When people we speak of social media and networks the first two brands that come to mind are Facebook and Twitter. With Facebook at Alexa Rank 1 followed by Twitter at rank 11 they are clearly the market leaders in this segment. You look closely at any business’s website their presence would be front and center calling you to follow them. The question you have to ask yourself is are Facebook and Twitter the ony ones that matter. Is everything else just a passing phase.
Opinion is mixed on this topic. Even though stats generated from LinkedIn , Google +, FourSquare etc are underwhelming, the specific benefits generated from these networks cannot and should not be ignored. For those folks who think there is nothing out there besides the big 2 here are some important facts to consider when deciding on your social media strategy.
According to an ROI research, 59% of respondents claim that having a LinkedIn account is more important than any other network. Surprisingly, LinkedIn prefers to be referred as “professional network”. The ability to specifically connect with the people of same profession gives you a chance to interact with people in the same professional network (as well as look up old classmates). Depending on the type of business you run and how important b2b contacts can be LinkedIn might be the way to get to the insiders you need.
Although Google claims no rivalry between Google+ and Facebook and it does have some solid points as an argument, the comparison is nevertheless inevitable. It’s hard to deny their lack of love for each other either. They are after the same thing, data and search results. The absence of advertisements as yet (and never to appear on G+ as Google claims) makes Google+ definitely a less cluttered tool. You can easily find what you are looking for. Additionally the powerful feature of “Circles” allows you to post specifically to intended people only which is a huge plus with Google+. For businesses though the main thing that can’t be overlooked is that most people search using Google and it is naïve to think that Google won’t reward those who use their networks. Sometimes viewership of your posts is secondary to just having well crafted posts available for indexing.
Video can be a powerful if used properly and that may just be why Google decided to buy the biggest video hosting service that we all know as Youtube. In fact, for many of you who do not know, You Tube it is the second largest search engine on Planet after Google itself. It is a great tool to post informative and instructional videos allowing you a huge compelling force for many purposes. Just beware because it’s better to have no have no You Tube presence than to have a poor and sparse one. Like with all marketing continuity and content is the key to success.
A rather new player in the game, Pinterest has gathered a huge following for itself in a short interval. The strongest argument in Pinterest’s favor is the fact that Pinterest has a higher concentration of people in ready to buy state of mind than Facebook and Twitter due to the fact that it is concentrated on sharing products and product uses we like as opposed to information about what we did today or pictures of our kids. If you have a service like a health club or gourmet food store than Pinterest can be a great tool for letting people know how they can use your products which is one of the strongest marketing strategies around.
For those of you unfamiliar with Foursquare, you are missing out on a huge marketing platform for your business. Foursquare allows its users to “check-in” whenever they visit a physical location (and let all their friends know where they are). Moreover rewards in the form of badges allowing you a somewhat of yellow pages but incentivized. This provides for a way get return visits which is priceless for any business. Foursquare is the best way to engage and reward your most loyal customers.
Not every platform is right for every business but it is important to make sure you get in front of your audience where ever they are. Different demographics tend to trend towards different platforms so once you have decided who your primary audience is and how you want to engage them the next step can be developing a strategy that goes well beyond Facebook and Twitter and grow your business even more.