When I built my first website in 1998 there were not a lot of marketing tools out there. It was hard to get your website listed in directories and search engines. Social media did not exist unless you count AOL? The tools we have today to promote content and connect with people online are amazing. The possibilities are endless. There is a platform for just about everything. Let’s talk about some of the more popular social media platforms.
1- Facebook – Likes, Comments and Shares.
Is Facebook a time waster or a viable sales funnel? There is no doubt about who is king of the social media world. With over 1.7 billion active users it is a social networking behemoth. Like most things online you get the best results when you are consistent. Try to post once a day if possible as a minimum. Be sure to respond to your audience and reply to their comments when necessary. What kind of attitude do you want to project? Try to be positive and use it as a tool to like and encourage others. Facebook groups are a great way to connect with your audience and start a conversation. Remember to use FB to Learn new things, Share your experiences and Teach others.
2- Instagram – Using your phone to grow your business.
Instagram is much smaller than Facebook but is growing at a very steady pace. Boasting a much younger audience overall, Instagram can be a great platform for reaching the younger tech savvy crowd. Since the platform is phone based it tends to be more active and posts are about what’s happening right now. The focus on photos and videos draws a lot of eyeballs, but look out because they have a short attention span and they move fast. Your message has to match the frenetic pace. Simple, Visual posts do best on Instagram.
3- Twitter – Tweet about it all you want.
Twitter has been having a hard time staying relevant in the face of newer, more graphical platforms like Instagram (see Google trend graphic above). They do have a very large, loyal following and are not to be ignored. It is easy to copy or post your message to all of them at once, so don’t forget to include twitter when posting on Facebook and Instagram. You will reach people that are not yet connected to the more visual Instagram or social Facebook.
4- Linked IN – Grow your own business.
Linked In started out very much a tool for the corporate crowd but has smartly adapted it’s platform to include anyone with a job. You can endorse people you have worked with and network with others in your career path or circle of influence. Many folks have found better jobs and new opportunities through these powerful connections geared to the nine to five crowd. The niche is a strong one with a lot of money flowing through it so don’t ignore Linked In.
5- Etsy Shops – Sell your stuff online.
Similar in concept to E-bay. Etsy shops are a great way to connect with DIY folks. The audience is very talented and more about selling hand-made products direct to the customer. They have built a strong platform with excellent tools for selling stuff online. Although Etsy is skewed to females there are more and more shops coming online for guys. Etsy can also be a great place to spot trends and shifts in certain online niches.
6- Pinterest – Building boards and pinning pins.
Based on the bulletin board concept where you could pin photos or recipes up with a push pin. Again, this platform started out heavy on the female spectrum but is quickly gaining ground with the men folk. Much like a curator at a museum you can create topic based collections of ideas or photos. Most often you will see home decor ideas batted about or fashion tips or recipes.
#hashtags and @signs
With all the new information being posted online, hashtags were created to quickly sort through mountains of content by topic or tags. You can quickly find the content you want by typing #YourTopic on Twitter or Instagram. Remember to use tags and terms that are common and popular for best results. For example if you post a photo about a recent halibut fishing trip to Alaska. You would use #AlaskaFishing or #HalibutFishing not something like #ijustwentfishinginalaskaforhalibut
What the Point? Branding and Driving others to your website.
Remember, with all of these new platforms – they own the email list and the customer database and the content. Without a name and email address, you have nothing. Social media platforms can change over night and they don’t care if you lose business. You have to look out for number one and make sure every post or comment is carefully calculated to drive people to your website or brand. Facebook is not going to promote your blog for you. It’s up to you to make these tools work for you and powerful tools they can be.