It’s easy to fall into a routine with our marketing, isn’t it? Owning a small business means we are pulled in many different directions and following the familiar can be helpful (not to mention comfortable). Even at Bombastic we streamline our own marketing strategy to devote more time to our customers. But falling into a routine can be a trap. We’d like to challenge you to think out-of-the-box in an area that is drowning in “conventional wisdom”: social media marketing.
The “Big Three” social media platforms – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – are Big for a reason. There are plenty of statistics on how many users spend time and money on their platforms, and they can indeed be critical parts of a content marketing mix. But they are also incredibly crowded and noisy. Facebook is increasingly devaluing business posts in their news feed and LinkedIn’s algorithm can be perplexing at best. So we’d like to challenge your thinking: how do you know these are the best places to post for your business?
Over the past two years, we’ve seen the development of what we call “hybrid” social media networks. These are websites that take on the interactive features of social media, or might look like a purely consumer-focused platform, but actually offer incredible benefits for businesses. Whether you market to consumers or businesses, you can use a wide variety of platforms to:
- build your brand,
- introduce and sell products, and
- interact with current and prospective clients.
And sometimes – it’s more fun!
6 “hybrid” platforms you can leverage to get your message out.
Pinterest is a unique platform where people can browse around on a wide range of topics and easily save and organization posts that interest them (called “pinning”). Users use the platform for research and inspiration, and utilize Pinterest’s well-developed social network to see what their friends are pinning. If you can tell your story in graphics & images, this is the perfect platform for your business.
What this means for small businesses: 2/3 of Pinterest users report learning about a new brand or product on Pinterest, and 93%(!) of users use the platform to plan purchases. It’s a perfect place to get exposed to new customers and build a foundation of trust that is so critical to growth. Pinterest topics include a diverse assortment of industries, from home decorating, human resources & professional development, graphic design, technology and consumer products.
Pinterest allows “pins” to be easily organized into Boards (by any topic you set), which makes it very easy for a business profile to target and organize messages. And hashtags are widely used by Pinterest users (unlike Facebook…), and can organically extend the reach of your posts.
Instagram has evolved from simple photo posts from someone’s vacation into a vibrant marketplace. It’s a very visual website, great for physical products and business consultants who can connect through photos, graphics and video.
The majority of Instagram users are young adults (18-44 year olds make up 79% of Instagram users), which is a growing marketplace for most products and services across the US. And this is another hashtag-friendly platform (we love any way to grow organic reach of your marketing message!).
Instagram is used by companies in beauty & fitness sector, food & drink, home improvement, the arts, graphic & industrial design, sports, and new industries. It’s seen as a very positive space by users, which grows interaction rates. We suggest you experiment with mini-blog length posts and videos.
Snapchat can be the butt of jokes, but it is a very powerful platform for businesses. It attracts that valuable younger demographic (71% of users are 34 or younger), and interaction rates are much higher than Twitter.
A powerful feature of Snapchat is geofilters. Snap allows you to create graphics that are broadcast to a designated geographic area for a certain amount of time. It makes them ideal to help promote special events, conventions, industry gatherings, performances and retail sales.
There are significant technical advantages to Snapchat for businesses as well. The Snap algorithm doesn’t “push” business posts down the timeline like Facebook, giving you better organic search results. And being that a large amount of users utilize the Snap “Chatting” feature to communicate throughout the day, that means users are coming back again and again. All the more opportunities for your posts to be seen.
Yelp & Foursquare
These online directories got a bad rap a few years ago, when questions arouse around their advertising practices. But Yelp and Foursquare have cleaned up their act, and they are a powerful resource for businesses with a physical location.
Local SEO is critical for businesses that focus on a town or region to find customers. Yelp and Foursquare are both used by local communities as a valuable tool to find reputable contractors, restaurants, educational facilities and more. You can use the posting features on both platforms to provide up-to-date messages to users who are ready to make a purchasing decision.
And don’t underestimate how popular these platforms are. You might not hear much about Foursquare, but they have 50 Million users. That’s not small potatoes.
Tumblr & Medium
Are you looking to connect with customers across the country? Perhaps you have a nuanced brand story, or need to establish your experience in your field? Micro-blogging platforms such as Tumblr and Medium allow you to quickly and efficiently communicate to audiences who are looking for more than a 280 character post.
Both Tumblr and Medium attract young users, and have been effectively used by thought leaders for many years to cultivate audiences. They also support graphics and images, allowing a business to leverage all the blog post best-practices that invite engagement. They also are hashtag-friendly to allow for organic reach.
Google’s My Business
Several years ago, Google launched their own social media platform called Google+. It didn’t do as well as they hoped, so they cancelled Google+ and incorporated many of the social media features into their business listing service.
So, while you created a Google My Business listing for your business (we hope you did – we can quickly create one for you if you need!) to support SEO, did you know that you can regularly create posts just like other social media platforms? The photos and text you add periodically to your Google My Business listing will help add valuable information for searchers. The posts also give incredible context to Google’s search bots as they seek to provide results for users. Not only will you get your messaging out, you will get an SEO boost as well.
Working Smarter Not Harder
Adding more platforms to the mix can add work to your schedule, but watching your analytics will help you quickly decide where your engagement can be found. And if you need support, Team Bombastic supports our clients with Managed Social Media programs. We can create posts, make graphics and edit photos, and watch the statistics to support your messaging while you run your business. Either way, it’s never been a better time to find the social media platforms that are perfect for you.