Social media is an ever-growing landscape. But which social media channel is right for your business?
What began with rather humble, unnavigable beginnings, has blossomed into a slick, prolific and, most importantly, powerful source of information for consumers.
Which collaboration tool is right for my business?
A study by Deloitte found that nearly one in three US consumers are influenced by social media in their purchases. Its influence is no laughing matter, what started off as a way for old friends to reunite, littered with cat videos, is now a force to be reckoned with.
However, when it comes to social media there is no ‘one size fits all’. Not every social media channel will be appropriate for your business. Before diving head first into the world of content, tweets and videos, it’s important to step back, review your goals and create a social media strategy.
Be sure to establish your goals
Much the same with any project; before you begin, you must first map out what you’re trying to achieve. This is arguably the most important step in the entire process. A project with nothing to achieve is not really a project at all. Goals set a precedent and driving force for your workforce to work towards.
Keep in mind the overall company goals. There’s no use setting out your social media aims if they don’t align with what the entire business is trying to achieve. As Patrick Lencioni neatly put it:
Not finance. Not strategy. Not technology. It is teamwork that remains the ultimate competitive advantage. If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industry, in any market, against any competition, at any time.
Consider the bigger picture. What are the company’s top-level goals? For example, maybe your company’s goal is to expand into a new market segment. There’s a whole host of ways social media can inject your brand into this new market space. Influencers are a valuable source of marketing penetration potential – the clue is in the name: influencers.
70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions. An influencer marketing survey conducted by Collective Bias involving 14,000 respondents in US, reveals this statistic.
In order to prove the worth of social media to board members, you need to demonstrate how the platform can support company-wide initiatives.
What channel is right for your business?
Now you know what you would like to achieve with your social strategy, it’s time to decide upon which channel is most appropriate. There is a plethora of platforms available to use, however each one has different strengths and weaknesses.
Facebook is the original platform; the legacy channel. It is the most visited website of all websites on the internet. One of the main attractions that draws businesses, both B2B and B2C, to the site is the number of users. There are more than one billion active users on Facebook. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘B’.
Tip: Bear in mind, users are mainly on Facebook to connect with their friends and aren’t there for a business context, so Facebook is largely used by B2C companies and not B2B. However, there is no harm if you are a B2B company having a presence on there.
- Brand awareness: as previously mentioned, Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms out there. The potential reach is ginormous. But not all of these users will be relevant.
- Drive website traffic: you can drive traffic to your website by attaching links to posts, upload regular content with links to blogs.
- Targeted advertising: with Facebook advertising, you can target extremely specific groups of people. You can specify everything from age, gender, location to job title and interests.
- Customer service and feedback: Facebook opens up the channels to allow instant two-way communication between brands and the end user. The private messaging service is a great resource for taking complaints off the public domain.
- Time and resources: the running of a Facebook page, as with all social media channels, needs a lot of work and time put into it. It needs to be updated regularly with fresh content to compete with the mountain of other content available on the platform.
- Budget: if you’d like to take advantage of the targeted advertising, a proper budget needs to be in place. Keep this in mind when creating your strategy.
- Negative feedback: as with a lot of social media platforms, there is always the risk of public negative feedback. It could be argued, however, that Facebook is more liable for this due to the various ‘reactions’ users can employ on posts.
Which collaboration tool is right for my business?
Twitter is the instantaneous stream of consciousness. A space where the political, the humorous, the newsworthy and the viral content all make up its patchwork quilt. With 330 million monthly active users, it can be manipulated to achieve your company goals.
Tip: Twitter is a unique platform as it sees success from both B2B and B2C organizations. Jump on hashtags that are relevant to your industry and scope out pertinent events where you can ride the conversation wave.
- #Hashtags: use relevant hashtags to reach audiences and grow your brand.
- Brand identity: due to the conversational tone of Twitter, it’s a great opportunity to express a bit more personality of your brand. Communicate your ethos, really humanize the organization.
- Cost: there’s no cost to set up a business account with Twitter. There is the option to have paid ads, however the most viral-worthy content usually gains traction at no cost.
- Time sensitive: Twitter is the most time sensitive of all the platforms, every second 6,000 tweets are sent. This means it can be easy to get lost in the noise; be sure to time your tweets effectively.
- Limitations: tweets are restricted to 280 characters so be sure to make your messages snappy and concise.
With more than 500 million members, LinkedIn’s reach is relatively smaller. But don’t be put off by its potential benefits. The majority of those members are there for business context, so the quality of its reach is certainly potent, especially for B2B organizations.
Tip: LinkedIn might not be the most appropriate for B2C channels unless it’s for recruitment purposes. However, for B2B organizations, this is where their strategies can really come to the forefront.
- Cost-effective networking: get your workforce to build their network of people at no extra cost.
- Share industry expertise: due to the professional nature of LinkedIn, it offers a platform to share specific information pertaining to your sector of expertise.
- News updates: LinkedIn organizes content and categorizes it into relevant industries to keep you updates on upcoming trends or big ideas.
- Spam: spam is rather prolific on the platform. You will no doubt receive quite a few spam messages. Be sure to take time filtering this out.
- Not real time: due to the algorithm of LinkedIn a lot of the posts don’t happen in real time. Sometimes, a post that appears at the top of a page will have been sent a few days ago.
Social media can be a real asset to any business. However, it all depends on the way that it’s used. Be sure to take time to consider which social platform will reap the most benefits for your organization, and you will be halfway there to establishing a true voice of authority for your brand that end users can get behind.