I’m just going to throw this out there and get it out of the way… If your business isn’t utilizing social media to the best of its ability, you’re doing something extremely wrong. The ways of the internet have shifted dramatically over the course of the last 8 or so years, and media isn’t just media, it’s social. Pictures, videos, and content can be shared across the world in the blink of an eye and while it’s (arguably) not very personal, people have never been more connected. It’s so, so, so important that businesses get with the trend and use social media to their advantage – and I mean more than just getting likes on a Facebook page. Social media isn’t just a fad, and I can guarantee it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. The need for a social media platform in a business is just going to grow as time goes on. The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media lays out some important statistics for your business to consider about social media:
- Facebook has over 1.19 billion active users monthly
- 72% of online adults use social networking sites
- 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations
- Smartphone ownership among American adults has risen 60%.
I think we can agree that the point here is that customers are online. And more importantly, your customers.
With so much of our every day lives being spent on the internet, it’s extremely important that businesses connect with their customers in this non-traditional way. Social media can help any and all companies reach their end goal whether its increasing your brands awareness, helping your customers create a preference for your brand, or closing a sale. However, the most important aspect that social media can help you with, from a business perspective, is creating those crucial relationships that will hopefully last a lifetime. Making and maintaining those relationships is the foundation of social media, and the fact that businesses can now get on a more personal level with their patrons makes this process that much easier. The reward? It’s pretty obvious. The more relationships and bonds you create and the stronger they are, the more likely your business is to convert someone into a repeat customer for your brand.
Another great use of social media for a business is receiving feedback. Customers might not want to take the time to make a post on Yelp, Amazon, or your website, but I bet you they’re on Facebook and have all the time in the world to make a post there! You will be able to gain a whole world of insight into how your customers feel about your brands and products that you may have never gotten before social media.
Personally, I think the best thing about social media for a business is the fact that everything can be shared. This is inbound marketing at its prime. If a customer has a good experience with your brand, they can share a post about it with all of their friends and followers. This opens up so many doors of opportunities! That post can be shared by their friends, and then it can be shared by THAT persons friends…and so on! Personally, I think this is what’s so amazing about social media in general – but for a business it’s absolutely essential. Another way to get your information shared on social media is to create the content yourself. Having a twitter account, a Facebook page, a blog for your company, and other social media sites makes it so you yourself can post and have those posts be shared.
I’m going to dive into how each social media platform can help your business in their own ways, and give an example of a company I believe uses that platform extraordinarily.
- The average Facebook user has 229 friends
- Posts and pages on Facebook are “liked” 4.5 billion times each day
- 59% of users who “like” a brand page do so because they have purchased or used the product or service, while 45% are in it for inside info on deals
I wouldn’t be surprised if the first website you thought of when you hear social media is Facebook. This site took the internet to an entirely new level and basically single handedly destroyed MySpace (you remember MySpace, right?). The uses for Facebook are endless, and include connecting with friends old and new and networking. Making sure your business is on Facebook would do nothing but help you. You can have your content marketing take on a new platform and by conquering Facebook, you conquer social media. Make sure you post photos too! Posts that include photos are interacted with much more than just plain text posts. This is also another way for companies to show their human side, which goes back to my relationship point. Facebook is able to create a great sense of community for its users, and its more than important that your business gets in on it and engages.
Delta Airlines has a great Facebook page, and on a more local scale, New York Pizza Bar & Grill does a great job with their content and pictures, and posting about their happy hour promotions and the like.
- There are 400 million tweets sent per day
- 72% of Twitters active users are between the ages of 18 and 49
- Twitter membership grew 40% between Q2 and Q4 2012
Clearly Twitter is the place to be for a business with stats like that. The tricky part about Twitter is you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say and that can prove to be difficult. However, when you’re able to master that minor obstacle, you’ll be able to “talk the talk” with all of your tech savvy followers, and increase your credibility among them. Businesses can show they care about their followers on Twitter by favoriting and retweeting their tweets, as well as following them back. It’s important to make sure you stay interesting when using Twitter, and the more your content is retweeted, the more of an audience you’re able to reach. Data is also easily tracked with Twitter which can save lots of time for your company when you’re trying to measure your Twitter results. It’s also important that you don’t spam your followers. This is important with any marketing effort but it can be too easy to forget this one with Twitter. Also make sure you utilize the #hashtag features! This can help your content and tweets be found by people that otherwise wouldn’t have stumbled upon your account.
Personally, I think Taco Bell is a business that uses twitter in the perfect way. They share their own content, retweet and respond to their followers (back to my relationship point), post pictures of their products, and not to mention whoever runs their account is hilarious!
- Google accounts for 67% of search engine searches
- There are 300 million active users monthly
- Those users upload approximately 1.5 billion photos every week
If you’ve hesitated with creating a Google+ account don’t worry, you’re not alone. But I would advice you to hop off the fence and create your account ASAP, granting your target market has done the same. G+ is catching fire and research has supported that it’s users are predominantly male and very tech savvy. Google+ offers a feature where you can share your content to your other social media pages, and this will help drive traffic and your audience to your G+ page.
With nearly 4.6 million followers, RedBull is a great example of how your content can be shared through the social media site.
- A reported 238 million users in over 200 countries as of January 2013
- 2 new members added to LinkedIn every second
- Over 3 million companies have LinkedIn pages
LinkedIn is now the best way for users to display their resumes and professional background and development. This website can help a business create their B2B relationships as well as make recommendations for their products. Another way businesses use this platform is post updates and share news regarding the company. This is a great way for users to see just what’s going on with the company itself! Keep in mind though there is a fine line between cocky and confident…you don’t want to brag and self-promote an excessive amount. It’s still key to sometimes let your customers do the talking for you through word-of-mouth. Another important thing to note is to always make sure you reply when a customer leaves a comment or review; if they have a complaint, address it; if they have a question, answer it.
Microsoft utilizes LinkedIn in a great way, making sure they keep their profile up-to-date and ensuring all of their followers have the right information.
- 100 hours of videos are uploaded every minute
- Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month
- Thousands of YouTube channels are making six figures annually
It’s pretty simple, YouTube is all about sharing. Account users are able to follow channels and view and share the content posted, upload their own content to be viewed and shared, as well as have discussions, post comments, and follow & be followed. You can also buy ad space for your company to either be displayed in a banner, play before a video, or have a small pop up during a video.
When it comes to content marketing through YouTube, Old Spice takes the cake.
- There are 20 million active Pinterest users monthly
- Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn and Reddit combined
- Shoppers spend more on their purchases when referred from Pinterest as compared to Facebook and Twitter referrals
Consumers can interact with their favorite businesses through Pinterest so make sure to stay engaged! Great content strategies include showing your followers a little behind the scenes action and also highlighting the customers you have. Anything that makes your customers feel special is a win. Be sure that all of your content and pictures are shareable so that other Pinterest users can find you.
Nordstrom does a great job at using Pinterest for their content marketing. They have 69 boards ranging from “Shiny Things” to “Holiday Cheer” to “Fashion Cats” (a personal favorite).
- Approximately 31 million bloggers in just the United States
- 57% of bloggers report having more than one blog
- 35% of businesses blog at least once a month
There are countless types of blogs and reasons someone would create a blog, but for business purposes, it’s best used like any other social media platform – to produce content that can be shared. When developing content for your businesses blog its key to think like your audience and viewers and always have them in mind. You can also check out other blogs to get inspiration and some pointers with how you should go about your own. Timing is crucial, and according to HubSpot, blogs that post 2-3 times a week perform better than blogs that post more or less than.
ModCloth is a great example of a company that uses their blog to provide their audience with up to date fashion trends.
These were just a few of many different social media platforms your company can use. Others include Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and Vine. By having your company take over the social media world, you’re without a doubt enabling it for success. Also, don’t forget to track and measure your social media marketing efforts. You always want to know how you’re doing in comparison to your goals, and tweaking your game plan as you see fit.
The major takeaway: You want your patrons to be assured that they always make the right choice with your business, and interacting with them on social media guarantees that.