Most people realize that in order to be competitive in any industry today, it is imperative for businesses to have a website, (and a good one at that). Having an online presence not only helps make your brand more recognizable, but establishes legitimacy and, in turn, trust. Likewise, having a strong social media presence has become an essential component to any good marketing strategy. A study conducted by Andriot Digital shows that 60% of Millennials are influenced by social media in how they, “perceive and value a brand”. That’s a statistic you can’t afford to ignore. In fact, social media ranked only second to television, with a difference of only 10%. If your business isn’t utilizing social media, you’re missing out on an effective advertising opportunity. So where should you start?
I recommend joining at least 3 social networks. Facebook still ranks as the most popular, so you definitely want start by setting up a Facebook Page for your company. YouTube now ranks as the second most widely used network, but unless you have videos to share on a regular basis, you’ll want to focus your efforts on either Twitter or Google+. They seem to be running neck and neck, and since some believe Google+ could be on the decline, I suggest Twitter. Twitter has become widely held as being quick, (140 character max posts), and easy to use, and is of course associated with the use, (though not invention), of hashtags.
Perhaps on the less casual side of the spectrum, LinkedIn is the top professional social network. LinkedIn is used by companies looking to hire, as well as professionals looking to network. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where it’s most beneficial to have a company profile, it is a personal profile on LinkedIn that will benefit you the most. You can create a company page on LinkedIn as well, but having a personal profile makes your company more relatable, more human, and easier for people to trust. In their article on building trust through social media, Forbes cites an eMarketer report, stating that, “…77% of buyers said they are more likely to buy from a company if the CEO uses social media, and 82% trust the company more.”
If you want to go with a fourth option, and have any kind of visual product to showcase, Instagram and Pinterest are great for sharing images with your current and prospective clients. They are fairly equal in popularity, and will more or less achieve the same results. Either network will allow you to present images across an extensive network of people. The human eye is drawn to pictures, and images can be very compelling. So whether you’re a retail business, a photographer, a baker, or a landscaper, if you have pictures to share, don’t miss out on the opportunity to do so via social media.
There are certainly other options out there as well, and depending on the industry you're in, some will be more beneficial to you than others. Starting with the most popular networks, as listed above, will put you on the right track. In next week's post, I'll discuss how to leverage your new social media accounts to effectively drive traffic to your website.
Which social media networks are you currently using to promote your business? Do you find that one stands out among the rest as far as producing desired results? Let me know in the comments below. And remember to Like, Tweet, and Connect with me!