One of the most powerful tools in digital communications is social media (SM) and the various platforms it utilises. They’re often, if not always, the primary sources for content creation and consumer consumption. Especially when it comes to businesses – large or small. Few are the companies that can survive nowadays without some kind of social media presence and the support they get by employing one form or another of SM.
That said, it can be hard and time-consuming, even for those who are super social media savvy, to stay up-to-date with what’s new let alone learn how to use it effectively. There are new products and apps hitting the online market all the time.
Why Employ Social Media to Enhance Your Business Growth?
Having a social media presence provides some of the following benefits – no matter what you’re selling— be it yourself, your business, your product. If you can deploy any and all of the popular SM products on behalf of yourself and/or your business or product, you’ll be far more likely to have success due to the three following reasons social media provides:
- Web traffic generation
But it goes further than that:
- SM can be leveraged for a wider range of objectives – lead generation and sales, user generated content, research and monetization (earning revenue from an asset, business, etc.)
- A successful social media strategy capitalises on the strength of each platform your business employs and helps you create platform-specific content to attract and capture the audience you want.
Popular Social Media Channels
The following is a selection along with a brief description of some of the important digital social media platforms available to you. It should be noted that very few companies need to be on ALL of these platforms – instead, choose one or two that your target audience is using and do it well. We recommend hiring an experienced social media manager if you are not one yourself. Now, the basics:
This platform initially started out as a photo sharing network for college students and was more for personal and social use rather than for use as a business tool. Now Facebook delivers on many fronts and is used to increase the reach of a brand, create engagement and generate leads. You can even sell directly from FB. Its users, however – typically older – generally still see Facebook as a way to stay in touch with friends and family.
When it comes to short content, stories and pictures, Instagram provides an interactive gallery within the social media community. Its reach is extensive and it also shares an advertising platform with Facebook, so the features are similar (click to buy, etc). Instagram is best suited for use when it comes to brand engagement, influencer campaigns, photos, short video content and hashtag campaigns.
If you’re a professional you’ll want to have a presence on this platform. LinkedIn’s content sharing capabilities are similar to those of Facebook. It also provides platform-specific functions such as InMail and Articles which are great resources to grow business. LinkedIn is great for increasing business awareness and creating B2B connections. If promoting thought leadership and recruiting are part of what your business requires, LinkedIn is definitely a go-to platform.
Known for its innovative content creation capabilities and vast content library, this is the newest player in the SM space. TikTok is a great platform to use if you want to increase brand reach, create word-of-mouth buzz, run an influencer campaign, ride a trend, and create easy-to-consume content. Because its users are generally very young (think Gen Z, Gen Alpha), it’s not particularly effective for businesses with an older demographic.
Considered to be social media’s only “microblogging” platform, Twitter and its 280 character limit forces communication teams to create content that’s easy to interact with and to digest. It’s a great platform if you want to create or ride a hashtag, engage with influencers and Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) in order to broadcast messages, push news, and increase direct brand awareness with consumers. It can also be great as a customer service channel, but only if you have the budget and time for someone to monitor it 24/7 (or at least during business hours).
Companies and individuals utilise YouTube because of its tried-and-true easy to use platform functions used for creating long-form video content. YouTube is a powerful tool when it comes to:
a) creating long-form videos,
b) building brand collateral libraries,
c) generating viewer engagement, and last, but not least,
And there you have it. A short primer of the most popular SM products used by businesses and individuals alike who want to sell themselves, increase their reach, build brand recognition and awareness, create social impact, improve market share, and everything else in between. These are just the basics – to learn more and decide which platforms may best support your small business, we recommend checking out HubSpot’s fantastic blog.