In 2015, we all thought that we had a good understanding of the power of social media. It was something that was there, in the background, generating an endless supply of cat memes for our enjoyment. But this year has caused us to reevaluate yet again the impact of social media – a platform that has the power to influence national elections and change the course of history.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that businesses are keener than ever to get involved with social media, given that its impact is so widespread and game-changing. But which social media platforms are best for business by the numbers. Let’s take a look.
#5 – Pinterest
Some people have a hard time figuring out exactly what Pinterest is trying to achieve. It’s not exactly obvious what the purpose of the network is, other than to provide thousands of high-quality images for free to users. Businesses can lever Pinterest if they are able to generate attractive images. Because of the site’s visual nature, good pictures and photos can go viral, and if pictures get “pinned” often, they can reach millions of users. Pinterest, therefore, is a site that is ideal for promoting visual products. It’s perfect for everything from showing off your restaurant’s food to proving how skilled you are as a hairdresser.
#4 – YouTube
YouTube really took off back in 2008 and 2009. But just recently, in the last couple of years, its reach has exploded once again. It turns out that people just love video, and they can’t get enough of it. In the past, businesses saw YouTube as a platform, analogous to TV where they could just run a bunch of ads and build their business along traditional lines. But that isn’t the best way to make use of YouTube, at least for some industries. It turns out that consumers want content more than they do flashy ads. They want companies to produce videos telling them more about their products and how to use them. Some companies are already doing this, making videos for their customers that are actually interesting and useful. Take video game developers, for instance. YouTube is the perfect platform to put out teasers, show footage of in-game action and discuss all of the things that the developers wanted to include in the game.
#3 – Instagram
To really stand out on Instagram, companies have to create compelling visual images of things that their customers actually want. A lot of enterprises, therefore, use Instagram when they’re at tradeshows showing off their latest products. Recently, Samsung, the electronics giant did just that at a show where they were showing off the latest, true-colour displays, a new technology people hadn’t see yet in the consumer PC market.
#2 – LinkedIn
LinkedIn is one of the more – how to put it? – functional social media networks out there. It’s mainly focused on B2B, meaning that there is a strict business atmosphere about the site. The good thing, however, is that it is an excellent way to find people in a similar industry to you when hunting for a person to fill a new job role. And it’s also a good way to find new organisations to work with and to drum up new business. Here you can search people by industry, job title and so on.
The advice right now is to avoid using LinkedIn as a sales pitch. Instead, see it as a way to build networks and get people interested in what you’re doing as a business. A standout feature on LinkedIn is the site’s Groups feature which allows companies to target specific groups of people by category. You can do things like search “CEO Speaker” to find individuals who are both CEOs and public speakers.
#1 – Facebook
No doubt you saw this one coming. Facebook currently has over 1.59 billion users, making it the biggest social network and largest advertising platform in the world. Facebook, love it or hate it, is an extraordinary tool for connecting your business to the rest of the world.
Facebook advertising, for instance, allows you to promote posts and content you think users will find beneficial. The more money you spend on promoting content, the more people it will reach. For businesses just starting out, this is a welcome feature, especially when your social network is still growing.
Facebook advertising also enables businesses to target very specific groups of people. It’s relatively straightforward to match current buyers to new prospects who might also be interested in your product. Facebook allows companies to collect usernames and emails using opt-in pages.