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Social Media for Business: A Marketer’s Guide

Globally it is estimated that 2.46 billion people are actively using social media, thats 33% of the world population, it is estimated that users will rapidly rise to 3 billion by 2021. This means that businesses simply cannot afford to neglect interaction with current or potential customers across platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. But, while social media marketing is important, the battle to stand out is all important and quality remains at a premium over quantity and refining which social platforms would benefit your business the most is crucial.

Each platform operates differently and has a vastly different demographic of users. So what platforms should you choose to drive engagement and market your business or organisation?

Instagram

Instagram is a visual social media platform based entirely on photos and videos. The Facebook-owned application has over 700 million active users, many of whom refine the content of their posts to a specific subject such as food, art or travel. However, Instagram does not allow the user to create new posts on the desktop version. Hashtags are an incredibly important part of the platform. Hashtags can be posted alongside any image or video. The hashtag can then be searched and every post including the hashtag is displayed. Combine engaging, relevant, trending hashtags with a high quality image that displays a businesses product or service in a positive light, and the engagement on each individual post will be very large, ultimately adding to the quantity of users then clicking through to the businesses website to find out more. Take a look at our article How To Use Hashtags To Grow Your Business to find out more about the importance of hashtags. Here at Zero Above, we recommend Instagram as it is an essential business tool regardless of the sector. The application is used frequently and the manner in which it shares content means that visual and engaging work that is photographed has the potential to be viewed all-over the globe. Hashtags are the key to an Instagram post in order to receive maximum exposure. A hashtag can be found to relate to every tweet, for example, #Marketing for Zero Above. This hashtag currently has 1,486,942 active searches. If the image that accompanies the hashtag is eye-catching and engaging then the post could potentially gain huge interest and engagement rates.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media platform on the internet. There are nearly 2 billion active users on the networking site and it provides a fantastic opportunity for businesses to connect with people from all over the world. Facebook has grown from a simple website designed for students to keep in touch to an enormous household feature across the world. The social platform allows businesses to develop and refine their own style of posting whether it’s through shared images, films, examples of work or just the occasional funny post. Facebook has developed to such a stage that it now allows specifically for businesses in their own setting, where they are able to sponsor posts that appear as adverts for a cost. The posts can reach either an enormous or extremely specific target audience which is likely to result in a vast increase in socially referred traffic to the businesses website. For us here at Zero Above, Facebook is one of the most important social platforms. It allows us to reach other businesses to display our work as well a huge audience of consumers that may be interested.

Twitter

Although Facebook may be the largest social platform on the internet in terms of users, Twitter has become the most frequently used. With over 350,000 tweets being sent every minute and 328 million users worldwide, the platform has become incredibly influential. Although each tweet is limited to 140 characters and this can be a dilemma for businesses trying to market their services or products, this is all part of Twitters success. 140 characters means that a users timeline isn't congested with large, tedious, uninspiring posts and instead forces users to get to the point quickly and efficiently. Sharing images and videos is incredibly easy on this particular platform. Twitter's greatest asset comes in the form of the retweet button. A similar feature is available on Facebook and Instagram in terms of the share button, however a retweet can turn into 100 retweets almost instantly if the post is engaging, interesting and entertaining. This gives businesses the chance to reach a vast audience without any cost involved. When managing our clients, and our own, social accounts, we frequently find that our biggest audience in terms of average reach, engagement and click through rates comes from Twitter. The platform has become a key tool for businesses or organisations to reach B2C and B2B audiences. In modern day society, news from around the world breaks on Twitter before anywhere else, so being able to be part of that virtual world is priceless for businesses in todays environment.

Snapchat

One of the fastest growing social media platforms in modern history. With more than 150 million daily users, Snapchat is overtaking Twitter and Instagram. Businesses can chat and send images to other accounts that last up to 10 seconds before vanishing. Filters are a big part of the growth of the social platform, from unicorns to dancing hotdogs, the unique feature has made Snapchat one of the fastest growing in modern history.     Businesses will benefit from Snapchat mostly through public stories which are visible for 24 hours. You can see how many users have viewed your image or video. Businesses are able to add links onto the image or video encouraging viewers to click through to the website or specific page. The target demographic for Snapchat is very much for people aged 27 and under, so depending on what your business specialises in, Snapchat may not be as effective as it is for others. Snapchat is at the stage where it may only be of a real asset to niche businesses or organisations that can flourish through constant video updates of work or products - such as clothing companies showing the design of the item to the production to the model wearing it for the first time. If snapchat can be used effectively it is an incredibly powerful tool for companies. At Zero Above, we may use the social platform to provide followers with a sneak peak of a project or to give consumers an insight into life in the Zero Above studio. This is in an attempt to add a personal element to the face of our agency so clients are comfortable working with and alongside us on projects.

YouTube

YouTube is a video-sharing platform with over a billion users, where people can view, upload, rate, share and comment on content. Now owned by Google, the site is a huge hub for news and entertainment. Created over a decade ago, YouTube has gone through numerous changes. For instance, users can now make money from Google AdSense, which is simply Google paying to have an advert displayed on a specific video. The revenue is dependent on the number of views on a video. Many businesses on YouTube have a creative, visual or educational component. The platform is heavily driven by creativity so producing content that is engaging and visually pleasing is incredibly important to gain success. Users that view a businesses video on Youtube can be encouraged to share the video on other social media platforms or tag other users in the video. A website link can be included in the video description to encourage users to click through to businesses website. YouTube does not have to be a regular forum for businesses and companies. For most companies and organisations, YouTube should be used as a platform to create occasional unique content that is engaging and eye-catching. Here at Zero Above, we may use the platform to demonstrate the work that goes into a design project. From the initial ideas and site-map to the development site being built to the all-new site going live. YouTube should be used to present a business or organisations work, be it a product or a service. It should convey all the unique and impressive features of your company and the work that they do.

LinkedIn

The most formal social platform comes from LinkedIn. The networking site was designed for businesses and professionals that wish to network amongst other businesses and potential clients. There are 106 million active LinkedIn users globally, with the social platform available in 24 different languages. Reports have suggested that up to 80% of B2B leads for businesses come from LinkedIn. Trust and reputation is widely regarded as the foundation for a successful business. With LinkedIn, businesses are able to receive recommendations. This word of mouth sharing will enhance your companies reputation and help build an element of trust among other business, applicants and potential future clients. At Zero Above, we used LinkedIn with a very professional tone in mind. We post most frequently to the social platform when we are looking to recruit new employees. Alternate posts to LinkedIn are written to promote our services with the audience in mind. We try to reflect how all of our services, from digital marketing to web design, can benefit their business and encourage a high volume of engagement through shares and responses. To conclude:  It is important to emphasise that not all social media platforms are relevant for all businesses. You need to refine what social platforms will benefit your business the most. From that point, you can channel your energy into representing your business well. A strong social status is priceless in today’s congested marketing environment and can go a long way in building your business profile amongst a new audience and making your business a success.
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