When social media sites started popping up about two decades ago, no one really expected these new kinds of forums to explode in the way they have. Over the years social media has evolved into so much more than just a way for friends to connect with each other. From early on there were businesses that took note of the possibilities that social media offered and used it to their advantage, paving the way for content marketers today. As time has gone on, social media has established itself as the main source of communication between the public and businesses around the world. Follow along as we take a walk down memory lane for each platform, looking back on how it has changed the game for businesses and marked its permanency in social media marketing.
When Twitter first hit the online scene, it was a way for people to share concise messages with groups of people in their following. These posts contained a maximum of 140 characters, taking after the SMS limits of text messaging. When it came to professional and business use, it was a free-for-all in the beginning in regard to growing a following. The number of followers you had was more of a measurement of your business’s success on the platform than the number of people who actually engaged with what you were saying. The more people you had following you, the more people would see your messages – or that was the hope anyway.
Of course, now we know better. A high number of followers does not necessarily equal a greater engagement with those followers. Today, it is more important to have a quality following of people who you can engage with and who engage back. If that means that your number of followers is smaller than some business down the road, that’s ok. You are not competing for the most fans, you are competing for the quality of those fans. You can have a million followers, but that doesn’t matter if they ignore and scroll past what you have to say.
Here’s some advice on how to use Twitter in today’s business landscape:
- Post brief, digestible content. While it may seem difficult at first to stay within the current character limit (280 characters), it forces you to create very focused content that your audience can engage with quickly.
- Identify your audience. This is a key step to developing your social media strategy and getting your content in front of the right people.
- Engage with your audience. The simple, easy-to-use format of Twitter makes it easy to quickly communicate with your target audience. This goes a long way toward creating a personal relationship with your followers.
Facebook continues to be one of the most popular social media sites there is. Started as a way for college students to connect with one another, it didn’t take long for the platform to take on a life of its own and spread like wildfire across the world. For years businesses have been using this site as a free way to connect with their customers, to gain insight into what their audience wants and as a way communicate.
In the early days of Facebook for business there were no paid advertising or mobile apps to use. There wasn’t even a newsfeed – just a “Wall” where you could share updates and friends could post stickers! Over the decades businesses have had to adapt to the changing platform to compete and gain new followers. Some of these changes include paying to boost posts to make them more visible to a higher percentage of audiences, buying advertising and allowing people to see a company’s response time. While a business can take part in boosting their posts and buying advertising, it is completely optional, perfect for businesses that do not have the budget for a lot of advertising.
When using Facebook for business here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Share useful content. Think about the needs of your audience and what they would like to see.
- Schedule posts. Using scheduling tools will allow you to post at the same time every day when your desired audience is online and active.
- Gather insights. Your audience is vital to letting you know what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to ask what types of content they want or need and pay attention to what they are saying.
- Update your profile. Don’t forget to update your profile often to keep it fresh and engaging.
While YouTube is a highly trafficked website full of short videos, movies, vlogs and other visual elements, it is probably one of the least utilized platforms for marketing. YouTube has evolved from a small site with homegrown quirky videos to the second largest social media platform with its own brand of celebrities getting millions of hits per day. The basic structure of the platform is that users upload their videos to their channel for people to view. Viewers can subscribe to a company’s channels to get notifications when new videos are ready to view.
With the amazing power of video content in business’s marketing strategies, YouTube continues to grow. The high traffic volume and low content saturation makes the platform ripe for the picking when it comes to building brand recognition and a good following.
Some key advice to remember when working on YouTube are:
- Define your audience. Like all other social platforms, it is vital to know who you are trying to get your message to.
- Define your message. What do you want to show your audience with your video? Do you want to share a special tip? Demonstrate how to use your product? Answer common questions customers often have? Answer these questions to define what you want to say.
- Define your video. Don’t settle for a subpar recording and don’t overdo the graphics. Keep it simple and professional. A great video will get the views you are looking for. An inexpensive tripod and a good smart phone camera are really all you need to start creating quality video for your business’s YouTube channel.
Instagram came at time when businesses were starting to see the potential in social media and how they could use it to their advantage. The basic premise of the social outlet is to take photos or videos with your smart phone and share them on the site with a caption and hashtags for people to like and comment on. The fact that you must use the platform’s app on your phone until recently to take part. However, it hasn’t been impossible, and many companies have figured out how to use the site to their benefit, capturing the attention of their desired audience. Many companies use Instagram to share pictures of their products, inspirational quotes, tips and tricks and other pieces of information in the form of pictures and graphics.
With the large number of business tools currently available to use on Instagram, we are sure to see it continue to grow as a tool for marketing.
If you would like to use Instagram for your business follow these key tips:
- Create stories. Utilizing Instagram stories is a way to garner engagement with your followers and potential customers. These photos and videos are typically only viewable for 24 hours, but users do have the option to make the story permanent if it performs well.
- Utilize live features. Instagram live features allow you to broadcast to your audience in real-time. You can answer questions, talk about your business, promote a product or even go beyond the scenes of your company.
- Create reels. Reels are newer to Instagram than stories and are currently prioritized in the algorithm. These short-form videos can be up to 60 seconds long and are a very beneficial marketing strategy.
- Use the collaborator tool. In a new update, users are now able to post content and make others co-authors. This allows the content to be shared to the co-author’s feed, getting the exposure of the other’s audience, likes and comments.
The common point between all the other social media platforms is that they were started as a way for people to connect and share with one another. Pinterest is no different. When the site was first started, a person could join only if they were invited, giving it an air of exclusivity that was not found on the other sites. Its online pin board became the go-to spot for discovering new recipes, design inspiration, DIY and craft projects and so much more that users could save and come back to later.
Businesses took notice of the chance to share their products and ideas with their customers and started creating their own pages and pins for their desired audience. Later came the introduction of promoted pins that appear on a pinner’s wall. Industries such as retail, fashion, interior design and food have had great success on Pinterest’s social platform.
These are a few helpful tips to help you use Pinterest for your business:
- Choose light over dark images. Remember, one of the first things noticed on a pin is the photo. Ensure that the image you use is going to capture attention and is high quality. Images that are light instead of dark are repined more often than darker images.
- Put thought into your descriptions. While the image will be the most important part of a pin, the description cannot be overlooked. This 150-300-word description is what will help users to click and is also an opportunity to add keywords.
- Include links. Adding a link to your descriptions will increase clicks to your site. It also shows users where they can access your information outside of Pinterest.
Even though the very first social media platform was started many years ago, the world of social media marketing continues to grow. Knowing how each platform started and how they have evolved in such a short period of time puts into perspective the amazing rate of growth these outlets have had. The possibilities are limitless on the ways businesses continue to grow with them.
Do You Need Help With Your Business’s Social Media Marketing?
Whether your business is just getting started or has been established for some time, participating in at least one social media platform is key to communicating with your customers and establishing brand awareness and name recognition. Luckily, this is what Three Girls Media specializes in. Contact us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your business’s goals. Our experienced team is ready to help!
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