Pick your social media platform

The Big 5

If you’re creating a social media business plan, an important step is ‘platform focus’. Here you’ll decide on where to establish a presence online.

For social media newbies, the following is a breakdown of the major social networks. We’ll tell you what each one’s good and not good for. So, the big five of social media are:

1. Facebook >> the master
Why you should use it: Because it’s Facebook. Seriously though, at least half – if not most – of your present and potential customers will be on this platform. FB is about relationships: liking, commenting, and sharing. I believe that Facebook is useful for all types of businesses and almost any kind of audience.

Do: Post regularly (try a couple of times a week, at least); share interesting and/or useful content that engages people; post more than just text – include links, pictures, or videos.

Don’t: Buy likes; ignore customer messages and posts on your timeline; post anything private and not related to your business; spam your customers’ newsfeeds.

2. Twitter >> the micro-blogger
Online, shorter is better – and Twitter forces you to publish in brilliant 140-character bursts. This site is all about content; businesses, thought leaders, and news agencies can thrive on it.

Do: Tweet at least once a day, if not 3-5 times; use keywords and hashtags that are suited to your business, and that people will search for; tweet all you blog posts with a brief description and shortened URL.

Don’t: Auto DM (this can result in an immediate unfollow); tell the world about your pet rat or how you like your eggs done; tweet content without having read and understood what you shared; litter your tweets with too many hashtags and links.

3. LinkedIn >> the connector
On LinkedIn, it really is about who you know. This is the ultimate professional network, perfect for job seekers, companies, and your career in general. It’s also great for B2B interactions.

Do: Gain connections and influence by being active in groups, publishing long-form content on LinkedIn itself, and posting updates on your business’s profile.

Don’t: Be anything other than professional or treat LinkedIn like your personal FB profile; slander other people or enterprises; advocate content that doesn’t align with your company’s values and mission.

4. Pinterest >> the photographer
Food, art, and furry animals; that’s what Pinterest is about. Plus it’s mostly used by women. And it’s powerful.

Do: Pin your blog posts, but make sure you upload decent images along with them; create specific boards that accurately describe their pins; tag people/profiles and use hashtags in your pin descriptions.

Don’t: Pin without pin descriptions; upload photos that you’re not allowed to share; pin photos that won’t help your business (e.g. a picture of a hamburger, no matter how delicious it looks, serves no purpose for small law firm).

5. Google+ >> the outlier
Why would I call it that? Well, right now G+ is still very niche-like; even though it belongs to the almighty Google, people haven’t taken to it very quickly.

However: having a G+ page is crucial for your business. Although not explicitly confirmed by Google, it does help with your search engine rankings and for businesses with a physical location, you can have what’s called a ‘local business page’, with a map. What’s more, if you have a G+ profile for your business, your page qualifies to appear next to search results, known as a ‘knowledge graph’. This has great marketing potential.

Do: Have a complete profile – verify your website, get a customized URL, fill out all your details and links, and post regularly; join relevant communities, and share and interact with their posts; add influencers, partners, and customers to your circles; make use of the ‘Hangouts‘ feature.

Don’t: Spam communities with posts that aren’t relevant to them. Take it from someone who’s received a (friendly) warning and been banned from a community.

That strikethrough means that your post has been removed from the G+ community. Oh, the embarrassment!

That embarrassing strikethrough means that your post has been removed from the G+ community.

To be fair though, I didn’t post anything irrelevant or self-promotional; some communities are just very strict on their rules, so review their guidelines before you post. Note: don’t even try to do anything suspicious or spammy on G+. This is Google territory after all, and it’ll catch you.

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The above are the key players of social networks, but don’t forget about these:

  • YouTube: the video giant
  • Tumblr: headquarters of GIFs
  • Instagram: Facebook’s picture puppy
  • A blogging platform: the content king

If you’re still struggling to choose a social network, take a look at: “Developing Your Social Media Platform Focus”. This will also tell you what to do once you’ve made your choice.

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We at Have Presence can advise and plan a social media strategy for you. This includes expert assessment and a step-by-step guide for the different platforms (setting up an account, designing your profile, what to post, who to follow, etc.).

Social networks are an essential part of your online marketing strategy. To start with, get yourself on at least two of the big five. You’ll be glad you did.

As you get familiar with them, and as you update your profiles regularly and consistently with great content, the benefits for your business will start to manifest.

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