The modern trilogy of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has been dominating the social media landscape for businesses, but there is no way to know how long these three networks will lead this sector. Social networks come and go; MySpace and Google Plus are good reminders about the dynamics of social media, and this is something that business owners should keep in mind. The relative success of Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube should not be ignored, but this does not mean that you should rush to establish a presence on these networks.
Brands do not need to fit into social networks; it is better to evaluate whether online media platforms are adequate for business goals. A law firm that uses content marketing to discuss litigation strategies, for example, would be better off establishing a presence on Twitter than on YouTube. Similarly, a hardware store would benefit more from posting short videos showing off tools in action as well as home improvement tips and step-by-step repair tutorials.
As for audiences, this is an aspect that should be evaluated with care. Facebook, for example, has turned into a network for the 30 and over crowd, which means that a fashion boutique that caters to stylish young women would fare better on Instagram. Business-to-business companies should not skip establishing a presence on LinkedIn, but they should also keep in mind that this is a network that requires a certain level of dedication. Simply going through the steps of creating a company profile as if creating a business directory listing is not a good strategy; executives and principals should also take time to establish a personal presence that links to the company profile. When you look at accounts such as this Linkedin profile, you can get a good idea as to the information that should be included: career history, educational achievements, and recommendations are crucial.
With regard to emerging social networks, the decision to create profiles should not be solely based on “fear of missing out.” While there is value on being early to the party, there is no guarantee that the effort invested will pay off in the long run. Companies that are curious about TikTok, for example, will be disappointed to learn that branding opportunities are somewhat limited on this nascent network for teens. A more promising option would be Viber, a mobile messaging app similar to WhatsApp but with a greater focus on customer service. Speaking of WhatsApp, which happens to be owned by Facebook, it has become a very reasonable channel to reach Latin American audiences, particularly for companies that companies who wish to provide text-based communications to their customers.
The bottom line of choosing the right social network for your business is that you must commit to getting the most out of your digital presence, and this means offering value plus engagement. Using a social network purely for marketing and advertising is akin to creating an echo chamber, which is something you will want to avoid. Make it a point to getting to know your followers and strive to become known as a responsive business that is not afraid to conduct customer service on a public platform where everyone can see your interactions.