Today, 97% of users conduct research before making a purchase. Chances are, they will look at your company’s social media activity to justify their purchase, alongside your website. But managing this full time can be difficult.
Imagine if you could reach most of the New Zealand population in one place. Well, you essentially can – with> 88% of people over the age of 15 in NZ active on social media, chances are, most of your customers are already just a click away. The good news in this is that small businesses have better access to their customers than ever – but do you know which social is best for your business?
Not all social platforms are created equal. Some platforms outperform others for different demographics, industries and reasons, but that does not mean they can’t generally be of value. For example, the main platform for restaurants and cafes tends to be Instagram, and certain types of followers gravitate towards this platform because of its visual and often creative aesthetic. However, that’s not to say that these businesses don’t use Facebook to promote their business as well; in fact it’s usually quite an integral part of their strategy. So how can a business know which social platforms are best for them?
The answer lies within your customers:
→ Who are they?
→ Where are they?
→ What social networks do they use?
→ How do they use them?
The answer to the above questions will be the answer to where your business needs to be on social.
Let’s run through all the main social media networks, what they can do for small businesses, and how useful they might be to you.
Facebook has a wide range of functionalities designed to help promote smaller businesses. It is effectively a hybrid of various social media platforms, bringing together the ability to share videos, blog posts, photos and statuses to your active followers. Due to the range of features, its age and relatively huge user base, most businesses have a Facebook Page and maintain an active presence on these accounts. This does unfortunately lead to a very crowded, ‘noisy’ environment in which businesses compete. This makes it difficult for businesses to own the platforms and get users engaged with your company unless the content offers value.
Given the broad nature of facebook and the amount of active users, it is advisable for most businesses to have an active account as it can assist in the quick distribution of information to a very accessible audience.
With over one million users in New Zealand, Instagram is a powerful tool for any business with a product. If you can visualise it, Instagram is important to you. Customers will be more inclined to like or interact with a product they can see it, rather than a service that is experiential or intangible. If you are a service, think about the end product that your service produces and try to sell that, rather than the service itself as this can be difficult to visualise. If you can’t do this, then look to other forms of social media to display your value.
Typically, you will see an abundance of food, retail and travel related businesses use Instagram because of their photogenic nature. Businesses that have these desirable and photogenic products will use instagram as not only their main source of social, but they’re main source of advertising. A significant amount of business is made through making profiles gain a large following and engaging followers with photogenic content that encourages interaction. The current algorithm leverages these profiles into the newsfeed and allows for maximum user contact.
LinkedIn is a great platform for professionals to connect and network. Here, individuals as well as businesses can stand out to sell solutions, promote thought leadership and encourage positive change. Nearly 50% of LinkedIn members have decision-making authority for their companies, meaning that this platform is great for selling. You have the ability to directly connect to people who may buy your product, which makes it especially easy to reach out to individuals in organisations that may buy your product.
If you need to sell to professionals, LinkedIn is important to you.
Twitter can be an interesting platform for business. It is greatly used by influencers, prominent personalities and the media to deliver news fast and concisely. It provides users with fast and digestible pieces of information. Tweets are released chronologically, meaning tweets can quickly move to the bottom of the newsfeed unless it retweeted by other users.
But do you need it for your business? Twitter can be a great platform for providing customer service and getting feedback about a service or product. If you are working in an environment that requires either of these, Twitter would be an advisable social platform to be actively using. It allows users to non-committally and quickly message organisations directly to seek solutions, give praise or address concerns.
Most users have Snapchat for personal use. It is not greatly used by businesses and can be seen as difficult to convert to sales. But with over 100 million daily active users and 400 million snaps per day worldwide, this social platform should not be ignored. There are still many businesses who are using this platform to convey their messaging to the masses effectively.
Snapchat can be especially useful for businesses who can display some sort of exclusivity. It is especially useful at live events where people can add to a story that goes behind the scenes. Paris Fashion Week make a strong case for using Snapchat, and use influencers to add to the story of Fashion Week. They show behind the scenes action to promote the event and make the user feel like they are getting exclusive content.
So what should I use?
For a business to truly answer the question, “Should I use this form of social?”, they need to answer the question, “Where are my consumers?”. When a business identifies exactly who their target audience is and what social platforms they use, they can find the most appropriate platform to use.
For a business to continually post relevant and exciting content on behalf of the company is a full time job and can take up a lot of time and effort in order to do well. To minimise the time using social media and maximise impact, your business needs to identify what is relevant to them.
Until next time,
The Spotcap team
Originally published August 3 2017