By Hayley Bogaard
Okay ladies, grab a wine (or a coffee, depending on what time it is – actually, just grab a wine) and settle in. Social media is a scary thing – trust me, I get it. As soon as you feel like you’ve mastered it, three new platforms pop up and you’re back at square one asking what a Snapbook is, or is it Instatube? Well never fear, I’m going to take you through the wilderness, one step at a time, and have you using social media for your personal life and for your business like a pro.
Firstly, let’s talk about the different platforms.
If you’re not on Facebook do you even – uhh – exist? Without a doubt the Godfather of modern social media, Facebook is the most popular online platform and the premium choice for businesses. This platform allows users to connect with you directly and many consumers will seek information about a business on Facebook before anywhere else. “Yeah but that’s only for young people,” I hear you cry – wrong. The largest age group of users on Facebook is in fact 35-54 years olds with more than 31 per cent of the site’s users falling in this age group. If you’re not on Facebook, you need to be!
Instagram is perhaps the platform I get asked most about – what is it? How do I use it? What is a hashtag? Instagram is an online mobile photo and video sharing service and perhaps one of the main culprits behind society’s obsession with the humble selfie. For businesses, Instagram is all about imagery and works best for visual content business such as clothing boutiques, hairdressers, beauticians and so on. One of the main features for social networking on Instagram are hashtags, which can be used to search for related content and share one’s own content to a wider audience. It’s a simple platform to use, once you know how.
Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to take a quick video or photo – or snap – of what they are doing in the moment and send it to their followers. The idea is that the image only lasts a few seconds on screen before disappearing forever. But let’s be honest, once it’s on the World Wide Web, it’s not going anywhere! Without a doubt, Snapchat has contributed to the increasing popularisation of ‘sexting’ or sending nude photos. It’s very much a platform for self-promotion – the Kardashian sisters love it – need I say more? If your target audience are people between the ages of 18 – 25, Snapchat can be a really effective marketing tool. Otherwise, I’d steer clear.
Twitter seems to be quite popular among high-profile people as a quick and easy way to communicate with their followers. Twitter allows users up to 140 characters to say what they have to say and can include pictures and short videos. It appears that Twitter is falling in popularity with every-day users, with people opting for more visual platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
YouTube was responsible for bringing us funny cat videos. It was also responsible for bringing us Justin Bieber, so I’ll let you judge it’s value. A site used for sharing video content, YouTube can be quite useful for businesses in terms of showcasing and demonstrating products and services. YouTube has given rise to the term ‘internet-famous’ and many people have actually turned their YouTube channel into quite a profitable business, all from the comfort of their home!
Now, let’s get down to business: LinkedIn. This is the platform for all things business and networking. LinkedIn allows you to connect with people to expand your business network, join industry groups and share your knowledge and expertise. LinkedIn is huge in the US but has had a slightly slower uptake in Australia. While it can be a highly effective marketing and networking tool, it does require a good understanding of the platform and consistent engagement to do so.
There is no right or wrong answer to which platforms are best to use. It will depend entirely on what you hope to achieve, what sort of content you have and how your business works. If you still have no idea where to start, get in touch with a social media strategist and we can help you build your brand and start making social media work for you!