Ten years ago, it was common knowledge that if you ran a business, you made sure you were listed in business directories like the Yellow Pages. The reason was simple: this is where consumers looked, and therefore businesses needed to be there in order for potential customers to find them. While this is still the case (Yellow Pages have evolved with the times and now have an online directory), the Internet’s rapid transition into the mainstream has meant that consumers are now somewhere else as well: social media.
Social media isn’t just one big community either; it’s lots of communities, each with their own different benefits and features. Some will apply to your business more than others, but the more social media sites you can relevantly and actively engage with the better. For example, a photography company will be better suited to a visual social media platform like Instagram or Pinterest, but that doesn’t mean they won’t also find success on a text-based site like Twitter.
Here are a few reasons your business should use social media:
- Customer feedback: If customers can give you feedback on your products and services, you will be able to make more informed business decisions.
- Reputation: Many consumers will use social media to gauge a business’ integrity by browsing their social media pages and checking how many fans or followers they have, as well as how up-to-date they are.
- Showcase products: It’s easy to upload pictures of new products or latest works and share them with your followers, which in turn will keep them updated on your business and sustain interest.
- Connect with clients: 53% of people on Twitter recommend products in their tweets, while 90% of consumers trust online recommendations from people they know. Stats don’t lie!
- Offer Value: Social media can be a great tool for sharing sales and incentives with your consumers. For example, putting a coupon code on Facebook that’s exclusive to your followers will give them a sense of belonging and give them a reason to visit your website.
- Approachability: Being friendly and helpful on social media will help to ‘humanise’ your business, and consumers will be more inclined to ask questions and engage.
With that said, here are the top ten social media platforms ranked by their number of visitors per month:
- Facebook (900,000,000): Major online community for people to connect with friends and businesses.
- Twitter (310,000,00): Users can send and read ‘tweets’ of 140 characters max. Great for companies to engage with consumers and gain an online following.
- LinkedIn (255,000,000): Social networking for people in professional occupations. Good for business owners
- Pinterest (250,000,000): Pin board style photo-sharing website where users can upload and group themed images.
- Google+ (120,000,000): Google’s answer to Facebook, seamlessly integrates with useful tools like Google Maps and Google My Business.
- Tumblr (110,000,000): Micro-blogging platform that allows users to post multimedia and other content in blog form.
- Instagram (100,000,000): Photo and video sharing service made in app form and translated to online.
- VK (80,000,000): Europe’s social network service, only applicable to multinational and foreign businesses.
- Flickr (65,000,000): Similar to Pinterest and Instagram, a photo sharing site which allows you to store photos and groups them into categories.
- MySpace (42,000,000): Nowadays, a social networking service with a strong focus on music, good for musicians/ record labels.
As you can see, there are many social media platforms and each have their own unique attributes. In terms of putting your business onto social media, the question shouldn’t be whether or not to use it, but how many you should use.