There are hundreds of social media platforms on the web, all with small differences that generate large differences in the results. Most know about the Big 6: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. All of these platforms can do wonderful things for your business, but which should your brand be on? Deciding where to go is a matter of what your social media goals are and what your business is all about.
There are not many businesses that should not be on Facebook. With over 1.3 billion active users, the platform gives any business great potential to extend their brand reach and awareness.
The trick with Facebook is playing nice with their algorithms. Much like Google, Facebook has specific algorithms that weed out content that is low quality or uninteresting to users. If you don’t make the cut, your posts won’t appear on users’ feeds. To be successful, keep your content high quality and authentic. It also doesn’t hurt to drop a few dollars into targeted advertising.
Like Facebook, there is no reason not to be on Twitter. Over 500 million Tweets are sent per day on the platform and every industry has found a home in those Tweets. With the use of hashtags, you can join in discussions with anyone in your industry – from influencers to potential customers.
The only rules of Twitter are follow hashtag etiquette, post authentic and helpful content, have conversations, and don’t be a salesman. As long as you are authentic and keep your hashtags restricted to three or less, you will flourish on Twitter.
People love to argue the merits of Google+. Some joke that only Google employees actively use the platform. Others swear by it, showing stats on their conversions and reach. The divide is because Google+ is still a little bit clunky. It combines the efficiencies and features of other big social platforms – creating a conglomeration that is hard to use effectively.
If you are able to understand the basics of Google+, it is absolutely worthwhile to put your business on the platform. When you have a Google+ business page, it integrates seamlessly with your search engine rankings and can even improve them. You also receive easy access to Google Analytics and AdWords.
LinkedIn is the perfect platform for B2B businesses and those trying to grow their professional reputation with a certain company. Here is the kicker – LinkedIn is all about professionalism. Users will put you on their mental spam list if you get too sales-y on your page or in groups.
The rule: Keep it classy and use LinkedIn for authentic business networking. You will have to use your personal profile to reach out to people, but you also want a company page for legitimacy and to direct people to follow your business updates.
Many businesses are clamoring to get on Pinterest, but I have new for you – only certain business industries flourish there. The active user base is extremely niche. Generally the only businesses that do well are home improvement/remodeling/interior design, retail, restaurants/food stores, wedding industries, artists and independent sellers, and décor. If you don’t fall into one of those categories, skip the platform.
Since Instagram has been bought by Facebook, it is the perfect platform to hop on if you already have a heavy Facebook following. If your business has a visual aspect to it, Instagram is a great tool for your social media toolbox. Take photos of new products, events, your staff, your dog visiting the office – anything that is eye catching and looks great with a filter!