Perhaps you’re a relatively new business, and you’re not sure what social media platform will give you the best return for your investment of time. Or maybe your business has been around for many years, but you haven’t made the leap into social media yet (or you haven’t jumped into the deep end). Whatever the situation, we’re here to help you understand what your business should be doing in the coming year.
First things first: remember that each business will get a different answer when they reflect on this question. Maybe you’re a trendy nail salon on the corner of a hip New Hampshire city block. Maybe you’re a mid-size insurance company in Duluth. Or maybe you’re a manufacturing company in Philadelphia that’s recently gone green. Each social media strategy will be different, but the power of social media can always be used to succeed in marketing your business. Find out what’s new for 2017 in social media, and you’ll have a better understanding of what will work for you.
The Explosion of Ratings
More and more, people depend on user-generated feedback to decide if they will choose one business over another. The use of ratings and reviews will likely explode in 2017, so look for more social media platforms to begin incorporating ratings in some way. How will this affect your social media choices? If you are a business that markets to individuals (restaurants, hair salons, gift shops, bowling alleys, insurance companies, travel agencies all fall into this category) it is imperative that you are active on the right channels: Facebook and Yelp are obvious choices, but don’t forget the power of positive mentions on Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and even YouTube.
Short answer: Facebook (with dangerously close to 2 billion users) for everyone; Yelp as well, if you’re a local business.
Video, Video, Video
Of course, you’ve been able to post video to social media for a long time. But live streaming video the latest and greatest for Facebook, and as the sayings goes, ‘Get it while it’s hot.” While live video is still new, take advantage of the audience that wants to see it. There are so many situations in which you can use live streaming video.
- Have a giveaway.
- Restaurants: showcase your nightly special.
- Do random acts of kindness.
- Salons: Show a haircut or style live.
- Say “thank you” to your customers/ fans.
- Host a Q&A session.
- Release your newest product.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Your business will have an audience as long as you let them see you in action!
Facebook is not the only social media platform to use video. Snapchat, and recently Instagram (in their Stories feature) use a similar idea; instead of live video, though, you can record short segments of video that expire in 24 hours. Though some are dismayed at the idea of their marketing efforts disappearing, keep in mind that this time limit creates a sense of urgency for your viewers.
And by all means, don’t forget the value of YouTube for video content with staying power. Instructional videos, commercials, and other information (the sky’s the limit!) can be stored and easily accessed for as long as you like, and you aren’t limited to 30 seconds or less.
Short answer: Facebook live video will be big this year. If you want to attract the 18-34 age bracket, you need to try Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
Highlights from Other Channels
Instagram has grown 25% in the past year and has rolled out improved business tools, which will change the game for many in 2017. Instagram discovered what business owners want: to stand out from the crowd, get more viewers, and find new customers. Business Tools now gives you a business profile, analytics, and the ability to create ads right in the Instagram app. Look for more features in the coming year. Instagram is the place to be for companies that have products to sell – but don’t limit its potential to crafters and photographers. Check out Instagram feeds Headspace (a meditation app), State Farm Insurance, and Dirty Hipster Cleaning; you’ll quickly see that whatever your business, you can likely find great content to post.
Twitter, the site known for keeping it 140 characters or less, has undergone a transformation in 2016. According to Jack Dorsey, CEO, Twitter is now considered, not a social media network, but a news network. “Twitter is what’s happening, and what everyone is talking about (literally!). News and talk. We’re the people’s news network.” If your business can benefit from sharing happenings with your followers, Twitter is a great way to spread your message.
Pinterest: Recently, Pinterest allowed businesses of all sizes to promote their products and services with Promoted Pins. Data shows that advertisers enjoy an average of 20% more (free!) clicks in the month after the beginning of a Promoted Pins campaign. Though traditionally, Pinterest has attracted mainly middle-to-high income women, recent data shows that the male demographic is growing dramatically, and that the site is attracting people of all income levels.
LinkedIn was recently acquired by Microsoft. What this means for the future of the professional-focused social network has yet to be seen, but the usefulness of LinkedIn is clear for business owners and companies who market to other businesses. For companies who are going to launch a new product in 2017, LinkedIn may be the most valuable social media network to use.