In my last post, I introduced a summary of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn as potential social media options for your business. In this post we’ll look at three more popular and widely used choices – Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.
Google+ is slightly more than just a social networking tool. If you have a Google account (email, analytics, YouTube, etc.), a Google+ profile helps to link all of your Google services together by acting as the main Google profile. Your Google+ user profile includes the usual details of a profile photo, about information, background, career history, etc. and also allows you to post status updates with any news that you wish to share with your ‘circles’.
Google+ itself allows you to connect with others (friends, colleagues, employers, etc.) and you can organise these connections easily into groups through Google ‘circles’. Another feature is Google+ Pages. Setting up a business page enables you to connect with fans and publish content that your target audience will be interested in.
The main benefit of setting up on Google+ is that you can establish your Google Authorship. This means that any content you have published on the Internet can be linked directly with your Google+ profile determining you as the owner and author of this content. If you publish a business blog or have any other other social media accounts, all of these can be connected to your Google+ profile which can help with your authority in publishing this content as it shows your ownership of it.
Pinterest is a visually engaging social network. It can be described as an online scrapbook (or ‘pinboard’) where you can make visual collections of things that you like. It can be used for a variety of reasons – gathering ideas for home decor, planning your next adventure holiday, creating a recipe archive, etc. Once registered as a user, (see Pinterest.com) you are able to create and share ‘boards’ (or collections) of areas you are interested in and then ‘pin’ images, videos and articles to those boards.
Seeing a need for businesses to promote themselves in a visual way, Pinterest developed Pinterest for Business. If your business brand can be promoted visually, Pinterest can be an ideal place for you to promote your products and services as part of your online content marketing strategy. You will just need to set up a business account rather than a personal one. I have seen many companies promote themselves successful via Pinterest – from Photographers to Restaurants to Interior Designers and Landscape Gardeners. You just need to think about what content and information your target audience are looking for on the web.
This is another visual social network and is one that concentrates on sharing photos and videos taken by users. Instagram is a mobile app that is freely available to smartphone users (see Instagram.com) and by creating an account you can take take photos via your mobile device, customise them with different filters and then upload them to Instagram as well as other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, etc.
Instagram is very much a real-time social network. It’s about real images, taking photos of where you are and what you’re doing right now. It’s about sharing your current time experiences with others whilst you’re in the moment. Instagram’s distinctive feature is that the photos you share are similar to Polaroid photos and are square in shape. An example for business use could be: if you run and attend events, this can be a very handy way of promoting your real-time business activity that you keeps your target audience up-to-date with your latest adventures and activities. Using real images means that you can be very creative with how you use Instagram in your business marketing.
‘What social media should I use for my business?‘ is a question that only you can truly answer, as the decision should be made by you (the business decision maker) based on a business case for the social media platform (s) that are most suitable.
Questions to ask yourself before making a decision are:
- What is your marketing approach?
- How do you want to reach your target audience?
- What social media platforms are your target audience using?
By answering these questions, you will begin to understand which social media platform is best for your business to use in your social media marketing.
My previous blog post, together with the above, outlines some of the more popular social media platforms that are available. There are many more that may be more suitable to your business. Choosing the right platform to use does not have to be difficult. You just need to research where your target audience are online. Once you’ve identified which social media platforms your target audience are using, you can then tailor your social media marketing to engage with them and to promote your business.
The main point with social media is that you have fun interacting with other users. It’s meant to be after engagement and not just self-promotion, but overall it’s meant to be social. And being social usually means having fun!