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Social Media Channels - Which one is right for your business?

Should your business be on social media? Absolutely. But should you have an account on every platform? Not necessarily. Visionary’s Production Specialist Taylor Hilsabeck, and Project Lead Ryan Young profiled the top five social media channels to help you determine which one fits your business needs.

What is it?
Instagram is a mobile photo sharing service and social network with high levels of engagement. It is one of the fastest growing social media platforms (300 million active users and growing), and many businesses use Instagram to visually communicate their brand, character, and culture.

Who is it good for?
According to Forbes, “...all brands should be utilizing Instagram if they want to resonate with their targeted audience.”

In other words, every business can benefit from having an Instagram.

One thing you should know: Instagram is useless for search engine optimization (SEO). If you are looking for a social network to drive traffic to your website, this platform is not for you.

Links don’t work in captions or comments so there are no opportunities for clickthroughs. The bio is the only place that a business can use to direct followers to a website. But if you share compelling images, you can still benefit from putting your business on Instagram.

RY: I don’t follow any brands or companies on Instagram, but there are quite a few that do it well. With Instagram, you really have to put aside your marketing ego and just tell your story through photos.

Take photos of projects you are working on. Record quick greetings or holiday messages.

It’s an investment – a photo a day or a couple photos a week. Like Twitter, your images can be quickly buried. You won’t nail it the first few months, but like writing, you will find your Instagram voice over time.


What is it?
Pinterest is a content sharing site where users can create bulletin boards to organize images, videos, and links. Early on, Pinterest was the go-to site for home cooks, brides, and new parents, but today it’s grown to include just about every category found on the internet.

Who is is good for?
Pinterest is a no brainer for businesses and organizations in the Fashion, Art, Home Decor, Photography, Family, Travel, Food, and Fitness industries.

For some businesses, though, Pinterest may not seem like a good fit at first. You can use the following questions to to help you decide if Pinterest is a good fit for your business.

1. Does your brand fall into one of the Pinterest categories?

2. Can you breakdown your services or products into high-quality images?

Pinterest is all about attracting an audience visually.

3. Are your customers on Pinterest?

According to the DMR Pinterest Statistic Report published December 2015, there are over 100 million active users on Pinterest. 85% of Pinterest users are female, and the majority of people are between ages of 25 and 64.

4. Do you have time to invest in it?

Pinterest is more passively managed than Twitter or Facebook, but it still takes time to create and post to. Successful accounts are active daily and are frequently pinning content that is from your site, but also content that supports your focused industry.

If you answered no to any of the questions above, reconsider using Pinterest as a tool for your business.

RY: There is nothing worse than a Pinterest account that has just a few boards and only a 5-12 pins on each board. That’s a sure sign of a bandwagon Pinterest account that is no longer a priority.

You don’t necessarily have to pin images that link back directly to your website. Fitness gyms could have different boards for exercise tips taken from magazines or fitness sites. Furniture makers could have a couple “inspiration” boards for things you may create someday.

A newspaper (of all businesses) could have a board for neat front-page layouts.

Pinterest is more about “look and feel” than marketing or promoting your company. You may not want to redirect your Pinterest audience to competitor websites, but you can still borrow from the vast amount of pins already on the site to build boards that resonate with your audience.


What is it?
Facebook is a social network that lets you connect with family and friends and post updates about your life and interests for people to see. Businesses and organizations can also post information and stories about themselves to their own accounts and even buy ads to further promote themselves.

Who is it good for?
Having a business page on Facebook is a must for any company or organization because pretty much everyone is on it – 1.55 billion active users as of September 2015 to be exact.

Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to stand out. While updates from business pages used to appear in a person’s news feed just as frequently as friend updates, Facebook has since put the kibosh on all the free marketing so many of the big brands benefitted from years ago.

If you want to now guarantee your update or promo announcement will be seen, you have to pay for ads. But if your marketing budget is null or nil, Facebook is still useful.

You can still score some pretty good SEO (search engine optimization) points if you just put up a basic page with your address, hours, and website. And since the average American spends nearly 40 mins per day on Facebook, you’ll set yourself up for better discovery – especially if someone asks their Facebook friends for recommendations and someone can easily link to your Facebook page

TH: I agree with Ryan, I would expect most companies to have a Facebook page that is updated regularly.


What is it?
Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app. Users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings, and send them only to people they follow and also follow them. Friends can view these message for up to 10 seconds, and then it disappears.


Who is it good for?
There has been a lot of hype around Snapchat for businesses in the last couple of years.

Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social networks today, but if you’re thinking it’s time your company or organization climbed aboard the bandwagon, know that Snapchat is not a megaphone for you to shout into.

Snapchat primarily user driven. Users control what they want to see, and the trick for businesses on Snapchat is building that initial trust that makes customers feel comfortable letting you in.

Quality is paramount, and being successful on Snapchat is going to require a special kind of investment. Snapchat is ideal for covering live events or giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your daily activities. Simply blasting people a photo of a coupon is Snapchat suicide.

Tip: Before you make the leap, try Snapchat yourself and following a couple of bigger companies you are interested. Take notes for a couple of months, and if you still think you can provide value on Snapchat, do it.

TH: I’m not sure that I would personally follow a company on Snapchat. Perhaps a business that posted extreme sports or snaps I felt were entertaining to me.

For the most part, I would prefer to keep my Snapchat more personal. In my opinion, I don’t think Snapchat would not be worth the time and investment for most companies.



What is it?
Twitter is a social networking platform that allows users to send and read 140-character messages called “tweets”.

Who is it good for?
Businesses of all sizes use Twitter for a variety of reasons, from marketing to customer service. If you have interesting content, Twitter is a great tool for quickly connecting with your followers (the platform has more than 500 million users worldwide).

Twitter posts are also indexed by Google. For example, searching Google for “Delta Air Lines” brings up their latest tweets.

Twitter can become a powerful resource for many businesses with the potential to increase website traffic thru clickthroughs, gain followers, and new leads.

Twitter also has the capability to help you understand the impact of your posts through Twitter analytics. You can track your follower growth over time, and view metrics for every single tweet in order to gain insight on the type of content that is best for your audience.

RY: I am a big Twitter user, and the biggest hurdle for businesses is that people follow people. If you’re business account is only tweeting about itself and not sharing blog posts, tweeting to other people, or retweeting relevant tweets from industry influencers, you will not attract an audience.

Like most of the social media platforms mentioned already, the self-centered “Me! Me! Me!” messaging is not going to cut it. If you put in the effort and become an engaged tweeter, your following will steadily grow week by week.

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