Social media sites are best known for keeping faraway family and friends in touch with each other. But social media has a role in business. This post is a social media review, focusing on the popular sites and outlining my own experience of using them.
The sites examined here are Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube.
WHAT DO SOCIAL MEDIA SITES REQUIRE?
Social media sites vary in what they require but all need an email address for verifying the account. Some sites require that you set up a specific business account.
Most will feature a username/handle. For businesses, this is usually the business name.
It’s best to feature images of your business/products/services on the account as it differentiates you from competition and enhances brand recognition.
Hashtags (#) are words or phrases that helps users find content connected to a specific niche/topic on social media platforms. It is essential that businesses use relevant hashtags in their social media posts so that non-followers can find their content.
All sites ask you to list your interests and location, therefore connecting you to like-minded customers. Paid ads can be targeted towards specific audiences. Most sites have in-built analytics that chart your progress and show the audience that engages with your content.
SOCIAL MEDIA REVIEW
FACEBOOK: As of July 2020, Facebook is the most popular social media site in the world with 2.6 billion active users. And with good reason. The About section of a Facebook page can feature almost as much information as a website. In fact, every small business who cannot invest the time and money in a website should have a Facebook page.
Posts can include a combination of text, image, video or website link. Products, services and events can be promoted and sold. Customers can book appointments. There’s also a section for reviews and email sign-up. Customers can engage publicly or privately. Other businesses/people can be tagged on posts.
And of course Facebook is excellent for driving traffic to websites. In 2019, the Arrivals Hall Facebook page drove more traffic to this blog than all of my other social media sites combined. If you only have time for one social media site, let it be Facebook.
PINTEREST: Pinterest is the second-best referrer of traffic to my blog. In a nutshell, Pinterest is a search engine for products and information. It’s ideal for a business that can regularly post differing pictures in the form of pins.
Software such as Canva will be required to create the pins as there is a recommended dimension for the site. When you click on a pin it redirects you to the website connected to that pin. Pins can be arranged into relevant boards.
Pinterest works well for retailers with lots of products to sell (e.g clothing/accessories) along with larger businesses who want to enhance the customer experience (e.g. supermarkets posting recipes).
Check out the Arrivals Hall Pinterest page for pin and board arrangement.
TWITTER: Like Facebook, Twitter facilitates the posting of text, images and videos in the form of tweets. The effectiveness of my Twitter account to direct traffic to my blog has declined but the ability of the site to connect me with people in my niche grows and grows. Rather than gain readers, I gain knowledge and connections.
Twitter is dominated by accounts for individuals. For example, Barack Obama has twice as many Twitter followers than the official Twitter account. Larger companies use Twitter for press releases and news updates. Anyone working in media, politics, and show-business needs to be on Twitter.
LINKEDIN: LinkedIn is more of a networking social media site than a traditional product marketing tool. It is excellent for connecting with individuals in the same niche or in the same location. Think of it as an online CV for professionals where expertise and qualifications can be displayed.
If you’re looking for industry contacts, potential work collaborators or a new employer, LinkedIn is the best social media site you can use.
INSTAGRAM: The advantages and benefits of Instagram vary from business to business and person to person. Images and videos form the basis of posts so the more visual a business the better it will work. Instagram is predominantly a mobile app.
Arrivals Hall does have an Instagram account but the amount of traffic it refers to the blog is minimal. Digital marketers in my region’s tourism industry are more successful with the platform. A few have said that it’s the main social media platform driving traffic to their website.
Instagram is less cluttered than Pinterest so is excellent for showcasing products and advertising.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to place website links on regular Instagram posts. Only a link service such as Later listed in the account profile, a business account or a paid advert can facilitate a website link.
The recommended frequency of posting on Instagram is several times a day.
YOUTUBE: When it comes to video, YouTube is the undisputed champion of the world. It’s an excellent platform for businesses when showcasing products and product demonstrations. It’s also ideal for anyone who wants to speak about services and ideas.
Gary Vaynerchuk has leveraged YouTube to perfection, starting by promoting his wine business in 2006 to becoming one of the most prominent business and motivational speakers on the platform.
Posting on YouTube requires more expertise than all of the other social media sites, given the technical requirements of filming a good video.
Some businesses use it to complement their existing online digital presence. And as it’s owned by Google, YouTube videos rank well in its search results. Bear in mind that videos can also be posted to Facebook so some see posting to YouTube as unnecessary.
WHICH SOCIAL MEDIA SITE IS BEST FOR MY BUSINESS?
There are many benefits of social media for business. These are the questions to ask yourself prior to committing to an online marketing channel:
- How will it meet my needs? Do I need it for marketing or sales or both?
- Can I reach my intended audience/market with it?
- What type of content do I want to post?
- Which sites are my competitors using?
- How much time and money is required to maintain the site account?
- How can I measure its success?
This social media review features a small section of the market. Whichever one you choose should become an asset to your business. Making it interesting, informative and fun for both the business and your audience will reap benefits.
If you are new to the social media market, leave a comment below letting me know which one you eventually chose.
If you want more information on online marketing, check out my Introduction to Digital Marketing post.
Further information on blogging can be found in my Introduction to Blogging post. Travel Blogging is covered in more detail in my What is a Travel Blog post while my Blogging Conference post looks at what it’s like to attend the TBEX travel blogging conference.