How To Choose The Right Social Media Channels for Your Business
14th April 2014
Trying to figure out if social media is right for your business? Most companies aren’t sure, so we’re here to help you figure it out. In fact, our Digital Marketing in Canada research showed that only 35% of business have embraced social media and the adoption of various social media channels is scattered. We also discovered that one-fifth of businesses aren’t using any social media at all. These are startling numbers.
It’s time for a social media reality check
comScore recently reported that the top three countries (US, UK and Canada) are spending more than 34 hours per month online, and a good percentage of that is on mobile devices where social media channels are the top used apps. If that didn’t open your eyes, know this: every hour, people are spending about one-quarter of their time on a social network. That’s 15 minutes of every hour!
And it’s not just teenagers sharing selfies and random status updates anymore. Social media is quickly evolving into social selling with strong tools for B2B lead generation, such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Twitter Lead Generation Cards. Businesses are engaging with current customers, prospects, suppliers, partners and employees. If you aren’t present, you are missing the opportunity to educate your audience about your products or services when they go looking for you.
What channels are right for your business?
Part of the lack of social media adoption is the uncertainty about which one’s are the best fit for business. It’s not a one-size fits all approach. Some social media channels work better for B2C, while others are more effective for B2B. And sometimes all channels can be effective, but that depends on where your audience is searching or talking about your product or service, and what your objective is. Sounds confusing, right? Let’s break it down with a focus on these five key social media channels:
If you aren’t on LinkedIn personally and as a business, you really need to take note. LinkedIn is built for business — small, large, B2B and B2C. It’s no longer the resume channel that it used it to be. There are 240 million active users, 79% of which are 35 years or older. Conversations are happening via groups about products and services, and connections are being made with prospects through LinkedIn’s new sales tools. The growth of shareable content, publishing and enhanced profile features are putting those that are connected and active on LinkedIn ahead of their competitors. The synopsis: yes, your business needs to be on LinkedIn and so do you. Need to learn how to optimize your profile? Read our tips to getting your LinkedIn profile started.
Half a billion active users generating 5,700 tweets every second. The reach of Twitter can’t be ignored, and the importance and effectiveness of this channel for business has never been stronger. Recently launched tools for business put the power of engagement into your hands by promoting tweets, your account or even a #trend. Plus, it’s all trackable via Twitter’s analytics and can be customized to your target audience. The other benefit is the ability to get involved in conversations through hashtags and listen to what is being said about your industry. The synopsis: get your business on Twitter.
Recently celebrating its tenth anniversary, Facebook has 1 billion users worldwide and users share 2.5 billion pieces of content every day. Facebook has more of a consumer engagement focus, versus business, which is why many B2B organizations choose other social media channels to connect with prospects. If you choose to start a Facebook page for B2B, it important to post regularly and keep the content lighter, visual and story-based. Working in Facebook advertising is beneficial too, especially since it is increasingly difficult for your content to be seen in people’s feeds if you aren’t paying for it. These ads will help to drive traffic to your page and your website. The synopsis: the key to Facebook is understanding if your target customer and if your product or service is right for the audience, otherwise you might be setting yourself up for failure without even realizing it.
We’ve said a lot on this blog about the power of visuals, and Instagram is pretty much the king of visuals. There are 150 million active users, and yes, many are on for social reasons. I won’t disagree that it is a more B2C friendly social media channel, but don’t ignore the opportunities of Instagram for B2B. Consider what FedEx did with this image – an amazing and memorable way to sell their product by telling a story with just one photo. And here’s another example of B2B company with not a very exciting product, Maersk. Whoever thought shipping containers could look so impactful and would generate over 500 hearts!? If those ideas don’t do it for you, how about trying a user-generated contest tracked with a hashtag like Intel’s #workspacewednesday? The synopsis: if you can think creatively and show your brand story rather than sell your products, Instagram is the place to do it.
Slow and steady wins the race? That just might be the case for Google+ now with 400 million active users. While not everyone is +1-ing content as much as they ‘like’ or retweet, those that are active in circles have more opportunity to make an impact than on other social channels. The users tend to be more professionally focused and sharing business insights rather than social posts. You can join as a brand, which you cannot do on Facebook, and you can interact with your potential customers, influencers, and people of interest. The synopsis: if you are ready to dedicate some time to building your circles, +1-ing and sharing content and connecting with influencers, G+ is a growing opportunity for B2B. It’s much like LinkedIn, but without the ‘resume’ aspect.
YouTube gets over 4 billion views per day and it’s the second most popular search engine. Videos are shared, commented on and visible on multiple devices. People laugh, cry, learn from and respond to video better than any other media. So it’s no surprise that more than half of B2B marketers (58%) believe that video is an effective form of B2B marketing. Even the most boring B2B products or services can be explained and demonstrated creatively, and then shared on YouTube. And, it no longer costs a fortune to create a good video, insta-video or GIF. The synopsis: YouTube should be a key piece of your content and social media strategy.
Tips for social media success
So now that you have insight into the right social media channels for your business, it’s important to remember a few essentials for success. The “build it and they will come” philosophy is simply not the case, unless you’re Justin Bieber. Here are some tips:
– It’s not enough to just start posting to social channels. Start with a strategy first. Think about who your customers are, where they look for information and what social media will do for your business.
– Set up your social media channels with consistent and impactful branding, including logo, brand colours, language and tone.
– Tell your current clients, partners, suppliers, and employees that you are ‘getting social’ by sending out a creative email blast with links to your social channels.
– Create an editorial calendar aligned to your goals and messages.
– Start sharing your content on social media regularly with the right keywords and hashtags. Not sure what those may be? Use a free tool like Swayy to monitor for conversations and trends.
– Reach out, retweet, follow, like or tag influencers in your niche market, whether they be media, bloggers or prospects.
– Get your employees involved, retweeting content, sharing posts and slowly building a community of brand ambassadors.
– And lastly, don’t abandon your social media feeds! Post regularly, preferably everyday to improve engagement.