We live in a social media centric society, with 70% of Americans using at least one type of social media regularly, and with each of the major platforms having at least over 100 million users. A shockingly large number of people in my age group (late 20’s) have almost every social media platform, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest—actually use all of them. And we’re all ready to engage with businesses and hear what they have to say.
Your business needs to be on social media and engaging with users; if you aren’t on social media, you’re already behind. The question is, though, which platforms do you need to be on? Not all social media sites are created equal, after all, and if you’ve got limited time, there are definitely sites you should prioritize over others.
In this post, we’ll take a look at why all businesses need social media and which sites you should be using.
The Benefits of Actively Using Social Media
Social media is a necessity for all businesses today; not only do users expect that you’ll be on at least some of the sites, you’ll miss out on a ton of major benefits if you aren’t.
These benefits are varied, but include:
- Massive selling power. This is why plenty of businesses join; social media lets you promote your brand and your product within spending a penny (unless you start using their paid ad platforms). The potential ROI is immense, and being able to showcase new products and advertise sales to people who want to see them is a great selling opportunity.
- Search engine boost. Being on social media can give you an SEO boost, especially once you start placing links to your site and content on your Pages.
- Brand awareness. Social media has an unprecedented level of opportunity to help you build brand awareness with users who have never heard of your brand before, and might not have heard of you otherwise. As users engage with your brand, and comment on and share your content, their friends and followers will be exposed to it, increasing your reach exponentially.
- Relationship building. Social media is the ultimate slow sale, and lets you show your customers “the real you” (or at least the “real you” you want to be perceived as), over a long period of time.
- Source of UGC & Testimonials. User generated content is considered the most authentic type of media you can use, and social best is the best source of it. Sites like Facebook also let users leave reviews and testimonials, which are extremely important to users making purchasing decisions.
Which Sites Should Your Business Use?
As we mentioned above, social media sites are not all created equal. While many have overlapping features, some serve starkly different purposes and have drastically different audiences—look no further than a comparison between LinkedIn and Snapchat. This means that some sites will be more important to some businesses than others, and if your time is limited, it helps to know which sites matter most in your industry.
Let’s take a look at each.
Facebook is the one platform that I argue that every single business—regardless of size or industry—needs to be on. It has the largest user best, the best ad platform, an extremely diverse user base, and great engagement (even with organic reach declining.
There are some other great benefits to consider, too, including:
- The ability for users to leave reviews for your business directly on Platform
- Facebook is constantly updating and improving, adding small features like the ability to pin posts
- Tons of people use Facebook’s search engine to look up businesses, instead of Google
This is another platform that I’d argue that most businesses can benefit from, especially businesses that sell products. Even those that don’t can benefit from the high engagement rates of the visual-centric platform. You can show behind-the-scenes images of your brand and employees, or content of you participating in local or charity events.
Instagram has incredible selling power (especially with the new Instagram shoppable posts slowly rolling out), and they’ve recently been increasing their Snapchat-like features. Since Instagram has a much more diverse audience than Snapchat—and significantly better metrics and ad options—this is the second biggest platform I’d recommend that all businesses be on.
Twitter is still relevant and can benefit most businesses, but the amount of time and effort it can take to get any sort of traction on your posts is fairly substantial. Most users are also using other platforms more often, and Twitter is losing some active followers as a result.
That being said, Twitter is a fantastic networking tool, giving you the chance to see what’s being talked about in your industry and what’s getting shared. You can follow and interact with influencers and peers, building relationships that can enhance your business.
Pinterest has grown quickly, and while their demographics have conventionally been almost entirely women, increasing numbers of men are using the site.
Pinterest is unlike any of the other sites in that it’s meant to be used as idea storage instead of idea sharing. Users find pins they like and save it onto boards for later use.
B2C brands in particular can thrive on Pinterest, especially when you use it creatively. The photographer who did my professional headshots, for example, created a secret board where we could collaborate ideas and had me look through her boards for inspiration. Styling companies like Stitch Fix encourage you to create a board your stylist can use to see what products you like, which helps distribute their images to a wider audience.
Pinterest has massive, massive selling power, with a whopping 93% of active pinners using the site to research or make buying decisions and with 52% having discovered something on Pinterest they purchased online.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site, and while sometimes I think LinkedIn is still trying to figure out exactly what they are and how to increase engagement, it’s a site that all B2B businesses should be active on.
When people turn to LinkedIn, they’re not wanting to see the latest adorable panda video; they’re looking for employees, agencies to hire, and recommendations from industry influencers. Having a company page that’s filled out and shares regular updates can help you drive B2B sales on a platform where users are actively looking for you.
If you’re wondering if your business needs to be on social media, the answer is a resounding yes regardless of how big your business is, what type of business you run, or what industry you’re in. While social media does take a lot of work, time, effort, and sometimes money, it’s become an essential part of running a business, and it’s an investment that will pay off.
As you add more social media channels, don’t forget to find the right scheduling and analytics tools to help make your social media management more efficient and profitable than ever. Metricool can help you there.
Are you ready to learn more about what social media sites are working for you? Get started with Metricool today!