Each social media network has it’s own flavour, and it’s own norms. Let’s run down the list and apply each example to a typical business. As a web design company in Kelowna, we’re after business applications for social media marketing—not mere “I ate spaghetti” type personal updates. Let’s dive in…
Facebook is the world’s largest social network with over 1.3 billion users, and over 25 million business pages. It’s about sharing anything about your life with friends. Companies create business pages (a special type of account), and share info, news, photos, videos that they think their fans will like. It’s a very interactive (2-way) channel that encourages interactions such as Likes, Shares, and Comments. It has a decent advertising platform too. Facebook is a core account for any business to engage their customer base and reach new customers.
Twitter is a rapid, headline-only type of social media platform. Text only updates (with links to offsite content) are limited in length and updates can flow at a blistering pace. Hashtags are popular to categorize content (those odd little # symbols) to make topics easy to find. Searching twitter with a keyword hashtag brings up everyone’s updates that use the same hashtag… which is a good thing since it’s easy to get lost in Twitter land. Follow others and be followed and prepare to enter the Matrix.
Google+ is the 800lb gorilla’s version of a Facebook/Twitter type combo. It is more business focused and less cluttered though… you will follow and be followed (in what Google calls “circles”). This network is also important for business because of it’s SEO value. Posting regularly on this network and providing links back to your blog or website will trickle in additional website visitors as well as give a boost in the search engine rankings when people search for your products/services.
LinkedIn is like Facebook for business. That’s how I’ve always though of it. It’s a professional network focused on human resources, connections with colleagues and industry leaders, education, and resume enhancing features. I’ve you consider yourself in a “career”, set up a LinkedIn profile and start connecting! Apart from Facebook, I spend the most time on LinkedIn.
Pinterest is a photo sharing social media network. It’s great for collecting and organizing nice things (that make nice photos). Brands that sell nice things can gain exposure as masses of people (mostly women) pass photos around while they make dream boards of nice things. Did I mention that Pinterest is all about photos of nice things?
YouTube is a video sharing network. It’s the 2nd biggest search engine (betcha didn’t know that). Businesses can use YouTube to entertain, educate, and inform people. Interesting videos are seen thousands or even millions of times. It’s a great channel for brand exposure, and since Google owns it, YouTube has benefits for search engine optimization too.
Foursquare is a location-based/business promo app mostly used on mobile devices. People “check-in” at locations around town. Then friends or pseudo-friends see where you are and want to be there too. Whoever checks in the most becomes the “Mayor” of that place. Part game, part promotional tool, Foursquare is annoying and fun at the same time. A location-based app, focused more on reviews is Yelp. Retailers or restaurants should take a look at these.
Instagram is a photo sharing social media network that’s all about the “insta”. Unlike Pinterest, the idea is to snap photos with your phone and immediately upload them for the world’s perusal. It’s like the rapid-fire blur of Twitter but for images. Popular with hipsters, and the younger set, Instagram (bought by Facebook for $1 Billion last April) is a trendy and simple app that businesses can use to spread their coolness, assuming they have any coolness worth sharing.