As we head into 2017, social media profiles for businesses are no longer a “nice to have.” They have become an integral part of an online presence, and vital for companies to be found in search. With 95% of adults reporting they are most likely to follow a brand using social profiles, that’s a reach your clients can’t afford to miss out on. Having multiple profiles can be daunting, so instead of suggesting a slate of outlets to your clients, offer them a choice. By presenting them with recommendations for the sites most suited to their business, you can add value to your services and provide a more targeted solution.
Choosing the Right Platform
Selecting a social media site depends on knowing what your client wants to achieve and where their audience hangs out. Here’s what the most widely-used sites offer, to help you align them with your clients’ requirements:
- Facebook: This is undoubtedly the #1 social networking site in the world with almost 1.2 billion users. It’s the best way to reach individuals, so for companies in the B2C environment a business page is essential. The site is particularly good for customer engagement and interaction. Although a recent shift in its algorithm prioritizes “native” content created directly on Facebook over external links, it’s still good for driving traffic to your website information and offers. Paid advertising is highly targeted and very affordable, and its admin options enable agencies to easily manage content on behalf of clients. And, of course, the arrival of Facebook Live for streaming video is promising to be a real game changer in 2017.
- Instagram: Ever since Instagram’s integration with Facebook, it has become a major engagement tool for companies in industries with visually esthetic appeal. For B2C clients who want to showcase designs in food, fashion, home and garden or art, Instagram is ideal. Having been created for users, it’s challenging to manage content for several clients on Instagram, but for one or two clients it’s not too much heavy lifting. The most time-consuming aspect is getting hold of high-quality images to generate interest on the site.
- Twitter: This site was losing popularity recently until Donald Trump gave it a boost, but it seems to have rallied although many experts believe it’s on the way out. Useful for helping both B2B and B2C clients reach their markets, Twitter’s established use of hashtags makes it the most niche marketing-friendly platform. Tweets can be scheduled in advance using aggregators like HootSuite or Buffer, and paid advertising options are available if somewhat limited.
- LinkedIn: Barely holding its own with the B2B audience, LinkedIn is used mainly by people in search of business contacts. It’s labor intensive, however, requiring members to post regular, business-related updates, connect with others and contribute to group discussions. Advertising is fairly expensive for small businesses, and the most useful aspect is the ability to research potential corporate clients. It’s also a ticket to lots of spam, so identify the benefits to clients carefully before recommending it—even if they think they need to be there.
- YouTube: The popularity of video has increased with YouTube’s enhanced functionality that allows a user to upload footage directly from any device to their account and share it seamlessly. With the opportunities offered by video in both B2B and B2C circles, it goes without saying YouTube’s star should continue to rise for the foreseeable future. Recommend this to clients in almost any industry, as long as they have access to basic filming equipment such as a smart phone, tablet or camcorder.
- Snapchat: Currently the most up-and-coming social site, Snapchat is great for companies operating in the young adult B2C market. It’s easy to add both short and longer content, has an effective notification system and an absence of spam, and has become the second most used social media platform in the U.S. (after Facebook, of course). If your clients play in this market, they really need to be on Snapchat.
All the Rest
With social scenery constantly shifting platforms here today could be gone tomorrow, so it’s important for agencies to stay up-to-date on changes. It’s also helpful to keep a backup of all information on your client’s social accounts. Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr and other sites are waning in popularity and going the way of MySpace. Don’t wait until they are gone to save the info.
Deciding which social media outlets are right for your clients requires research and thoughtful analysis for you to provide real value through your recommendations.