What Social Media is Best for your Type of Business?

With so many social media platforms emerging, it is important to keep in mind which is best for you and how to make the most out of your audience.

Social media is an integral part of the modern experience. According to the MIT Technology Review, the average American spends 24 hours a week online. For businesses, this presents an opportunity to reach large populations online. Social media drives 31% of referral traffic. Not all social media platforms are created equal, however, so it is important to consider your business and goals when creating an online presence. In this article we are going to go over the best ways to approach social media for your business:

  • Social media basics for all businesses
  • Product-based companies
  • Service-based companies
  • Individual influencers

Social Media Basics for all Businesses

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Regardless of your business, there are some fundamental principles that should be followed to ensure success online. Here is some background on what, generally speaking, makes for a good tweet or Instagram post.

The anatomy of a successful tweet

Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than those without, 89% more favorites, and 150% more retweets. Twitter recently updated their platform so images appear inline with tweets, skipping the need to open image links in separate tabs. This led to an evident increase in engagement with followers as images enhance visual experience.

The type of image also affects consumer feedback. Humorous images make up the majority of retweeted images:

  • 62% are humorous
  • 9% are food related
  • 7% are travel related
  • 22% miscellaneous

This means that simply sharing an image will not guarantee success. Rather, make sure images are visually appealing and shareable.

While images enhance engagement, tweets with just text are the most successful.

  • 93% of high-performing tweets are just text-based
  • 65% of text-only tweets contained links
  • Tweets with links are retweeted 86% more often
  • Tweets under 100 characters are 17% more engaging

This evidence points to a high success rate of short, text-based tweets with links that simultaneously drive up website traffic.

In order to increase traffic to a Twitter account, companies should have a bio. Including hashtags in the bio that detail location, industry sector, and keywords, will increase search power and attract your target audience.

Instagram: a picture is worth a thousand words

Instagram is a channel that depends on visuals to drive traffic. While the content of visuals is important, there are very specific alterations and edits that have been proven to increase engagement on Instagram.

Using the right filters can have tangible effects on viewership:

  • Filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed
  • Filtered photos are 45% more likely to get commented on
  • Best filters are: warm temperature, high exposure, high contrast

In addition to filtered images, Instagram images with blue as the dominant color get 24% more likes than red-based images.

Instagram captions are an important accessory to images, and 50% of all Instagram captions contain emojis to express feeling and catch attention. Captions also provide an opportunity for businesses to weave a personal story to create a more human interaction.

Gaining a following

Followers are arguably the most important for success on social media channels. Spending time to gain followers, especially from your target audience, is essential.

The principle of reciprocity can be applied to gaining followers:

  • Follow a bunch of people within your target audience
  • Give it a few days
  • Unfollow people who didn’t follow you back

This method has a reported 30% success rate.

On Instagram, try share-for-share, a method that involves collaborating with other accounts to gain access to their follower base:

  • Reach out to an account with a similar number of followers and ask for a share for share
  • Each post one another’s content
  • Expect 5-10 new followers per post if you have <1000 followers, but more as you scale up

Finally, it is important to maintain a focus and cultivate a brand persona. You can do this by including specific calls to action or interacting directly with your audience, such as through polls or replying to comments.

Product-Based Companies

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Branding and name-recognition are most important for product-based businesses. Most product-based companies have many accounts to manage their customer service and any special audiences they may want to cater to. A majority of the tweets contain text and links, as discussed in the previous section.

Common subjects of product-based company tweets include deals, services, and advertising company-specific products. It is important to set your company apart from others, so mentioning services, like guaranteed delivery or pickup, and highlighting unique products that cannot be found anywhere else creates a brand persona that people can identify.

For companies that need to sell a tangible product, tweeting multiple times daily and emphasizing deals and sales are the most effective ways to benefit from social media followers. Including links to products also directly influences site traffic and increases the possibility of sales.

Since maintaining a brand is important for product-based companies, emphasizing the benefits of buying from your business is important, and interacting with followers will make them feel more personally connected to your business.

Service-Based Companies

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Service-based companies benefit from social media because of the potential for testimony and documenting success through followers. In a service-based business “you are the product,” so you have to focus more on how your brand is received. This means your followers are not just observers but rather actively part of your brand persona.

You can use social media for your service-based company by:

  • Building relationships with customers through direct interactions
  • Establishing your brand as trustworthy and reliable
  • Being very specific about what you offer
  • Demonstrating flexibility

Oftentimes, there is no physical proof for customers considering a service, so testimonials, reviews, and social proof are particularly important. Create a social media environment that encourages customer interaction and regularly retweet positive feedback in order to increase the credibility of your services and company. Also considering tweeting your own successes to prove the quality of your work.

Individual Influencers

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Influencers are expected to develop and maintain an interesting, funny, or unique point of view on the world rooted in their area of expertise. Personality traits of successful influencers include authenticity, likeability, and passion.

Since social media can be accessed at all times, it can be used as a platform to express personality, especially through relevant references. These references could be commentary on current topics, reproducing a trending hashtag, or creating a meme. This creates a sense of presence and demonstrates to followers that you are as relevant as the content you are sharing.

Many times, individual influencers benefit from holding and expressing opinions. These influencers tend to attract a target audience which is sustainable and engaged with their specific content.

Even if there are people who disagree with certain views, it is important to remain professional. Addressing conflicts on a public platform could get complicated, but maintaining a level head could be an opportunity to prove to your followers that you are open to discuss and interact with people.

Followers tend to feel a personal connection to individual influencers on social media. The success of social media for influencers depends heavily on interaction and emulating human connection regardless of the number of followers they have. Certain interactions, however, are proven to have only limited engagement. These include vague questions and generic “goodnight” posts. While it is important to maintain a dialogue, some thoughts are not significant and could clutter a user’s feed rather than enhance it.

In Summary

It is important to curate your approach to social media based on your business in order to make the most of your time. Tools for social media management are constantly evolving, but it is important to always keep your goals and target audience in mind.

Strategies for All Brands:

Regardless of whether you’re managing a Twitter account for a product-based company, a service-based company, or an individual influencer, you should:

  • Share links in tweets whenever possible
  • Share images that are funny, creative, or informative
  • Tweet consistently multiple times a day several days a week
  • Engage with followers and potential followers in comments

For Product-Based Companies:

  • Consider a separate account for support, or at least maybe a hashtag
  • Focus on developing your brand and getting your name out there
  • Post about deals as often as possible
  • Emphasize things people can get with you that they can’t get elsewhere

For Service-Based Companies:

  • Consider a separate account for support, or at least maybe a hashtag
  • Retweet satisfied customers as a form of testimonial
  • Share a variety of content
  • Be specific about what you offer
  • Tweet your successes

For Individual Influencers:

  • Getting political is a great way to drive up engagement
  • Retweet people who @ you in positive posts
  • Reply to people who disagree/want to have a conversation with you
  • Avoid very general questions and good night tweets

Some Cool Tools

These are some social media tools that can be helpful when trying to implement the strategies discussed above:

  • Social Media Message Optimizer by Coschedule
  • Type in your social post, and it will analyze its effectiveness across a number of different platforms and give you a ranking
  • Hashtagify hashtag map
  • Helps you find hashtags related to your content
  • Unfollow tools
  • A list of tools that will mass unfollow people who don’t follow you on Twitter, in case you decide to go with a Follow/Unfollow approach
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