This affinity for socialization has spread to businesses as well. Television anchors ask you to follow them on Twitter. Restaurant ads on buses boast Facebook links. Clothing lines want you to follow their Instagram. Gone are the days of traditional marketing and media.
The benefits are plentiful. Companies now have the option to update their customers on new products and services at the touch of a button. Customer service issues can be handled promptly, allowing for more satisfied clients. Sales flyers are sent out directly to interested customers at little to no cost. Yet with so many options available, how do you find the options that are best for your business?
Once limited to college students, Facebook has become the go-to social media for users. Facebook allows users to share stories, rants, images, or anything else their hearts desire. For businesses, Facebook has become a great marketing tool. Companies are allowed to advertise to interested people about different products or services that they offer. They often share images to promote new products or post about a sale or discount being offered. Companies are encouraged to promote interaction through comments, likes, and shares.
Some companies even promote contests or giveaways on their page, encouraging users to like their page before entering. While businesses have the option to opt for normal free postings, they can also boost visibility through ads to appeal to their fan base or expand into other demographics. If done right, your business could be the next big viral marketing post.
Who does it best? Keep an eye on Old Spice, Dollar Shave Club, Zappos, & Tiny Prints.
Will it work for my business? Absolutely. Facebook appeals to small and big business alike and has the widest demographic of users spans from 13 years old (the youngest allowed) to 106 years old and is frequented by males and females.
Twitter, and its iconic sky blue bird, made it’s appearance in 2006. Twitter allows you to follow businesses and personalities associated with those businesses as well. The site encourages users to share brief 140 character maximum messages, called “tweets.” You can also add visual interest and important information with a customized background specifically designed for your business. Twitter pioneered the idea of hashtags, which allow users to more or less keyword their posts. This functionality allows people to find out what topics are trending recently and get in on the conversation. By joining the conversation, attention can be added to your company.
Due to the message length limit, companies are encouraged to be witty and direct. Content should be anything that relates to your business or would interest your clientele. Twitter is also great for cross promotion with other companies. A simple mention can gain both companies attention. You can even improve customer relations by “retweeting” or mentioning their “tweets.” It’s not just about promoting you and your business. Twitter can also be used to find valuable information that appeals to your company, like Matomy for marketing tips or the Wall Street Journal for stock information.
Who does it best? Oreo, Etsy, Dos Equis, Starbucks, & Victoria’s Secrets lead the Twitterverse.
Will it work for my business? If done properly, yes. Twitter is best for drawing attention to your company but you have to be able to keep their attention. It has over 500 million years worldwide so there’s no reason you shouldn’t succeed.
Instagram hit the market in 2008 encouraging its users to express through pictures. Images are characterized by their square shape and optional vintage style filters. While a great creative outlet for many users, Instagram also allows businesses the ability to promote what they offer. Instagram is a great way to not only show off what you have to offer, but allow users insight to the inner workings. This could mean showing your staff at work, behind the scenes images, or even appealing to a more personal side.
Like Twitter, Instagram also uses hashtags, although it’s used more to find similar interests. Often companies even use them for promotions so the images can be easily located. In 2013, video functionality was added which now allows business 15 second video clips for additional promotion.
Who does it best? Red Bull, Nike, NBA, Sephora, BMW, Taco Bell & Sharpie.
Will it work for my business? Depends. Given the visual platform, Instagram works best if you have something worthy of pictures. If you sell tangible goods, own a restaurant, or offer visual services like web design or photography it’s worth your time. If not, explore your other options.
The key to getting the most out of social media is staying consistent. Listen to your customers’ feedback and tune your postings accordingly. Behind the cloak of a computer screen, customers are more willing to confront businesses on problems, but they’re also happy to share products and services that excite them. It’s all about finding a way to use social media to your advantage.
Posted in Social Media Tools. Tags: facebook, instagram, twitter
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