Facebook. Instagram. LinkedIn. Tumblr. Some of the most iconic names of our time belong to social media sites, a web-based media that harnesses the real-time power of the internet to connect and engage millions of people across the globe.
Social media has turned the internet into a dynamic tool for engagement, entertainment and research. Smartphones come equipped with social media icons, connecting users with online conversations and updates where ever they may be. Users are able to create a network or join an existing one. Reaching your target audience in the 21st century means becoming a part of their conversations, their network, and their community.
Instant messaging, video, podcasts, blogs, and live-streaming are just a few of the social media tools savvy marketers are using to generate brand exposure for entrepreneurs and larger businesses alike. They’re popular with consumers because they can be shared easily with peers online. If you want to spread the word about your service, organization, or latest creation, a social media strategy is essential to your success.
Large enterprises and globally recognized brands are increasingly investing more of their marketing resources into social media sites, so why aren’t you? Consumers spend a great deal of time on social media platforms. If you engage them consistently online with content that’s relevant, timely, and helpful, you can attract new customers from outside of the major search engines, expanding your reach.
Let’s put it this way: Two new mothers are friends on Facebook. They live in the same neighborhood, communicating frequently through instant messaging and Facebook posts. One of them reaches out on Facebook and asks for a recommendation regarding the purchase of a stroller. Her friend reaches out to a community network on Facebook that she belongs to, and reposts her friend’s inquiry. A local natal clothing store that belongs to the community network, responds with a special discount offer, valid until the end of the week.
See how that works? The conversation wasn’t on a search engine. Engaging in social media sites opens your business to opportunities you would have otherwise missed. The key, however, to social media marketing is relevance and timeliness. When you release information about your brand, or post content by your business, it needs to be relevant and timely to users. It should always be free, always informative, and if it’s entertaining as well, you‘ll make a deeper impression on the audience.
Try to explore as many relevant social media platforms as you can. Typically, businesses are required to create a business user account, which can be managed by one or more administrators. Once your profile is established, you can join existing networks relevant to your business, or create your own network and invite users to join.
Posting consistent, high quality content is the best way to generate shares. An average of four to six posts per week over time can really add a boost to your traffic. Check out some of the most popular social media sites listed below:
With over 1 billion active users and an 18 per cent market share (Smartinsights.com), Facebook is the uncontested heavy-weight of social media sites. Popular with just about every age group, you’ll find businesses and celebrities engaged frequently on Facebook as well. Conversations on Facebook are direct, unedited, and often impromptu. Countless networks and communities are hosted, with a variety of ways to reach your audience. Facebook live video streaming is a relatively new and exciting new tool with incredible potential for businesses in the future.
As of January 2017, Instagram hit a staggering 600 million global users. Primarily a visual medium, users post illustrations, photos and artwork that can be tagged, shared, or liked, by members. Content posted on Instagram can also be reposted to other social media sites, where you can increase your exposure further. If you have products that are visually striking, or you provide expertise that can be demonstrated visually, Instagram is an ideal platform.
Following closely behind Instagram in popularity, Tumblr is the premier micro-blogging networking site, with over 500 million active global users. (SmartInsights.com). Owned by Yahoo since 2013, the service hosts a diverse range of short-form multimedia content, posted by users who can share and follow blogs they like. Short blog posts, gifs, music, chats, photos, and quotes are some of the unique ways you can engage with users and establish a following of your own.
Boasting 150 million active users (Omnicore Agency), Pinterest is another popular social media platform, with high engagement among women. Like Instagram, you’ll find striking visual content posted by users, who can share original content or images they find on Pinterest. 72 per cent of Pinterest users refer to Pinterest content for their purchases offline! (Omnicore Agency).
If you have an important announcement you want picked up by the press, Twitter is the place for you. Posts, or ‘tweets’, as they are called on Twitter, are limited to 140 characters, so you’ll need to be brief yet memorable with your content here. The best way to utilize Twitter is to connect with key influencers, experts, and media professionals relevant to your industry or location. By following them and releasing consistently quality content, you can earn followers and generate buzz for your next important launch.
Whether you’re a freelance videographer or a global conglomerate with head offices on every continent, LinkedIn is a great way to build professional industry contacts. You can connect with businesses of varying sizes from a wide range of industries. You’ll also discover business resources such as forums and professional networks, an ideal place to connect with professionals, experts and influencers in your space who are active online and seeking further exposure.
Ok, so Yelp isn’t exactly a social networking site, but the reviews generated by its vast community of reviewers can impact your ranking in search engines. Google and other search engines rely on the reviews posted by Yelp reviewers to rank their results, especially for local searches. If you can generate positive star ratings from Yelp reviewers, you’ll rank higher in search results.