Social media has become an integral part of the growth of businesses today. When you think of adopting social media into your business, it is likely that what comes to mind are the common leading platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, depending on your line of business. However, social media doesn’t end with those common platforms. There are so many types of social media platforms, and more keep popping up into the market. Each social media platform reaches a particular group.
The evolution of social media platforms from being just meant for social networking and image sharing to incorporating live streaming, shopping, and other features has made the platforms better for business marketing. Understanding how these platforms work in terms of specific uses can help you select which ones are best for your business.
How To Choose The Best Types Of Social Media For Your Business?
Even though it can be among the most effective marketing methods for your business, social media can be a recipe for doom if not well selected. Each social media platform has its users and rules about how content is shared, and users interact. As a business owner, it is important to be aware of these differences before settling on the platform to market your business on.
Below are details to pay attention to when choosing the best social media platform for your business.
1. The nature of your business
The products or services you offer should inform the decision of what social media channels to use. You should also consider things like your brand personality and business type. For instance, artists and graphic designers can make the most out of social media platforms like Instagram and Dayflash. At the same time, B2B enterprises can get better sales by being actively involved in LinkedIn. Social media platforms can be niche-specific, meaning only a particular industry can thrive while others are a broad spectrum and can accommodate different business industries.
2. Your target audience
Knowledge of your target audience is essential when it comes to deciding which social media platform to market your business from. You must choose a platform where most of your target audience is active to reach them. This will ensure that you maximize your investment by reaching the highest number of users.
3. Your client demographics
Knowing your clients will give you a rough idea of which platforms they are most likely to use. Demographics such as age or gender can help you narrow down your choices on which platform will be most beneficial to invest in. The goal is to have maximum gain for every effort you put into your social media marketing strategy.
4. Your competition
Conducting a competitive analysis to know which platforms your competitors are using can help give you insight into what strategy is working and what is not. Knowing what your competitor is doing can guide you in making sure your approach is better than theirs to put you in a better position with potential clients in the industry.
5. Your social media marketing goals
Whatever social media platforms you choose for your business should align with your overall social media marketing goals. The platforms should collectively help you achieve your goals, whether to engage your followers or customer support.
6. The different social media platforms
Choosing the right social media platform with all the above information will still be tricky if you don’t know the different types and their uses. You need to understand each platform and how users communicate with them. For instance, Twitter is good for conversations on trending topics, while LinkedIn is perfect for sharing professional expertise. Spend time on the different platforms to see which one meets your needs, aligns with your goals, and will have a greater reach to your target audience.
7. Measurement strategy
You need to know beforehand how to measure the performance of the social media platforms you choose to engage. Research ways to monitor progress to understand how to adjust your social media marketing strategy whenever needed.
Keep Up To Date With Social Media Statistics
Numbers never lie. Social media statistics will provide you with information on;
- The latest updates on growth on different social media platforms
- The latest updates on demographics
- Insights on how people behave on each platform and what they want
- Things you can do to help you connect with your audience.
Monitoring these statistics will also require you to stay up to date on your social chosen social media platforms and others to gain full information on how to improve your business.
How To Stay Up To Date With Social Media Platforms?
To gain maximum benefits from your involvement in social media for your business, you should stay aware of new developments in the platforms. Consequently, your business should also run efficiently, and that requires your attention. However, you can juggle the two if you follow the following steps to help you keep up to date with your social media platforms without hindering your production.
a) Set time aside for social media every day
You can set aside time to scroll through your social media feeds. This habit will help you know what people are talking about, the trends, and any changes happening. You can maximize your time by customizing feeds to see the relevant topics you need, save interesting articles to read later, and spend time exploring new platforms to understand new customer trends.
b) Use Search Engine Optimization to find market gaps your business could fill
You can use SEO tools available in the market to see what your customers are searching for in your industry. You can use this information to analyze their behaviors at different purchase stages, thus understanding their needs. Using search engine optimization will keep you informed on your customer’s purchasing trends and guide you on your brand’s content creation.
c) Make use of customer feedback
Encourage customer feedback from your social media platforms by conducting surveys or posting content that elicits dialogue. Customer feedback will provide you with a better understanding of your audience. Information like what they need and what they are interested in will help you improve your customer support and the services you offer.
d) Engage your audience
You can be assured of staying up to date with your social media if you fully engage your audience and followers by replying to their comments and responding to their concerns. You can use Socialays, a tool that tracks all your social media accounts and informs you of any activity so that no followers are left out. With Socialays, you can respond to all comments as they come.
e) Keep an eye on your competitors
Your competitors can inspire your social media marketing strategy to be better. Set aside time to look at what they are posting. This action will give you an idea as to what the emerging trends in the industry are. However, even as you draw inspiration from your competitors, ensure that you are not copying their content. Share unique points of view of emerging issues in a manner that puts a spotlight on your brand as an expert in the matter.
f) Be enthusiastic about learning
The world of social media is ever-changing. Therefore, you should be willing to learn every new trend as they emerge to stay on top of your game. You can only get the best out of social media for your business if you move with the changing tides. Staying up to date requires that you never stop learning.
Types Of Social Media Platforms
There are many social media platforms, but they are categorized into different types depending on their functionality. The list below groups the various platforms into eight types that focus on how each type is used and what it can accomplish for businesses if adopted.
1. Audio social media platforms
Audio social media platforms provide a place for users to listen to conversations on specific topics. Examples of social media platforms that are auditory include Clubhouse, Spotify among others.
Audio social media platforms have gained popularity during the corona pandemic, which forced people to stay at home. People staying at home had more time to join live conversations. The advantage of the audio social media platforms is that you get great attention and engagement from your listeners.
Lively and engaging conversations can help you build your brand. The knowledge you share sets you apart and informs your audience that you are an expert in your niche, thus creating trust in your brand. You can use audio social media platforms to grow your business by;
- Hosting industry panels
- Hosting interactive sessions with your audience
- Recording interviews and uploading them as podcasts
- Showcasing your business in shows
Major social media platforms such as Twitter have formats such as the Twitter Spaces that can be used as a social audio platform.
2. Video social media platforms
Video social media platforms allow you to create and watch videos in long and short formats. Popular video social media platforms include YouTube and TikTok.
As a business owner, you can use video social media platforms to capture attention by bringing products to life. They can also help drive your brand awareness. Any video content you publish should be designed to entertain and educate and inspire your target audience. You should be able to sell without making it the central theme of your videos if you are to gain anything from these platforms.
3. Discussion forums
Social media platforms designed as discussion forums provide the space to ask and answer questions, network, and form communities around interest-based topics. Such platforms include Reddit and Quora.
These social media platforms provide you a place to genuinely help your customers by sharing your expertise about your business and answering their questions related to your industry. These discussion forums allow you to share information about your business and products and help solve other users’ problems while participating in conversations.
4. Business social media platforms
Business social media platforms allow users to connect with professionals or potential clients in their industry. Popular business social media platforms are LinkedIn and Twitter.
Among the potential uses a business owner can take advantage of while using business social media platforms are;
i. Recruitment and hiring of talent
ii. Building business to business relationships
iii. Connecting with professionals in your industry
iv. Connecting with potential clients
Business social media platforms allow users to connect to new audiences and meet them where they go to do business and network. For instance, Twitter offers business owners the chance to find relevant conversations in their industries and allow them to contribute to those conversations meaningfully.
5. Inspirational social media platforms
Inspirational social media platforms allow users to search for inspirational information about anything under the sun, from cooking to traveling to decoration and many others. Pinterest, Instagram, and blogs are such platforms.
As a business owner, you can use inspirational social media platforms to share meaningful content with your audience. To capture your followers’ attention, you will have to curate visuals that inspire them. You should tailor your content to their preferences, and you can add a piece of information about your products and business brand whenever relevant. You can group your content and create themes matching your audience’s interests by using collections, tags, playlists, and guides.
Additionally, your posts should include keywords, images, and hashtags aligned with your audiences’ searches since these platforms are well-optimized for search.
6. Socializing social media platforms
Socializing social media platforms allow users to meet, interact and socialize with friends and family. Social media platforms such as Facebook allow different people from across the globe to meet and share ideas through posts.
You can take advantage of this platform as a business owner and create a business account that will allow you to post and share content relating to your business. Your posts can be used to educate your followers to add value to them. Other social media platforms earlier mentioned can also be used to socialize through their chat options, and this will allow you to engage your clients and potential clients on a one-on-one basis. Thus, helping you build trust and a loyal following.
7. Disappearing content social media platforms
Disappearing content social media platforms allow users to send brief messages privately and publish in-the-moment content that their followers can view within 24 hours of posting. Snapchat is such a platform. Other platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn have features that do the same and are called stories, i.e., Instagram stories, Facebook stories, and LinkedIn stories.
A business owner can use this by posting timely content such as announcements, live events, and limited edition items. Since the content is less polished due to its short shelf-life, it allows your followers to see a more humanly side to your business. Additional business ideas to use in disappearing content platforms include;
i. Polls and voting by using interactive stories stickers
iii. Countdowns to product launches
iv. Behind-the-scenes content
v. Time-sensitive announcements
8. Shoppable social media platforms
Shoppable social media platforms allow users to research and purchase products directly from brands through social media platforms. Such platforms include Shopify, Douyin, Taobao, among others. Other popular platforms have features that allow this too. Facebook has Facebook shops, Instagram has Instagram shops, and Pinterest has Pinterest Product pins.
As a business owner, you can take advantage of the in-built mobile-friendly features on these platforms to allow your audience to make direct purchases from you right there. The platforms will enable you to connect your product catalog to your profile when using their shopping features.
You can significantly benefit your business by using shopping social media platforms to;
i. Do limited-edition drops. You can do this by announcing a product launch on social media and then linking the product to your product catalog.
ii. Social sell. You can do this by establishing rapport with your prospective clients through existing connections.
iii. Retarget. You can do this by creating custom audiences depending on who has engaged your shops (Facebook or Instagram).
Other social media features include live streams, which broadcast live videos to many viewers. This feature found in Twitch, YouTube, Instagram live rooms, Facebook live, and TikTok can allow you as a business person to show what you do to your viewers. Livestreams offer you an opportunity to interact with your viewers, and it is essential to monitor comments and engage them.
With many social media platforms to choose from, you might think you are spoilt for choice. However, you must look into each platform and see how best you can utilize it. Making the wrong choice of social media platforms to market your business may prove fatal since you shall have invested in something that is not bringing you the expected returns. Each platform can benefit your business differently. Knowing how can be the difference between a successful social media marketing strategy and a failed one.