7 October 2014 By Northern Lights
At every training session I host, I tell those attending to consider what questions their customers are asking so they can identify the key words they need to be using in their online and social content. By targeting these key words and phrases they can quickly create content that guarantees they are found on search engines like Google and, ultimately, win the business and build the contacts they need.
And, at these sessions and in my day to day life, the question I’m asked the most is: “What is the best social media platform?”
The quick answer is there isn’t one.
A guide to social media platforms
With that in mind, I’ve created this guide to social media. The truth is, the more platforms you use to share your content and insights, the better. However, you also need to make sure the time you are investing in social media updates is well spent and that means targeting the platforms your customers are using.
I’d thought I’d use this blog to highlight some of the key platforms now available and provide a simple guide to those that are most suitable for your business. With sites including a social network for cooks called Cucumbertown, house music focussed PartyFlock and the intriguingly titled VampireFreaks.com muddying the waters, I’ve picked out the best for businesses and provided an overview of their uses.
Crucially, I’ve provided some tips on what they should be used for.
In part one of the blog I’ll look at the mainstream platforms and in part two, I’ll look at the rising stars, the potential next big thing and some of the international social media platforms that may be worth considering.
The social media big five
Twitter – Instant, engaging and hugely popular with around 560 million active users. Twitter is the Swiss Army Knife of the social media world and is effective for both B2C and B2B communications.
How should you use it? Use this site to share links to your content, engage with key contacts, join conversations and promote your offer.
Google+ – The problem child of the social media giants. Google has big ambitions for its social media offer but is still struggling to sell the benefits to the online world. It has 1.6bn registered users, but only around 400 million of these actively use it. The chances are that Google+ will become the social media king so it’s worth engaging with the platform now. Most importantly, share all of your content through Google+ as Google rewards this loyalty by ranking you higher in search results.
YouTube – With 1bn visitors a month, Youtube is a powerful marketing channel for businesses. Couple this with the increased impact video has in communicating messages to your potential customers and it cannot be ignored.
Put simply, Facebook is the best platform for business to consumer and LinkedIn is the best for business to business. Everyone should be using Twitter and Google+ to make sure their message is heard and ranked accordingly.
YouTube is growing in importance because of the growing impact of videos for business marketing. Again, everyone should look to create a stream of video content and for some top tips on how to do that, check out this blog.
Inevitably, I’ll have overlooked or overstated something, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on what platforms work for you and what tips you have for anyone else trying to navigate the choppy waters of social media.
Social media is an ever-changing feast and, in part two, I’ll look at the sites that may one day topple these online giants.