How to Choose the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business
Here's the thing: your social media presence is only as good as you make it. In order for your company to get a slice of the social media cake and gain a stable following, there must be active participation and involvement on your end. While this does not necessarily mean posting ten times per day or even posting daily across every social channel, it does mean pinpointing the social channels that are the best fit for your company's communication strategy.
Because you can draw your social media strategy based on what you're trying to communicate and how you're trying to communicate it, here are the most popular options out there.
As the internet's flagship social networking site (and largest in the world), Facebook makes sense for just about any business due to size alone (over a billion people have individual profiles and most American businesses maintain a profile). With this in mind, Facebook is the ideal platform to maximize your company's quantitative reach. However, utilizing another social network or two in addition to maintaining a Facebook page will help grow your following beyond a few weekly posts. Because Facebook is so large, is uses an algorithm to tailor-make your experience so that the posts Facebook thinks you will find more interesting are placed at the top of your feed.
While this is a brilliant model for the individual user, it's a hurdle small businesses need to climb. In order to get to the top of the news feeds of your followers, the content you post needs to be creative, engaging and original. Otherwise, it's easy to sink to the bottom of the news feed where few will see your posts. Facebook is highly suggested and beneficial, but it doesn't have to be an end-all, be-all social platform.
Twitter is the world's largest continuous discussion. While social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn are swimming with posts that are often viewed hours or even days after they're made public, Twitter maintains a "here and now" orientation in which a user typically engages with tweets that are posted within ten to fifteen minutes of the user being online.
As an in-the-moment platform used to share updates and digital media (photos and videos), Twitter is useful for companies seeking to connect with their audience through breaking news stories, questions, and replies--right here, right now. If you frequently have updates to share and want your followers to directly engage with you as much as possible, Twitter is a useful platform for your business to consider.
As perhaps the sexiest of the group (or at least with the most visually appealing interface), Instagram is a huge swing-or-miss opportunity. Not that any company can't use Instagram, but not every company should.
From what started as an online scrapbook and digital photo collection, Instagram Video has helped the site bloom into a highly interactive emporium of must-see life happenings. However, the pattern for companies that use Instagram remains the same: Instagram feeds are usually done either really well or really poorly, with little room left for mediocrity. Companies have started getting more creative with what they post, hashtags they use, and even where they place their posts on their own grid (some companies even make designs on their feed using multiple images). This means the competition is stiffer. Consider your company's creative arsenal before getting an Instagram account up and running, since many of the photos you would post to an Instagram account can probably be shared just as easily with Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
The social network seemingly always playing catch up to the others, LinkedIn is a useful tool for businesses looking to gain impressions and clicks. Although not quite as large or popular as Facebook, LinkedIn is designed with a similar interface and user experience while being tailored to the business person. A LinkedIn company profile is actually fairly robust, with a company bio and other company facts (size, founded date, location, ownership, etc.) included.
LinkedIn also offers a space for companies to publish original blog posts and industry insight as a beneficial tool for the LinkedIn community. Regardless of your company's trade, LinkedIn is a good social platform to have; when users search and find your company page, it lends a nice credibility boost as well.
While all these sites can be useful in their own way when used effectively, remember that your activate engagement is the engine that makes your social media presence go. After all, those creative posts aren't going to post themselves.