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Consider this: You have a gift shop that attracts a good number of visitors daily. And it has been going well over the years. However, lately you have been seeing that your daily visitors are decreasing and a new gift shop has been the talk of the town. Of course, competitions exist in every business. However, this new gift shop seems to be attracting a lot of people in a short span of time. While you wonder how it is possible, they are using social media to introduce their business to people in your area, and as a result, people are turning up to their shop.
That’s what social media does. It helps you create an online presence where you can show your products, share images and videos, and connect with people instantly. As a result, people start talking about your shop and people start showing up.
So far so good. But with so many different types of social media platforms present online, how do you decide where should you create an online presence? Which is the best social media to use for your business?
Allow us to help you with it. Here is a comprehensive guide to the types of social media platforms present online and how to choose the best social media to use for your business.
With so many different social media platforms, it is important to know the types of social media platforms, so that you can choose the best social media to use. Here are the 5 types of social media:
Examples: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
Types of content: Text, images, videos
Features: Post sharing, Stories, Personal messages, Live chat, Groups, Job listing, selling.
The main reason people use social networks is to connect with people. With these social networks, you can create a profile and engage with your audience by using the different features they offer.
Social networks are one of the most commonly used social media platforms.
You can post all types of content, including texts, images, and videos.
You can easily run ads, generate leads, and build awareness of your brand through these social media platforms.
You need to actively engage with your audience and devote a lot of time to learning about branding.
Even though all these networks provide an option to link back to your website, just sharing links won’t help much in growing the page’s audience.
Examples: Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, Vimeo, Snapchat
Types of content: Photos, videos
Features: Photo & video sharing, Direct messages, Live video
Media sharing networks are used by people and brands to share images and videos. They are a great place for you to show your business and brand and engage with the audience. You can use images and videos for product demos, teaching, showing, interacting with the audience, and sharing interesting aspects of your brand.
Photos and videos are a great way of appealing an audience.
You can link back to your websites.
Video platforms like YouTube and Vimeo offer amazing analytics for your videos.
You need to upload good-quality photos and videos.
On Instagram, you can only post from a mobile app.
You will need to dedicate more time to creating and strategizing content.
Examples: Reddit, Quora, Digg
Types of content: Text, images, videos
Features: Q&A features, Personal messages, Groups
Discussion forums are the oldest types of social media platforms. They are spaces where people discuss similar topics. The topics could range from broad topics like history, technology, languages, politics, art; to niche topics like peanut butter, cups, memes, and teddy bears.
Discussion forums can be a great place to share your thoughts, answer questions about your industry-related topics, and interact with users.
You can share all types of content: text, images, videos.
You have the option to link back to your website.
You can start a discussion and interact seamlessly with users.
You need more upvotes to gain visibility.
The topics could be too niche or limited for your business.
Examples: WordPress, Tumblr
Types of content: Texts, images, videos
Features: Subscription, Community, Resharing
Blogging networks allow users to share their thoughts with blog posts which may or may not include photos and videos. These are great platforms to gain readers, advance them to subscribers, and finally to customers.
Great platform to share business-related news and articles.
You can build followers and subscribers.
Creating blogs takes time and requires some level of knowledge about the subject
Examples: Goodreads, ask.fm
Types of content: Text, images, videos
Interest-based networks are based on a particular interest and only contain posts that relate to the interest.
For example, Goodreads is a book lover’s platform, which allows users to review books, stack books, interact with readers, participate in challenges, and do a lot more. Similarly, other types of interest-based networks could be related to movies, sports, art, etc.
Interest-based networks can help you build an online presence on your business’s related topics.
Easy to interact with people with similar interests.
Good platform to build brand awareness.
Less number of users compared to other platforms.
You may not have enough leads on those platforms.
Now that you are better familiar with the different types of social media channels, we move towards choosing the best social media to use for your business.
When deciding upon the best social media to use for your business, here are three questions that you should ask yourself.
Before you even create a social media channel and look for the best social media to use, you should be clear on the goals that you want to accomplish through your social media channel.
Do you want to sell something through your page, make your business popular, or connect with the people who use your products? You may have one goal or a mix of all these. However, you should have a clear understanding of the purpose of creating a social media channel and use that as a guide for the type of posts and campaigns you post.
This is in line with the previous point. After you reflect on the goals that you want to achieve through your social media channels, the next step is to find where your potential customers hang out. For this, you need to have a clear idea about the type of customers you are looking for. Take examples from your existing customer base and identify their shared interests and unique aspects. For eg: You can find the average age-group of people who visit your shop, their common interests, and other factors.
With these factors in mind, look for the social media channels where your ideal customers hang out and create a profile there.
You have set goals, identified your target customers, and have created social media profiles. Now comes the type of content that you should post. As discussed earlier, each social media channel has its own type of content. Now it is upon you to decide the type of content that you will post consistently.
Articles, images, videos, webinars, testimonials, ebooks, etc. are all different types of content suitable for different social media sites.
Here are a few examples to help you understand the type of content you can produce for your channel.
You can post different types of content ranging from images, videos, carousels, to stories, reels, and video series. If you don’t have enough time to create videos then you can stick to images and carousels and share video content once per week or so. Or, you can try out reels and stories to engage with the audience.
Either way, it’s your call. Select the medium that lets you communicate without barriers and keep posting content consistently.
Facebook wears many hats. And with your Facebook page, you can engage with your audience through images and videos and build a community using Facebook Groups.
Here you can share articles, press releases, webinars, ebooks, etc.
It is always good to focus on one social media platform first, and then proceed with the next platforms. The best social media to use for your business will depend on your goals, where your audience hang out, and the type of content that you can consistently post. Once you have finalized these three areas, you can choose the best social media to use for your business.