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Love it or hate it, social media is everywhere. Whether you’re travelling, shopping or dining out you’re frequently assailed with invitations to ‘check in’, ‘tag friends’ or ‘post a review’. Regardless of whether you use social media in your personal life or are still firmly resisting the allure of Facebook, using social media to promote and grow your business is essential in the modern business world. But what are the best social media platforms for your particular business? And how do you use modern social media to your advantage?
Before deciding which social media networks you’re going to spend time and resources on you’ll need to decide what you want to achieve with social media. These goals should be specific and tied to a business objective. You can get more information about setting your social media goals in this article from Social Media Examiner. Once you’ve drawn up a list of goals read through the descriptions and examples below and see which network(s) align(s) with your requirements.
The oldest and probably most famous kid on the block, Facebook still has much to offer. Facebook offers you the chance to build a community around your business, gathering feedback, passing on useful and interesting information and handling complaints. It has an ad platform as well, which you can use to promote your content, such as blog posts, and the products you want to sell. The biggest drawback of Facebook is its lack of organic reach. This means that even if you have built up a large following on the site, very few people will see your posts unless you pay to promote them.
Twitter is essentially Facebook for those of few words. The platform allows users to send and receive 140-character messages and post links. This brevity is both Twitter’s strength and weakness. It allows you to communicate quickly, but with so many messages flashing past your tweets can get lost in the noise.
It can be hard to promote your company directly on Twitter and many companies opt to use it for branding purposes. The site also has an ad platform, which you can use to promote content or sell products.
Instagram is an online portfolio of your pictures and short videos. If you have no physical product to sell, or don’t work in a visual medium, Instagram is probably not your best choice. There is some room for text, but don’t expect to be able to post long diatribes advertising your business. Showing, not telling, is the key to Instagram.
Google+ isn’t the as widely used as many of the social networks, but it does have its uses. Popular among online marketing professionals, so if you’re targeting that demographic, then you’ll find it can be a great place to share content and make connections. You can set up Google+ for your business via the Google My Business page.
Businesses with a physical location may also find Google+ useful as you have a chance of showing up in Google’s local search results. Secondly, it’s a good platform on which to gather reviews.
LinkedIn differs from other social media platforms because its focus is business to business, rather than business to consumer. Companies looking to hire might find it useful to set up a page, and for sole traders such as consultants, the ability to build and maintain connections with past, current and future clients is the main benefit.