This post is by Suma Gouder, Senior Marketing Manager, A2A Optima
It was in the year 1997 that the first recognised Social Media channel came into existence and now, two decades later, it has become of the most favourite ways to socialise and to stay in touch with people. Just to illustrate the popularity of Social Media, a survey says that 79% of the total internet users are active on Facebook.
Social Media has been adapted into daily life with open arms and the fascinating part is that people of all ages, profession, social status and cultural backgrounds use these channels to communicate. As Social Media has evolved rapidly and phenomenally, communication from just being text based messages has enhanced into images, emojis, videos, GIFs and so on.
Social media also has advanced from being a personal socialising medium into a platform with great potential for band building and marketing. In the United States, 8 out of every 10 companies use one or the other Social Media channels to sell their products, to communicate with audience or just to create a strong online presence.
In this big world of Social media with several channels businesses, especially the SMBs find it difficult to recognise the right channels to include in their Social Media Marketing strategy. No matter how good your content and marketing strategy are, if practiced on wrong channels may go completely unnoticed without any ROI. Following is a quick guide to 7 major Social Media channels and how small businesses can greatly benefit from them.
Facebook can be termed as that one social media channel where we can find the largest variety of demographics. No matter what is your business or what you want to sell, you will find a suitable audience on Facebook if you work focused. Decide on what you want to market and develop a consistent organic marketing strategy that will influence the target audience. Share your brand history, values, success stories along with relevant images and updates. With the easily comprehendible analytics and paid advertising, Facebook should definitely be a part of your #SMM plan.
Twitter can be termed as a channel that helps you to connect with people effectively. With the focus on connecting with people and organisations in your business line you can follow each other, share content, images, videos, latest business updates and develop a cordial relationship by tagging each other. Twitter is a very good place to provide customer service provided a responsible person is in charge of the tweets. The trick to be successful on twitter is to be always cordial, responding with retweets, share and hashtags.
With nearly 600 million users, Instagram is the largest visual social media platform. You think of any topic under the sun and you will find relevant images, videos and hashtags on Instagram. This is a great platform to give your target audience a visual presentation of what you are, what your products or services are, your specialties and what makes you unique. You can always grab the attention of your audience by posting contents, free vouchers, event updates and so on.
If you approach other social platforms as a marketer, you should approach LinkedIn as a business professional. Put your best professional foot forward and create an impressive profile defining your business, brand and services impressively. For B2B purposes you can join Linkedin groups and grow your business contacts exponentially. Be a part of quality discussions, contribute high quality original content regularly as you strive to build business relationships.
Most of the small businesses do not consider Google Plus to be a part of their SMM strategy. But it is a major player in this field as your presence here will affect your overall SEO and keyword search on Google. You can join Google+ groups of your business interest, create your own audience base and transform them into traffic for your website. Freshness of content, consistency and formal attitude will win you good number of followers.
For businesses into creative industry, Pinterest is the right place to be. Like Instagram this also is another powerful visual social media platform to build your brand. Images related to fashion, design, art, food and creative works can all gain maximum visibility on this platform with the appropriate content and keyword optimization. As a huge number of images are being posted at a very fast pace, it is essential to put up your posts few times a day to keep your content ‘recent’.
Personal messaging apps are greatly popular among all mobile users as they are cheap and easily accessible. These tools can be well exploited by small businesses for local marketing. Be it WhatsApp, Wechat, Facebook messenger, Viber, Snapchat or Periscope will help you build a bond with your customers personally and on a daily basis. Such marketing will be highly productive when handled professionally. Create a group of your customers and share information regarding your products and services directly with them. Promo videos, shopping coupons, sale and discount notifications can all be delivered directly to the audience.
Small businesses can reach out to good number of customers using social media channels. Do not be one in the herd blindly following what others do. By clearly setting up your visions and goals you can harness great success on social media.