Introduction to 5 Excellent Social Media Sites
Last week, we touched on what we feel are the three most vital social media platforms for small businesses: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. But there are a wealth of other social media options out there, and there’s a good chance one of them dovetails perfectly with your needs.
This week, we highlight Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and YouTube. To #MakeSocialSimple, we quickly summarize what each is used for, what material works best on which site, and provide a general overview of basic demographics. After all, if you can easily target your desired demographic by interacting with potential clients on LinkedIn and ignoring Snapchat entirely, there’s no reason to spend time creating clever Snaps.
Pinterest is quite interesting: the goal of the platform is to allow users to assemble collections of links to other web-based content. Users create boards of curated content under a variety of categories, saving related images to remind them how they would like to redesign their kitchen, or revamp their wardrobe, or style their wedding reception.
Pinterest has historically been far more popular with women than with men, but recent numbers show that 40% of new signups are men. While 80% of millennials say Pinterest helps them find things they want to buy, it is also becoming more popular with those aged 65 and over. If your business is selling a tangible good—particularly clothing, home furnishings, or wedding-related items—Pinterest is a platform that you will want to embrace.
If you offer services, Pinterest might not be worth your time at the moment; however, if you’re a highly visual person, creating boards that give a glimpse into your company’s thought process could be a way to attract potential clients.
New users might be forgiven for believing Snapchat was created by the young to keep out the old. The mobile-only app was designed as a means to share photo messages person-to-person; a significant feature was that the photos disappeared after a short amount of time. However, Snapchat now allows for stories that linger for 24 hours, as well as a “Discover” feature that allows brands to share short-form content.
If millennials and—particularly—Gen Z are your target audience, a Snapchat account is a must. The app has more than 187 million daily users, 71% are under 34 years old, and 39% of teens say it’s their favorite social network.
To use Snapchat effectively, be sure to post to your story at least a couple times a day (80% of your followers will see it within five hours) and draw potential customers in with discount codes and exclusive, behind-the-scenes looks. Oh, and if you’re over 30, you might want to sit down with a teen and have them explain the app’s features before you start sending Snaps.
You might think of LinkedIn as the social media platform for Fortune 500 CEOs. Users primarily use LinkedIn to post jobs or share their resumes, so there is a degree of professionalism on the platform that isn’t present on most other social media sites. Essentially, users establish “connections” that reflect professional offline networks; in theory these connections are made through an existing relationship, or through an online introduction from another member.
To truly get the most out of LinkedIn, business owners must view it as a networking site, rather than simply a place to advertise for new employees. Accept invitations quickly, respond to all messages, and post content relevant to your industry—whether created by your company, or written by an expert, such content gives you the opportunity to engage with followers, increasing recognition of your brand. And if you have an advertisement you’d like to target at professionals in a specific industry, LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, with its targeted filters for job title, seniority, and more, could be the best way to go.
As noted in 2019, YouTube is actually the most popular platform in the United States, with 73% of online adults using it, and 94% of those aged 18-24. There’s a 7% spread across white, black, and Hispanic users; slightly more men than women are streaming videos through YouTube. These sound like great numbers; however, less than half those users visit the site every day.
Obviously, this is a platform that requires the use of video—and that can seem a little daunting to small business owners. This isn’t a place for amateur directors, which is why it is last on our list. Creating a YouTube page for your business requires time, energy, and likely a considerable investment. And although it is technically a social platform—users can subscribe to your page and are able to leave comments—it is also infamous for attracting trolls who enjoy leaving disparaging comments.
Finally, advertising on YouTube involves complex considerations, from deciding between skippable and non-skippable ads to ensuring your website is prepared to handle the influx of visitors responding to your call to action. However, keywords are less expensive to target on YouTube, at .06 USD as compared to 1-2 USD for traditional Google search. So if you’re particularly great at video, this could be the ideal platform for your business.
WhatsApp is a free messaging service that allows for the sending of text, images, documents, and other media, as well as video calls. The app and its cousins, like Viber and Kik, are growing in popularity, particularly in countries where traditional SMS and mobile calling can be rather expensive. These apps are also particularly useful for those who’ve moved away from their home country, or simply have friends across borders. 42% of those under 30 use WhatsApp or a similar platform, and use among men is slightly higher than use among women.
Many business owners might assume there is no need for them to spend valuable time on a platform where users’ primary purpose is to engage in private conversations with friends. However, setting your business up on WhatsApp can strengthen your customer service and increase brand loyalty. Those using messaging apps report they are more likely to purchase from a business they are able to message directly.
With the WhatsApp business app, companies can create profiles, organize messages, and more easily respond to customers. What’s essential to remember, however, is that WhatsApp should be viewed not as a tool to attract new clients (engagement can only occur with users that have provided your business with their phone number), but as a way to make the experience better for current customers.