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  • Social Media Marketing

    Game Plan

    In-Depth

    Top Social Media Platforms

    There are so many social media platforms today, with more popping up all the time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when deciding which ones to focus on and how to make them work for your business.

    The behemoths such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are great for interactive conversations and copy-based messaging. Video platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, and Vine are effective at showcasing products and services in an engaging and entertaining manner.

    Here’s a quick look at a few of the most popular social media platforms:

    • Facebook. Still the biggest in terms of users and it continues to grow. Beyond just staggering numbers of people, Facebook users have a high level of engagement. Out of 1.26 billion users, 1.23 billion are monthly active users. New algorithms introduced in 2014 may limit how many of your page followers see your posts, forcing marketers to pay to boost reach. Include photos and videos in your posts and reply to customers who comment to make your posts more relevant.
    • Twitter. The king of the microblogging services, Twitter is the network of choice for mobile users and a good place to start and lead conversations, and also to listen and respond to customers talking about your brand. It’s particularly popular with younger, urban dwellers, and, like Instagram, the majority of Twitter users check in daily.
    • YouTube. The top video and music sharing site owned by Google is now more popular in terms of viewers than cable TV. This is a good place to build a library of videos about your products and services and also value-added “how-to” videos.
    • LinkedIn. The largest professional business networking site continues to grow, but not at the pace of some other platforms, like Pinterest and Twitter. It’s among the best places to connect to other business users and establish thought leadership in your field.
    • Pinterest. The fastest-growing social network as of this writing (but that could change in this lightening-quick media space). Pinterest is particularly popular among females (women are four times more likely to use the service than men), so it’s used a lot by those in the fashion, food, design, travel, and DIY industries. The power of using images to capture attention drives the appeal of this visual scrapbook platform.
    • Google+. Now the second largest social network, capturing over 50% of the online users compared to Facebook’s 70%. Because it’s so tightly integrated with Google’s search, posting here can boost your search results.
    • Tumblr. Another microblogging site, but unlike Twitter, this is focused on image sharing. The better your image content, the more followers you’ll attract.
    • Instagram. One of the most popular photo sharing social networks on the mobile Web. If your business can be marketed visually, post images to Instagram and use the integrated sharing for Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.
    • Yelp. This is the go-to site for customer reviews and ratings on stores, restaurants, and travel-related businesses. Physical businesses rely on Yelp ratings to help drive customers to their locations. Always provide links to your website and blogs and other social sites so users can get more information.
    • Vine. Think of Vine as a mashup of Twitter and Instagram only with ultra short, six-second looping videos. It’s a fast way to get a customer’s attention by offering a teasing view of a product, service, or opinion.
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    Game Plan

    • The Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth recently conducted its annual in-depth study on the usage of social media across the 500 fastest growing U.S. companies as compiled by Inc.com. The study found that Twitter is the platform with the greatest potential for sales growth.
    • For an intro to a few social media marketing solutions that can help you get the most out of the big name platforms like Facebook and Twitter, check out this Business News Daily post describing 16 Social Media Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses.