In the last ten years, social media platforms have seen an exponential growth. This is partly due to the increase in popularity of smart devices. People carry their smartphones and tablets everywhere, and can easily access their social media accounts on the go and from anywhere. In other words, more and more people are logging into social media sites constantly. There are now more than 2 billion active social media users worldwide, and we see a sharp growth of 25% to 30% each year.
Businesses haven’t failed to notice the roaring expansion of social media. 9 out of 10 U.S. companies are now active on social networks. Business that are on social media are also reporting increased exposure and better engagement, and more than half say their social media efforts are boosting sales and increasing revenue.
So as a business owner or marketer, what are the top social media sites that you need to get on and start using. Here is a list of the top five social media sites of the future according to the world economic forum:
The largest social media site, with well over a billion users, it is still the top runner when it comes to social media. While it remains a popular application to update friends on your activities, the network has also become a significant news source. No doubt that business can benefit from having a strong presence, the true value comes in understanding what people are talking about and sharing with their networks.
A big name in photo edits and sharing, Instagram allows users to take photos and alter them using numerous pre-installed filters before sharing them online. A rapidly-growing platform with an estimated 500 million active users. As the focus is on images, it’s especially useful if you are reaching a younger audience who responds to photos, graphics, memes, and short videos. If you want to succeed with Instagram, it’s important that you have a good eye for detail and have at least basic photography skills.
Pinterest has over 60 million active users and is a very powerful image-based social media website. The main competitor is Instagram, Pinterest is a photo collection and sharing network which allows users to upload their own photos or “pin” others into various collections or “boards’ on the network. The majority of Pinterest users are female, which is important to keep in mind for marketing purposes.
Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is THE premier B2B social networking site. LinkedIn is a social network aimed at professionals and businesses, and in addition to updates allows users to create content such as articles. In addition to being able to reach out to others in your industry, you can purchase paid posts and participate in groups.
Twitter has some unique advantages, such as the ability to connect with influencers and to build a following fairly quickly. With Twitter, you can share short (140 or fewer characters) text updates, along with videos, images, links, polls and more. Unlike Facebook, which uses a complex algorithm to show users content, Twitter updates chronologically. This is another site that everyone in digital media should be using.
It is a juggling act maintaining a successful business while learning about all the necessary marketing updates, trends and tricks.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the most recent and popular tools, strategies and content that might help with your online marketing efforts.
Video and Broadcasting
This is one of the most important and current tools for your business: video or video broadcasts.
Youtube is definitely the most important video tool and you MUST learn it and use it as well as optimize it in order to be found on search results. Since it’s a Google product, you have double the opportunity to be picked up by search engines.
While YouTube is the ruler of video, Periscope and Meerkat are a close second and have become some of the most useful apps for quick updates. Not only convenient for on-the-go business owner, but also connected and streamlined with Twitter and Youtube!
They allow you to live broadcast updates, usually announced via Twitter or through the app infrastructure.
The Power of Personality and Emotion
It’s important to keep in mind that most of your viewers, no matter their demographic makeup, tend to interact with content that speaks to them on an emotional level as well as content that conveys an opinion or personality.
Therefore it’s important to generate creative, emotive and personal updates throughout your social networks and blog/video updates:
• Quotes that relate to your industry
• Inspirational, how-to and quick guides with images
• Polls and contests that can be posted throughout your social networks
• Asking for feedback on products and services
• Featuring employees and other staff
Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags
What are hashtags, exactly? This is a question many of my clients have asked me before. For practical purposes, I’ll go over a quick list of what I consider hashtags to be in the Online Marketing Sphere:
– Searchable keywords
– Trend representations
– Mood manifestations
– Current events and news updates.
They can be used on basically all social networks with the following format: keyword +hashtag. You want your keyword to represent the subject you’re talking about.
While many make valuable connections by using 10+ hashtags, I highly recommend using only
3-5 max. Why? I think it feels a little spammy otherwise.
Tune into Live Events
This goes hand-in-hand with using hashtags.
Twitter and Facebook are great platforms to use when commenting on live or current events. Are you attending an industry conference? Why not research the event page for a hashtag of think of a relevant one like #DenverPharmaConf2015 or #AustingComicCon2015 (capitalizing isn’t necessary, but I always recommend it).
Most sponsors or event organizations will include a hashtag on their promotional materials.
Want to take it one step forward? Take photos of the conference along with a little opinion or blurb about key points or favorite subjects along with the hashtag.
Leveraging the Power of Relevant Networks
Many businesses are quick to adopt the Social Media basics. Not knowing much about them, their real purpose and whether or not they’re relevant to their industry.
While most eCommerce businesses can greatly benefit from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, they might not necessarily find it profitable to invest much time and energy on LinkedIn. Same goes with a law firm, that might actually greatly engage on platforms like LinkedIn provide valuable content updates about the latest employee insurance changes.
Consulting with a Online Marketing expert might help making this decision easier as well as helping small business owners create a laser-focused content strategy incorporating the most essential and profitable networks.
It’s important for your business to have a personality ‘behind curtains’ in order to relate to potential clients or customers. By using the most relevant and up-to date tools as well as creating engaging and targeted content, you can reach many more potential leads and continue building your online engagement.