Which social channels do they use?

Which Social Media Channels Should You Use to Promote Your Business?

Social networks are considered to be a powerful arena for online marketing. They provide a direct and targeted way to communicate with the relevant audience, and they require less spending than more traditional marketing techniques.

However, with the endless tasks involved in running and improving your business ops, dividing your time between all the available networks can become counterproductive.

Before you start spreading yourself too thin, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each social network and choose the most relevant ones for you. This comparative guide will help you decide which social media channels can work best for your business.

What’s it about?

No need for introduction. Facebook is the number one network for people all over the world to connect and share content. Brands that are active on Facebook get to update their followers on exciting news, promote special deals and hold occasional online contests. They also create focused ad campaigns that target a carefully selected audience.

Facebook was designed to encourage people to interact. The “Like” and “Share” buttons are viewed more than 22 billion times a day, not only on the network itself but across millions of websites worldwide!

Who’s on board?

Only about 1.23 billion people! 945 million of which say that they access the world’s largest social network through their mobile devices. With 15.8% of all “internet-minutes” spent on Facebook, it’s clear that its users are on average more active than users of other social networks.

Sounds good. How do I get started?

The first thing is to create a Facebook Page for brands and companies. Using a personal Profile as a business presence is frowned upon, and Groups have limited functionality as marketing platforms.

After you established a great page, you need to come up with a posting plan that will best suit your target market: How many times per day should you post? Are there specific hours that yield better engagement? Does your audience react better to photos or text posts? Should you keep a formal tone or be more friendly and conversational? The answers to these questions are key to your Facebook success.

Inspiration: Wix on Facebook

What’s it about?

The strongest characteristic of Twitter as a social network lies in its 140-character tweet limit. The updates that are posted here are short and clear. While Twitter does offer visual content options, text-based posts are more dominant and often include links to external websites.

If you’re trying to reach a broad audience that’s receptive to marketing messages, Twitter might be the best bet for you. About 39% of the people who took one recent survey indicated that they’d rather hear from companies on Twitter than on any other social platform, beating out Facebook.

Who’s on board?

Twitter currently boasts around 650 million users worldwide, and their updates amount to 58 million new tweets per day. Twitter users are more likely to be active on their mobile device than on their PC, so think of it as a real “on the go” network.

Sounds good. How do I get started ?

First you need to learn some Twitter jargon and conventions – Hashtags, Retweets, Mentions, Direct Messages. These are terms that will help you understand the engagement potential.

An important thing to take into account is that the average lifespan of a tweet is extremely short, so you need to be able to post quite frequently – without, of course, spamming your audience – to increase your business’ visibility.

One of the most valuable things that Twitter offers to business owners is the ability to search for keywords that are related to them and track people’s conversations. This gives you great insights into the way your audience interacts with similar businesses and allows you to improve the content of your tweets. Use a Twitter dashboard tool like HootSuite, TweetDeck or Commun.it to set up tracking for relevant search queries and follow up on them on a daily basis.

Inspiration: Wix on Twitter

Wix on Twitter
Google Plus

What’s it about?

Google has been throwing all of its weight on Google Plus, the search giant’s social network, in an effort to compete with Facebook. While it’s been a rocky start, things now seem to be picking up on Google Plus so don’t underestimate this platform.

Since Google is running the game, gaining traction on their social network also impacts search results, and this is an incredible incentive to be active here.

Who’s on board?

Google Plus has almost 550 million active monthly users. Statistics show that the userbase here is predominantly male and that profession-wise, the biggest segments are students, tech-oriented professionals and creatives like bloggers and photographers.

Sounds good. How do I get started?

Like Facebook, Google Plus differentiates between individuals and companies. As a brand, you will be best represented with a Company Page. Google’s involvement here requires that you think of the content that you upload in terms of Search Engine Optimization. Your posts and profile description need to include rich texts with relevant keywords.

Communities are very strong on Google Plus, so a key strategy for you would be to find active communities that are related to your business and interact with them in a clever fashion. The idea is to always offer value to people and understand that participation in communities is mostly about giving. Hard selling and spamming simply don’t work on social media.

Inspiration: Wix on Google+

Wix on Google+

What’s it about?

LinkedIn rose to fame as a social platform for people in professional occupations, connecting businesses with potential partners and employees, but it also provides a hub for professional networking in many industries.

While retail and leisure businesses might fight it difficult to market themselves here, a wide variety of technology services, public management experts, self-employed creatives and consultants can actually benefit a lot from sustained activity on LinkedIn.

Who’s on board?

Because LinkedIn targets a professional user base, this network appeals to an older, well-educated and established audience. While it boasts an impressive number of users for a “niche” network (about 280 million!), about 75% of them spend 4 hours or less per week surfing the site.

Sounds good. How do I get started?

Your LinkedIn strategy depends mainly on whether you wish to promote yourself as a freelancer (in which case you should invest time in creating a powerful personal profile), or whether you want to market a business operation under a brand name (in which case you should also set up an official company page).

Here’s an updated and thorough guide to help you develop an effective marketing strategy for LinkedIn.

Inspiration: Wix on LinkedIn

Wix on LinkedIn

What’s it about?

A social network dedicated to the sharing and re-sharing of visual content, Pinterest is all about inspiration and ideas. From beautiful artworks, through stimulating recipes and all the way to DIY projects, Pinterest encourages users to appreciate aesthetics.

Many brands that have a strong visual appeal find Pinterest very useful for promoting their services and products. More than other social networks, Pinterest leads to spontaneous eCommerce shopping and is therefore of great value to online businesses.

Who’s on board?

Pinterest is an unusual network in the sense that from the 70 million users it currently has, a great chunk is made of female users. In fact, recent studies show that about a third of the women in the US are currently Pinterest users!

Another interesting tidbit about Pinners is that they are three times more likely to be active on their mobile device than on a PC.

Sounds good. How do I get started?

Pinterest allows images to speak for themselves, so the power lies in high-quality and frequently updated “pin boards” (the Pinterest equivalent to themed photo albums). Put some effort into creating alluring visual content – photography, illustrations, graphic works – anything that can help you represent your brand in a striking manner.

Inspiration: Wix on Pinterest

Wix on Pinterest

What’s it about?

More than any other social network, Instagram has become synonymous with “generation app”. This mobile-based network allows smartphone users to share their photos instantly with their contacts. It’s a visual representation of your daily life, spiked by image filters that make it look more beautiful.

Brands that use Instagram often draw major engagement by posting original and creative images. Check out a few examples of companies who do an excellent job promoting themselves on Instagram.

Who’s on board?

Instagram now has 150 million users, 70% of whom use the app on a daily basis. It’s a predominantly young network, with over 90% of users under the age of 35 (some of whom can be extremely agitating).

With Instagram now being a Facebook-owned gem, visibility of Instagram content is significantly increasing, making it even more appealing to companies and brands.

Sounds good. How do I get started?

Make sure you can keep up a steady posting pace. Do you have enough interesting visual content to maintain an active Instagram feed? If not, it’s time to get creative and get some!

To get a sense of what the Instagram community is interested in, check out the list of most popular hashtags. Integrating hashtags in your posts is an important way to attract new followers, but you’d want to use them cleverly. Hop on to the Wix Instagram page and check out some of our photos for inspirational hashtag use.

Inspiration: Wix on Instagram

Which Social Media Accounts Really Matter and Why ?

I think social media is really important. I doubt anyone would argue with me about that. But social media is also misunderstood in some ways. One of those misunderstandings is which social media sites a business or individual should be on.

If you read this article, you’re going to understand which social media sites are best for your brand or business. You won’t have to waste your time messing around on social media sites that have no ROI, and you even might do better at gaining leads on the social media sites that are perfect for your business.
A Quick Look at the Social Media Landscape

Social media isn’t a fad or trend. It’s an enduring reality of online existence. For marketers, it’s indispensable. But when you approach social media as a marketing channel, things may get a bit confusing.

Here’s why. Social media marketing includes a myriad of potential social media sites, a vast array of ways to engage, and a medley of styles for each platform. It’s more than just Facebook. You need to figure out which of the legion networks to join. Then, you need to determine optimal messages, posting frequency, cost of social media management, integration with other marketing channels, and how to make the most of the billions of people who are purportedly hanging out on social media.

To slice through the confusion, here are four questions that you should answer.
1. Where is my audience?

The primary question to ask about social media is where your audience is actually spending time. What social media outlets are they on?

A caveat is in order. Simply because you have followers doesn’t mean that you have an audience. The Next Web, reported that anywhere between 67.65 and 137.76 million Facebook accounts are fake. Simply having a bunch of followers doesn’t guarantee that you have a human audience. If you buy followers, you are almost assuredly buying fake accounts. While these fake accounts might be great for follower numbers, they don’t do much for your actual marketing.
2. Where is my audience active?

Big social media numbers doesn’t mean big activity. For example, there are over 1 billion Google users, but only 35% percent of those users were active in the past month. Twitter, too, has a lot of members with a relatively low number of active members. Of the site’s 645,750,000 signups, only a portion of those are active each month.

A social media user needs to be active on a social media site in order for them to be of any use to you.

In an infographic from Search Engine Journal, here’s how many social media users are active on their respective sites:

monthly active users social networks

(Other sites were not part of SEJ’s reporting.)

There’s a disparity between overall members on a site, and number of active members on the site.
3. Where is my audience searching?

As I’ve discussed before, people use social media for searching, not only socializing.

Every minute, people are conducting millions of queries on Google, Twitter, and Facebook. If you are active on these social media platforms, then you have a chance at appearing in social media search results.
4. What niche social media sites are right for me?

Some businesses are missing out on a deluge of warm leads, because they are absent from niche social media sites.

Someone might tell you, “OMG! You have to join this social media site! We get all our leads from it!” Okay, that’s great. But that doesn’t mean that your business needs to be there. What kind of business do they have? If they are a boutique silk scarf seller, and found a social media site for silk scarf aficionados, then they’ve obviously find the right social media site. But if you’re a SaaS business, chances are you won’t gain as many warm leads from silk scarf social media sites.

I’ve provided these four questions as a framework for determining your social media strategy. Don’t join randomly. Instead, choose intentionally, by answering the four questions.

Where is my audience?
Where is my audience active?
Where is my audience searching?
What niche social media sites are right for me?

With that in mind, let me explain the social media accounts that truly matter.
Join the Big Four

At this stage in social media, there are four sites that reign supreme. These sites are crucial, regardless of your audience, your business model, and your strategy. Join them.

Facebook has over 1.3 billion users, the largest of any social network. In its ten-year history, it has become a fixture of the daily online experience. Nearly half of all Facebook users are active each day. When they visit Facebook, they spend an average of 18 minutes per visit!

These users aren’t only browsing profile updates or viewing photos. Each Facebook user is connected to an average of 80 pages, groups, or events. That’s where you come in — your marketing efforts and Facebook presence.

Twitter is a happening place. The average user, with their 208 average followers, 307 average Tweets, and average of 170 minutes on Twitter each day, is a market segment full of potential. About half of Twitter users use it daily, and at least 29% of Twitter users are active several times a day.

Twitter isn’t as much a lead generation platform as much as it is a brand loyalty platform. For example. 85% of Twitter users “feel more connected” to a business after they follow them on Twitter. Great content from a brand on Twitter can elicit follows and retweets, but usually an existing customer will decide to follow a favorite brand.

Every second, two new people join LinkedIn. Now, with more than 270 million users, LinkedIn is a force to be reckoned with.

According to Search Engine Journal, marketers love Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. They leave out LinkedIn. But here’s the deal. LinkedIn is the platform for B2B marketing not B2C marketing.

LinkedIn proudly touts their user base of professionals. Many of those professionals are connected with companies. These companies could benefit from the extra marketing love. Don’t neglect LinkedIn, especially if you’re in B2C.

Savvy marketers labelled 2014 “The year of Google+.” At the beginning of the year, writers prophesied, “Google+ will become a major factor in social media.” Turns out, they’re right. Google+ is a game changer in the social media landscape.

When you combine Google Authorship with the world’s dominant search engine, and create a social media platform that integrates them, it’s no wonder that Google+ is turning up as a dominant form of online social interaction. Google+ has also found a sweet spot in social collaboration through Hangouts.

Clearly, Google+ is not a social network to be forgotten or summarily dismissed as “just another social network.” It’s a powerful algorithmic factor as well as a large audience forum.

Unfortunately, many companies have been slow to adopt Google+. I’ve seen dozens of companies who lament “no ROI!” from social media, and I look at their Google+ profile. It looks like this:

empty google plus profile

Their problem isn’t lack of audience or zero ROI, but lack of the company’s own activity on Google+. The above profile features default images, incomplete information, and no network curation.

Those are the big four. Whatever you’re selling, doing, being, or saying, these are the four social media accounts you need to keep active.
Consider the Lesser Three

These are called “the lesser three” (my term) only because they’re not part of the big four. These social media sites are huge, and I strongly encourage you to be present on them as well as the big four.

According to a study earlier this year, Pinterest officially became a more popular sharing platform than email. Pinterest has the highest revenue per click of any other social sharing network.

Early in its life, Pinterest got labelled as a social platform for women. At first, that was true. But now, women account for about half of Pinterest pinners, which isn’t much different from the gender slant on other social media sites. Pinterest is a place to be for any gender, any company, and any brand.

I’ve found that Instagram is a powerful way for promoting both one’s personal brand and a business, too. In spite of my not-so-often posting, I discovered that liking and commenting on other photos is a powerful way to grow a massive following.

neil patel instagram

Instagram is a visual platform. We already know that pictures get 5x higher engagement on Twitter, and photos make up 93% of the most engaging Facebook posts. With Instagram, it’s all photos and video. That kind of visceral appeal is one of the reasons for Instagram’s massive popularity. Throw video into the mix, and you’ve got a social media channel that is basically addicting. Visual content in social media is electric.

Some social media marketers have argued that Instagram only serves the purposes of image-heavy brand content for companies like National Geographic. Sure, National Geographic’s Instagram channel is killer, and they have a strong 4.8 million followers.

national geographic on instagram

However, I would argue that Instagram is effective for nearly any type of business. I’ve seen successful fitness coaches, book sellers, conference speakers, coders, video game designers, SEO companies, and accountants make a dent in the Instagram universe.

YouTube has the distinguished position of being the second largest search engine in the world. That’s no small feat, considering that Bing and Yahoo have been vying (unsuccessfully) for that position. YouTube did it without even trying.

But, despite their modest pretensions to massive search, YouTube is a hit when it comes to video watching. Obviously. In fact, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults than any cable network.

Some brands lend themselves to video virality more than others, but any brand can post videos. A video doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy in order to be effective in brand promotion. It needs to be on YouTube.
Check out Two of the Little Ones

My word “little” needs a bit of a disclaimer. These social media sites are massive. However, as social media marketing platforms, their benefit comes in their niche sub communities for people of a shared interest. On Facebook, you might socialize with people whom you went to school with — friends from past and present. On Tumblr, however, you might interact with people who share your interest in, say, aerial photography drones. In that sense, your audience might be smaller, but more focused.