a Facebook page, nor it is necessary to be present at more than one or two platforms. The following six platforms, I believe are the most widely visited and used social media platforms.
Even though this is a widely used platform in B2C and B2B, the way Facebook sets up the targeting options for the ads used by brand pages, it is easier to market if your business targets consumers or B2C. If you have a restaurant or offer a product that consumers need and buy everyday, then this is a great platform to connect and engage with your audience, to get greater exposure, create awareness, do contests and promotions, share information and for storytelling. Facebook brand pages have access directly from the Facebook insights page to in depth information about their audience, such as when is their audience online, who is their audience, what engages their audience and much more.
Opposite to Facebook, LinkedIn is perhaps the best social media platform for businesses that target other businesses or B2B. Through LinkedIn, you will find direct leads, from companies to their CEO’s and you will be able to reach out and connect with them directly through this platform. You might not be able to launch a large campaign through LinkedIn as you can on Facebook, but you can network and connect on a more personal level, as well as exchange knowledge and expertise in the different LinkedIn groups.
There are many blogging platforms such as Blogger or WordPress that you can use if you decide that this is a platform that is beneficial to use for your business. This is a platform that can be used for companies that are B2C and B2B. However, the way brands should use blogging is miles apart compared to the way they use Facebook. Blogging should not be used to directly promote your product. If your audience visits your blogging site, they probably are interested in learning something more than just the launch of your new product. If you are skillful you will be able to communicate your brand messaging through this platform. When you blog, you have the opportunity to show your expertise through the content you create, connect with some of your biggest fans and even find advocates for your brand. This is also a great networking tool to connect with “influencers” and industry professionals that can bring value to your business.
Twitter is another platform that can be used across industries, as well as both B2C and B2B. When it comes to Twitter, as a business user you can get the latest news from your competitors, network with other businesses, but also hear your customers and respond instantaneously. The hash tag will keep you in the conversations that are important to you. By using this platform you gather large amount of customer intelligence, are able to show your brand personality and it gives you an opportunity to engage directly with customers, clients and other businesses.
This platform can be beneficial for many businesses as long as they know how to utilize it. It does require skills, as well as devoting time and funds. There are many sites where you can create videos for free, or simple use your smartphone camera. You can always upload your TV ads on YouTube, but users are nowadays interested in more than just an ad for your products and services. Use YouTube to answer questions regarding your business, give your audience a look “behind the scene”, connect, communicate and invite them to engage. Network with reviewers and invite them to review your products and services. The word of mouth is the best marketing you can get, especially when your customers and clients can connect with this person or yourself directly with transparency. By having an active channel on YouTube and being able to optimize your video content, you will also improve your SEO ranking and ultimately increase your visibility on Google.
Businesses that can be presented visually will have a great response with Pintrest. Retailers, hospitality, some services, artists, graphic designers, decorators, benefit from Pintrest as a platform they use to market their products, services or showcase their work. This doesn’t mean no one else can join and have success with Pintrest. However, it is a platform for sharing visual content and if you are able to present your business in a visually appealing way, then you will be able to successfully promote your business and have the desired results, as well as build an engaged community. There are many other platforms that are still quite popular between communities, such as Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Myspace, etc. Once you do the research and find out where most of your audience is, you can start to develop your social media marketing strategy. Have in mind that in order to have results from your social media efforts you do need to invest time in researching and creating a strategy prior to becoming active. There are things you need to decide before starting a blog or creating a brand page on Facebook, such as what you will post, how often you will post, who do you target and so on. Either way, choosing the right platform for your business is already a good start. According to Mashable’s post and the 2013 report from the Social Media Examiner, the picture below presents the percentage of marketers that use each platform in B2C and B2B business. If you want to read more regarding this, here are some links I liked:
- Social networks to promote your business.
- Which social media channels should I use for my business?
- Social Media FAQ.
- Which social media sites should I be using and why?