- With over 1 gazillion accounts divided among their platforms (just a rough estimate), the social media juggernauts in the industry are connecting people at the speed of now. With photos, messages, status updates, locations, events, and on and on, people are proving every minute that human beings are social creatures. Well, maybe a bit narcissistic and nosey creatures, but none the less, we love to peek into the lives of others and watch cats play keyboards.
The point is, if you're not taking advantage of launching your brand into the social media sphere then you're missing out on a golden opportunity to connect with people that are just actively seeking stuff. What stuff? Quite possibly your stuff. The great thing is, it's never too late to join the club and get to interacting with the undiscovered market that's looking for you and what you do.
- Unfortunately, many small business owners are missing the boat when it comes to connecting with a target market by either not realizing the opportunity, not engaging actively with their market, or not utilizing the platform most aligned with what they're doing.
So, here's a quick rundown of some of the networks and how you can more actively leverage the tools they provide to better market your brand:
- With well over a billion users Facebook is king when it comes to social networks. The ease of use and easy to navigate interface is designed to allow people to connect with each other and share what they're up to, what's on Their minds, where they are, who they're with, post photos, share content from the web, and the list goes on and on. (Candy Crush)
What's not often discussed is the fact that Facebook is king because they're able to take all of these things and turn the information about what you like and dislike into tangible data that's used to slip advertising into users news feeds. Ever logged on and noticed those little boxes to the right of your feed displaying ads for stuff you were just talking about or have recently 'like'ed? Ever noticed something show up in your feed that looked like something right inline with your interests? That's how Facebook makes money. From selling you.
What does this mean for small business owners? You can get in on the selling too! Facebook gives you the opportunity to advertise from your Fan Page each time you create a post. Post Boosts can be a very cheap and effective way to advertise your brand. Even if your page doesn't have a lot of fans, you're still able to allow Facebook to use information they've collected about others to send targeted posts from you to people that are interested in… you. You can turn something as simple as a photo of a handbag you sell into an ad that Facebook will share with people you don't know, but are interested in fashion.
- Twitter: Your "Breaking News" Feed
With 750 million users, Twitter takes the number two spot. The interesting thing about the social network that allows you to send and share messages of 140 characters or less is this. 40 percent of all Twitter accounts have never made a single post. Why? Most likely due to the fact that at some point, that same percentage of users saw something or read something that interested them much that they took the time to stop, create an account, and 'follow' the person that created the post. Just a little math, that's roughly 300 million accounts. (I'm good at math like that) #thankyouSiri
This means for you, as a small business owner, that there are likely people interested in Following your brand. The catch is, first, you have to be on Twitter. Second, you have to provide something for them to follow.
A great example is a local bar that encouraged its patrons to follow it on Twitter. They make two posts a day through the week and run a promotion on Friday and Saturday. Through the week, they simply post their specials and events. While the same information is fed to their website, the convenience for their patrons is having that information come to their mobile devices at 3:00 PM. It’s a win-win-win situation.
- Instagram: The Greatest Mobile Billboard
Three words can sum up this social application: 1. Photos. 2. Photos. 3. Photos. The content that drives Instagram is photos. Fueled by meme inspired pictures, fashion, food, and daily life, Instagram delivers content to users by allowing them to connect and choose the users they wish to follow. The simplicity is in a simple stream of photos flowing in a feed from the most recent to the oldest.
- "Instagram provides an outstanding opportunity for businesses to attract followers to their feed and post content targeted at their market to attract more attention to their brand and products. A good example of posting engaging brand focused content is the company Sharpie. Sharpie posts photos daily of content created using its markers. As a result, the company has been able to gain over 115, 000 followers. The effect: anyone looking for a marker may pay a little of the premium for the brand recognition gained via Instagram.
This same strategy can be used for any business or brand. Engage your followers with brand centered content they like. Do this and they'll spread the word (or photo) for you.
Bringing It Home:
In closing, I believe the point has been made by highlighting the three heavy hitters. What better way to promote your brand by word of mouth than to give people something to talk about?