Social Media Choices

The concepts behind social media networking is not anything new, we have always been looking for ways to connect, engage and network with one another but they have taken on an entirely new meaning as well as momentum in the digital age. Where we used to have handshakes, word-of-mouth referrals, and stamped letters, todays relationships are often begun and developed on LinkedIn, Google +, and Facebook.

That means savvy business owners have to know and use a variety of social platforms to stay relevant and up to date, not to mention take advantage of emerging opportunities. Below, you will find what I consider to be some the most important channels and tools you need to be aware of.

1.Twitter Twitter. Perhaps the simplest of all social media platforms, Twitter also just happens to be one of the most fun and interesting. Messages are limited to 140 characters or less, but that’s more than enough to post a link, share an image, or even trade thoughts with friends ect. Twitters interface is easy to learn and use, and setting up a new profile only takes a few minutes.

2.Facebook Facebook. Considered to be synonymous with “social media” by some, Facebook is the one site where you’re likely to find friends, colleagues, and relatives all floating around. Although Facebook is mainly centered around sharing photos, links, and quick thoughts of a personal nature, individuals can also show their support to brands or organisations by becoming fans.

3.LinkedIn LinkedIn. One of the only mainstream social media sites that’s actually geared towards business, LinkedIn is to cyberspace what networking groups once were to local business communities. It is great for meeting customers, getting in touch with vendors, recruiting new employees, and keeping up with the latest in business or industry news. If it matters to your company or career, you can probably do it on LinkedIn.

4. Image result for xing icon imageXing. Another professional networking and recruitment site, Xing has the global presence and focus that LinkedIn lacks. Although it can be mistaken for a job search portal, the site actually has a number of features and communities that make it easy to develop relationships with suppliers, colleagues and even thought leaders within industry.

5. imagesRenren. Literally translating into “everyone’s website,” Renren is China’s largest social platform. Hugely popular with the younger crowd, it works in a way similar to Facebook, allowing users to share quick thoughts, update their moods, connect with others, and add posts or ideas to a blog-like stream.

6. Google+Google+. Social media’s big up-and-comer has really arrived over the past few years. By combining the best of Facebook and Twitter into one site – and backing it by the power of the world’s largest search engine, Google has given users a social site that has a little something for everyone. You can add new content, highlight topics with hashtags, and even separate contacts into circles. And, a G+ profile only takes a few minutes to get set up.

7. Disqus. Disqus isn’t actually a social media platform so much as a social engagement platform, but it can definitely help you improve your social engagement. As a tool for commenting, managing feedback on your own website (or other Disqus-enabled websites), and managing spam/troll type messages, it’s invaluable. Advanced features allow for social monitoring and upvoting.

8. LinkedIn Pulse. Even though Pulse is technically a part of LinkedIn, it’s big and important enough to deserve its own entry. Serving as something between a blog and “best of” outlet, it’s the perfect medium sharing new ideas and keeping up on the thought leaders in your industry.

9. Snapchat. This surprisingly-addictive app gives you the ability to take a picture, add art and text if you’d like, and then send it to recipients for a set amount of time (after which the photo will delete itself and be removed from the company’s servers). Lots of fun, and potentially a good way to stay in touch with friends.

10. TumblrTumblr. This platform is different form many others in that it essentially hosts microblogs for its users. Individuals and companies, in turn, can fill their blogs with multimedia (like images and short video clips). The fast-paced nature of Tumblr makes it ideal for memes, GIF’s, and other forms of fun or viral content.

 

11.Pinterest Pinterest. Serving as a giant virtual idea and inspiration board, Pinterest has made a huge impact on social media in the last few years. Especially popular with women and the do-it-yourself crowd, it lets you share pictures, creative thoughts, or (especially) before-and-after pictures of projects that others can pin, save, or duplicate.

 

12. Twoo. This Belgian social network site is geared for the 25 and under crowd all over the world. Alongside normal social features like posts, updates, and photo sharing, it also boasts online games and chat features that make it popular with younger users who want to stay entertained while connecting with each other.

13. MyMFB. Created as a Muslim alternative to Facebook (it was previously called MillatFacebook), this site aims to connect the faith’s 1.5+ billion followers into a single social platform. While that might sound ambitious, it’s growing quickly and offers many of the same post, update, and sharing features as the original Facebook, and is already immensely popular in some parts of the world.

14. YouTube. As a video sharing service, YouTube has become so popular that its catalog of billions and billions of videos has become known as “the world’s second-largest search engine” in some circles. The site has everything from first-person product reviews to promotional clips and “how-two” instruction on virtually any topic or discipline. Users have the ability to share, rate, and comment on what they see.

15.Instagram Instagram. If you’re looking for a quick, convenient connection between the camera feature on your smart phone and all your social profiles, then Instagram is the answer. Not only will allow you to share via Twitter, Facebook, and the Instagram website, you can choose from a variety of photo filters and invite friends to comment on your photos or ideas.

16.Vine Vine. This site (also available as an app) offers users the chance to share and view brief video clips. While that theoretically offers a virtually endless range of uses, most of Vine’s content is entertainment-focused, with a heavy preference towards “viral” and “meme” clips that are easy to share.

17. WhatsApp. The WhatsApp concept is simple: send text-style messages to anyone else using the platform, but without paying data charges. That straightforward idea has already gathered more than 700 million fans, making the app the world’s most popular messaging platform.

18. VKontaktevk.com. Promoting itself as Europe’s largest social media site, vk.com is essentially the Russian version of Facebook, with the same kinds of profiles, messaging, and games you would expect. Like Facebook, vk.com allows users to enter both personal and professional information about themselves, and to follow or show support for organizations and businesses.

19. Meetup. Meetup is a perfectly-named platform, because it’s perfect for organizing local groups around specific interests. There are meetups centered on just about everything, from music to hobbies, and get-togethers are almost always open to newcomers. That makes it perfect for exploring an interest and making new friends at the same time.

20. Medium. If you’ve ever wished that social engagement could come with an ongoing, up- to-date “how to” manual written by the experts, Medium might be just what you’re looking for. With lots of helpful advice, tips, and articles, it can give you everything you need to start connecting like a pro.

Do You Make These Social Media Mistakes

Today 90% of businesses use social media, of those that do many make these social media mistakes which can be costly to the growth of your business or brand.

imagesBut, simply opening an account or sending out some tweets and liking the odd thing here and there is not enough to make social media platforms a viable and profitable part of a marketing strategy. By avoiding some basic mistakes, many businesses have the ability to increase ROI and create more opportunities from social media accounts.

 

Listed below are 14 social media mistakes to avoid.

1. Not having a strategy

Less than 20% of businesses say that their social media strategy is mature. Social media users are inundated with information and messages every second of the day. Businesses that don’t have a strategy won’t ever cut through the clutter and deliver an effective message to their target audience. Creating a strategy includes having distinct and measurable goals, developing a clear social media policy, thinking through a brand’s social media voice, and planning out a content calendar with end goals in mind.

Without a clear strategy, businesses could create the best content on the web, but receive little to no engagement.

2. Not integrating with other digital assets

Social media works best when integrated with other digital marketing efforts. One mistake many businesses make is to leave their social media accounts on islands. Not only should the accounts be linked together through profiles, but they should also be directly tied to websites, emails and paid search advertising campaigns. Not connecting these accounts reduces the amount of reach each asset has separately.

3. Not using images

Images on twitter cause tweets to take up more space on the feed and help drive engagement. Tweets that include an image have 200 percent more engagement than tweets without images. While an image may not be appropriate for every tweet, businesses should include one whenever possible to help draw attention to their message.

4. Not providing content users demand

Many businesses decide to use Instagram as another way to push static ads that could be posted on any other platform. However, Instagram is best used when businesses give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at what is going on and give insight into the personality of the brand. Instead of posting a touched up photo destined for the pages of a magazine, businesses should use Instagram to send out a picture of the photo shoot, the models laughing, the chefs cooking, or the crew eating some pizza around a big table. Businesses can stay on message and keep a consistent digital voice while still allowing followers to feel personally connected, which in turn fosters more sharing and increased followers.

5. Not using a consistent voice

A business’ Twitter account should be used for business, not personal anecdotes. While unique, funny and chatty messages can make a Twitter account seem more “human,” getting into arguments, insulting other brands or using it to advance the unrelated interests of executives pushes the platform off-message and can create backlash. Brands shouldn’t have their Twitter account act and sound like a robot either. Repeatedly sending out the same messages can create ill will from consumers as well. The key is to find a happy middle ground where the brand’s voice is consistent, caring and human at the same time.

6. Not utilising images or using the wrong size image

Visual stimulation helps drive engagement on social networks. In fact, 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than plain text according to Zabisco. On average, photos get 50 percent more impressions than any other post type on Facebook, while also gathering more likes and comments according to a study by Roost. To optimize images on Facebook, businesses should make sure to use the correct image size, which varies depending on where the image is going to be used. For the average post, that means uploading a 1,200 x 1,200 pixel image, while Facebook ads have different guidelines businesses should follow to drive the most potential engagement.

7. Not removing the URL from a post

When you put a link in a Facebook update, the social networking site automatically creates a clickable image that also works as a link. Because of this, businesses don’t need to include the URL in the post. While having the extra link doesn’t hurt anything, it does show to some users that the business doesn’t understand the capabilities and features of Facebook, so it’s best to delete the extra URL.

8. Not interacting with followers

Social media is meant to be interactive and consumers expect a certain amount of responsiveness from businesses on Facebook. Responding to posts, thanking consumers for commenting and addressing complaints helps consumers feel more connected to the brand. Businesses should have a strategy in place to respond to comments, both negative and positive, and how to use the social media platform as a part of a crisis management strategy. Not every comment needs a response, but responding to followers helps build camaraderie and trust between brands and consumers, which can affect future sales and word of mouth marketing.

9. Not using the platform at all

Google Plus may be the most underutilized social media platform today. It is directly integrated with Google search results, making profiles an integral part of any digital marketing or search engine optimization strategy.

10. Not utilising circles or communities

Circles on Google Plus allow businesses to segment followers into groups and address each segment separately with unique content. If circles aren’t utilized, each piece of content goes to every single follower. To increase conversion rates and engagement, instead of pushing content to everyone, businesses should create content that appeals to specific audiences and then post that content to the applicable circles and communities.

11. Not including descriptions or prices

Pinning images to Pinterest is simply not enough if businesses want to use the social media site to drive traffic and increase sales. Despite easy access, many businesses are forgoing the use of rich pins, which include a thorough description of the item and the price. Descriptions should use terms that people search for and be as descriptive as possible and including the price entices pinners to click the link. In fact, a study from Shopify found that rich pins with prices get 36 percent more likes and repins than regular pins.

12. Not using active images

Pinterest is all about visual stimulation, but many businesses are using static and uninspiring images to portray products. Instead, businesses should use colorful images that show the products in action. For example, instead of a picture of a sweater on a table, use an image of someone wearing the sweater doing something fun. Curalate looked at a half million Pinterest images and found that factors like color, white space and even the inclusion of faces make a difference in terms of engagement.

13. Not linking to product page

Businesses should strive to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to go from browsing Pinterest to buying a product. To do that, businesses should link directly to product pages instead of home pages or other non-related content. The more links and moves a consumer has to make before buying a product, the less likely they are to make a final purchase.

14. Not using hashtags effectively

imagesThere is no limit to the number of hashtags a business can attach to a post and for some that freedom has led to an overuse of this normally effective outreach tool. Hashtags allow people to filter through the millions of posts every day, and it’s very tempting for businesses to try and wedge their way into conversations where they don’t organically belong by using hashtags. But, just like traditional marketing outlets such as email, traditional mail and phone calls, spam can turn off consumers. Instead, businesses should only use hashtags that directly apply to the post or the company.

 

 

In Conclusion

Brands should strive to create their own social media voice, while also attempting to optimise their social media efforts by avoiding the common pitfalls listed above. Social media has the ability to be an effective and cost controlled method for reaching out to potential consumers, engaging with current fans and helping increase sales. Just like any other marketing strategy, social media efforts should be continually monitored and updated for full effect.