Top social media platforms for business
Social media has become a fundamental tool for doing business around the world.
There are many platforms available to companies and organizations, depending of your type of business, the demographics and behaviour of your potential clients, your overall goals.
In my opinion, every business strategy should include the following five social media tools in some form or another:
Twitter has the ability to create a large audience quickly using only 140 characters. The platform is ideal for making initial contacts to connect with other platforms, such as a link to a website, blog post, pictures, video or documents. Or you can post images and videos directly to Twitter – after all a picture is worth a thousand words. You can easily communicate with your followers using retweets, replies and favourites. You can also provide direct offers and promotions to get your audience to click on a link or make a purchase.
Facebook is the most populated social media platform in the world. It allows you access to over 1 billion people, target a specific demographic and communicate directly with your customers. Depending on what you want to achieve, you can make ads, post articles, pictures and videos and open groups and pages to promote your products or services. You can use images to create the look and feel of your brand and make direct offers and promotions to generate sales or persuade clients to engage with your company.
LinkedIn is considered the largest network of professionals in one place. 50% of LinkedIn members have decision making power in their organizations, which makes it easier to create connections and partnerships, as well as seek out new clients, ideas or employees. You can use LinkedIn to send direct messages and invitations to people of interest, as well as join groups and share updates about your company or industry as a whole.
YouTube is a video sharing social media site that is owned by Google and should be in your online marketing strategy alongside other platforms that you choose. Webcasts and webinars can be posted as well as tutorials, product demonstrations or promotional videos. More creative options include videos that are emotional or tell a story that engage the demographic that you want to reach, with the goal of going viral. Recently YouTube announced that it will have stations for schools and other specialty areas which will make it easier to connect with the right audience.
Slideshare (owned by LinkedIn) has the potential to reach an entirely new audience through the use of slides in the form of PowerPoint, PDF, Keynote or OpenDocument presentations. You can generate content, images and story from day one to promote your business to new markets or your existing LinkedIn network. Since Slideshire is still relatively new, there is not as much competition so it presents an opportunity for marketing a new product or service.
No matter which social media platforms you choose for your business, it is important to make sure they are all interconnected and consistent. That way you can promote your brand and attract consumers by appealing to their various senses and preference for interacting online.
It is interesting to note, that even though social media is a global phenomenon, there are over a hundred different social media platforms across the planet. The five that I have chosen above are recommended for North America, but may be different depending on your country or market. Remember, each business is unique so you need to customize your social media platform to your business needs.