Whether you’re a big social media fan or a reluctant newbie, making smart choices about which social media platforms you invest your time in is a crucial business decision.
Finding yourself spending all your time maintaining various social media accounts and not enough time actually running your business? You need to reign things in and focus your energies on the one (or two) best suited to your business.
Not keen on spending any time on social media? The vast potential for engaging with your target market can’t be ignored. You need a social media presence. You just need to choose a manageable platform that suits your needs.
Read on to find out which social media platforms are best for your business – and where you can find the best social media inspiration.
Good for: e-commerce businesses with a strong visual identity
Instagram is the ideal platform if you want to build up an attractive online presence. Many of the most successful brands on Instagram are all about lifestyle – think fashion, beauty, food and travel. Anything that lends itself to beautiful photos and videos basically! Instagram boasts fantastic levels of engagement, allowing you to tap into its active user base of over 700 million. And with its Instagram Shopping feature set to roll out to any ever-increasing number of fashion, beauty and jewellery online retailers it could pay to get on board if that’s your line of business.
Good for: businesses selling practical products
The popularity of videos is on the up and up. And much of the buzz is happening on YouTube. With a whopping four billion video views every single day, this video-sharing site is one of the most influential social media platforms. YouTube videos even rank at the top of Google search results – an important consideration for your SEO tactics.
YouTube is especially suited to online retailers that sell products with a practical use. From DIY tools to beauty products, the platform is the ideal place to share your expertise while subtly showcasing your products. Lush Hair Extensions do a great job of this. Their YouTube channel features lots of useful tutorials that inspire customers to use their products, without having to resort to overt sales patter.
Good for: businesses looking for an all-in-one social media solution
This long-established stalwart of social media is a great all-rounder. You’ve got 2 billion monthly users, a wide range of content-sharing features and moderate levels of user engagement. Most users fall within the 25-54 age range and many check their account a few times a day. If you are a reluctant social media user, Facebook is probably your best choice: it’s low-maintenance and you can do everything from share photos to advertise events all in one place.
Check out events company Tough Mudder’s Facebook page for loads of great ideas on keeping your content fresh, relevant and interesting. From fun hashtags to community-building, they’re doing a top job.
Good for: online retail businesses aimed at women
The vast majority of Pinterest’s 100 million active users are female, making it your ideal platform if that’s your target customer base. There’s a strong focus on lifestyle businesses, especially those in the weddings, interiors, fashion, beauty and cooking markets. You can build Pinterest boards of useful content that’s relevant to your brand, as well as enabling users to ‘Pin’ pages from your website. It’s a good choice for driving traffic to your site (once you have put the effort into getting things up and running) and the Pinterest ‘Buy’ button enables users to buy your products direct.
Handmade and vintage online marketplace Etsy are huge on Pinterest, with almost one million followers. Their boards are well-organised, visually appealing and varied. They feature a mix of products from their own site and curated content from others.
Good for: businesses where networking and/or customer service are key
If you love to chat, Twitter could be a good choice for you. More than any other platform, Twitter is about two-way conversation, rather than focussing purely on getting your message out there. Retweeting and engaging with other people’s accounts is crucial, but all that effort can pay off as you build strong links with your competitors, influencers and customers. And if one of those top influencers retweets one of your tweets, your business could potentially be exposed to hundreds and thousands of new customers.
Many businesses use Twitter to listen to and respond to their customers as quickly and effectively as possible. To nail your Twitter customer service, look to brands like Holland and Barrett for inspiration. Just be aware that Twitter silence or conflicts can be publically damaging when it comes to responding to questions and complaints so you need to commit to being available and helpful.
Good for: businesses aimed at the millennial market
If your business has a young target market, you’d be mad not to consider rising social media star, Snapchat. With a growing user base of over 150 million avid daily users aged 16-24, it’s the fun and fast-paced place to share your photos and videos. You can offer exclusive user deals, host live chats with your customers and run interactive campaigns. You can even buy your own bespoke filter for your business. Don’t be daunted, it’s easy once you get the hang of it! One must – you need a smartphone. This app is purely mobile-based.
Follow brands like Grub Hub and Bustle to see how it’s done. It’s not all young, cool companies though. Some of the most successful brands on Snapchat include energy and science companies. You’ll even find NASA there!