This is the first post by our new guest blogger, Owain Evans
Facebook and Twitter dominate the online promotion world with Facebook’s worldwide audience of 1.6 billion and 32 million users in the UK alone, it is by far the most dominant platform for online promotion. The same can be said for Twitter’s estimated 350 million worldwide and 15 million UK users. The potential audience on these websites is enormous and they are therefore used by most businesses these days to reach customers, but what about other networking sites? Although user numbers on some other networks might be smaller they can be equally effective in promoting your business when used in the right way. In this blog I will be taking a look at 5 other social networks you could be using to boost your business in this ever-changing field of advertising.
Founded in December 2002, LinkedIn is the world’s number one online business networking platform with over 300 million members and a new one signing up every two seconds. The trouble is that many people rushed to join without really understanding what makes LinkedIn so useful to small businesses, but it’s essential to recognise its uses in order to promote your business as effectively as possible. With over 20 million UK users, it’s up there with the big-boys of social networking. Here are some reasons why LinkedIn deserves your attention:
- Its powerful search engine allows its users to search by people, groups, companies and keywords, thus making it possible to push your profile by the results by use of effective keywords and phrases
- The ability to update your profile with new links, product reviews, articles or other information so that this information appears to all the people in your network.
- The ability to join LinkedIn groups that may be popular with many of your customers, and frequently post questions or comments related to the products or services you offer.
In my opinion, a more business-concentrated version of Facebook, LinkedIn will certainly help you boost your business by connecting you directly to your customers, if you sell and serve businesses.
YouTube, the world’s biggest video sharing site, doesn’t always strike small business owners and self-employed people as the first port of call when they’re looking at getting on to social media. But it can really help you gain exposure online, because it’s easier to rank highly on Google (i.e. appear higher up on search results) with a YouTube video than just a normal website. With 100 million video views per day, YouTube is full of useful research videos that can provide a great opportunity to increase customer loyalty. Here are some of the reasons why you should utilise YouTube to boost your business:
- YouTube is the 2nd largest searched website, and the 3rd most visited website worldwide, behind only Google and Facebook respectively, meaning a massive potential audience
- As it is a Google product, marketing on YouTube will help you get found on Google due to Google Universal Search, where videos, images, news, books and local searches are blended together in Google’s search results
- Your content will forever be available. Using YouTube for business can help you to re-purpose content you’ve already created without the need to spend a lot of time or to invest in expensive equipment. This means that YouTube is a very efficient way of promotion.
- When videos are viewed many times, companies will place advertisements before it which then allows the creator to profit from his/her content. This is called AdSense.
As you can see YouTube is a viable platform for growing your audience and business in a number of ways. If you invest the required time to learn the main components of the platform, YouTube will show itself to be a worthwhile investment of your time.
Launched in 2010, Pinterest is a web and mobile application company that operates a photo sharing website. It allows users to upload, save, sort, and manage images—known as pins—and other media content (e.g. videos) through collections known as pinboards. The end result is that the “pin feed” of each user displays unique, personalised results. Here are reasons why Pinterest is a great way to promote your business:
- Pinterest content has a far longer shelf-life than other networks e.g. Facebook
- The average Pinterest user spends 14.2 minutes pinning every time they log in
- Pinterest was the fastest growing social network in 2014, growing by a whopping 97 percent, meaning your audience will grow day-to-day
Compared to the fast-paced Twitter stream or the hyper-competitive Facebook news feed you’ll quickly understand the value of Pinterest to your business.
Instagram’s impressive growth in the world of social networking is turning heads. Many brands are now heavily using the mobile app to boost their visual marketing strategy. With 90 Million monthly active users, the Instagram community is thriving and eager to share beautiful photos and videos. Companies are aware of this new opportunity, and many big names have already jumped on board: Starbucks, MTV, Nike, Red Bull are but a few examples. Here’s the low-down on why you should be on this platform:
- Increase brand awareness.
- Showcase your team and recruit new talent
- Share company news.
- Grow your community.
- A brilliant way to show your business’ values and culture using pictures or short videos, Instagram can be a great way to boost awareness of your product, whether that be through normal use of the website or paid promotion of your posts.
Launched in December 2011, Google+ was Google’s 4th foray into the world of social networking. With 300+ million active users it is one of the most populated networks in the world, but its services to the world of business and marketing aren’t fully utilised by many. With more active users than Twitter and user interactions with brands’ posts nearly double that of Twitter, this is a great website to help you promote your business. Here are only some of the “plus” points of Google+:
- 70% of the top 100 brands use Google+ to promote their business
- 42% of online adults use Google+ to interact with brands’ content
- Hangouts on Air (HOA) are a great way to interact with customers to receive feedback via its video or messaging system.
These are, in my opinion, the 5 social networking sites you should be utilising to promote your business. To ensure an effective social media campaign you must be willing to spend time on it and be ready to make any changes. It won’t work miracles unless you’re ready to make it work, but it’s certainly worth it in the end.