Social Media for Business

Social media is a great way for both small and large businesses to extend their marketing reach. It’s free to use and paid advertising options allow you to target sectors of the marketplace previously thought unavailable.

Not every platform, however, will be right for every type of business and one mistake many small businesses make is to spread their resources too thinly across a range of channels –  you do not need to create a presence everywhere. Read on to discover which platforms will be best for your business.

What are the best social media apps for businesses?

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Facebook – at time of writing – is the largest, and arguably most recognizable of all the platforms. With over 1.5 billion active users, you will be able to find an audience regardless of your niche. The primary role of Facebook is to connect families and friends, however, it also makes it easy for businesses to connect with a wider audience.

Set up a business page and from there you will be able to share images, text, and video; talk about your products and services; target specific demographics through Facebook advertising, and much more. Interaction is key on Facebook and if you provide content your audience loves it’s a great way to build brand recognition.

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One of two almost purely visual platforms, Instagram is centered around the posting and sharing of images and videos, which enables brands to be quite creative in their marketing due the restrictions on the size of image and length of the video. Owned by Facebook, the platform is fast approaching half a billion active users and the majority of these concentrate largely on uploading lifestyle images, posting about fashion, food, and travel. However, that’s not to say that other industries can’t make the platform work for them if they approach it in the right way.

Because the platform is largely mobile based the image is of paramount importance on Instagram, so ensure you can take or source great photos which will drive engagement. Hashtags are a way to reach new audiences so carry out research to see what is trending, to benefit from the widest possible reach.

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The second platform where images rule is Pinterest, and this is a great platform particularly for businesses selling products as many people use the site to gather ideas before they shop. Users of Pinterest create boards, which they usually organize into categories, where they add items which they would ultimately like to buy. Ensuring the items you add from your business are search engine friendly and represented by beautiful visuals will help you stand out.

The site currently has a largely female user base although more men are gradually signing up. The Rich Pins option, available on the site, makes it easy to tell your audience more about the details of what you offer, plus they even amend the price when you have a sale, helping to keep your shares current.
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Tumblr takes a different approach to social media and many consider it more of a mini blogging site. It can be difficult for a business to gain traction here, although there are some very strong sub-communities, so if you offer what they are interested in you may find a ready-made audience.

Users of Tumblr can add a wide variety of content including text, images, videos, quotes, audio and even chat posts. It’s also easy to repost other people’s updates and therefore if your content gets shared it’s easier to go viral on this platform.

The age demographic most prevalent on Tumblr is the under 25s so if you cater for this audience you will have an easier ride. However, because of the strong niche element, if you do your research, there is a home for almost any business. There are currently over 200 million blogs present on the site so there’s definitely a great deal of opportunity on offer if the platform is used well.

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Finally, we come to Twitter and as one of the top 10 websites in the US and with over 320 million active users worldwide this platform holds a great deal of potential for any business. Updates are short (140 characters) on the platform which makes it easy to add content but challenging to make that content effective. Including images and videos can help you stand out.

Twitter is all about conversations and connections as you can mention someone’s username and enter a direct Twitter exchange with them. It’s this aspect which also makes it a valuable resource for customer service as your audience can reach someone at your company directly. Just ensure you don’t leave these questions or comments unanswered.

As important as sharing your own content on Twitter is curating and sharing information from a variety of sources, and re-tweeting content. You often find that others will do the same for you, giving your content the potential to go viral. The more interactions you have, the better your ability to reach your wider target audience.

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