Wednesday, August 27, 2014
By now, most marketers understand the importance of social media marketing; not only is it an inexpensive way to build a following and promote your brand’s content, but participation in social media could also become a major factor in the ranking algorithm for search engines like Google. If you’re like most marketers, you’ve focused on the “big three”: Facebook for the biggest audience, Twitter for the fastest updates and public profiles, and LinkedIn for the B2B business professionals.
In addition to the big three, there are a number of other social platforms that have gotten attention: YouTube is the biggest and most popular platform for any video-based marketing, and Google+ is used often because—let’s face it—it’s a Google product, and they reward its users with better rankings according tocorrelation studies by Moz and SearchMetrics. But there are countless platforms beyond the most popular options, with hundreds of millions of users between them, that most marketers aren’t taking advantage of yet.
Let’s take a look at some of the powerful social media platforms you can use for your brand beyond the major players:
1.Pinterest. As I wrote in The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014, the popularity of image-based platforms is on the rise, and Pinterest is one of the best and most popular image-based platforms around. Pinterest’s format allows viral content to spread quickly, since its share feature “re-pinning” encourages fast travel from user to user, and there are no signs of the social powerhouse’s momentum slowing down anytime soon.
If your business has products that can be shown off with well-taken photos, Pinterest is perfect for you. Create boards revolving around your main product categories and promote your material in new, creative, or artistic ways. You can also create infographics or share pictures of your company if you don’t have tangible products in your business model. No matter what you do, keep your brand voice consistent and work Pinterest into a rhythm with your other social media profiles by cross-posting your images. The more consistent you are and the more visually appealing your images are, the better you’ll fare.
2. Instagram. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms around, with 200 million active users and an average of 60 million photos shared every day. Since Instagram is mostly populated with individual users sharing photos with their close friends and family, marketers have overlooked it as a viable social media option. However, the sheer number of users alone makes it worth exploring.
Create an Instagram account for your business and connect it to your company’s Facebook and/or Twitter account. Instead of using the Pinterest strategy of showcasing highlights of your products and services, use Instagram to demonstrate the personal side of your brand. Take pictures of your office and coworkers, and of any events you are attending. Use hashtags wherever it’s appropriate (just don’t overdo it) and engage with other users on a regular basis by commenting on their photos and responding to their comments on yours.
3. Tumblr. With over 130 million blogs, Tumblr is a blogging powerhouse, yet it’s still overlooked by most marketers. Tumblr used to be a semi-underground refuge for teens and young adults looking for a new way to express themselves, but since Yahoo purchased the platform for $1.1 billion in 2003, its “hotness” factor has started to wane.
That doesn’t mean it’s no longer useful. Think of Tumblr as a social version of a traditional blog. It’s a new outlet for you to publish and distribute your content, and since other users can connect to your blog with ease, it’s easier to build long-term connections. The best way to use Tumblr is as a niche division of your brand—for example, Target uses Tumblr to advertise and promote different fashions associated with the brand. Tumblr users do tend to prefer images and videos over written content, but it’s a good idea to use both if you want to attract the largest possible audience.
4. Sulia. Sulia is a relatively new platform that’s attempting to segment and filter the endless stream of content that social media users tolerate. Twitter feeds and Facebook feeds in particular tend to be filled with unnecessary updates and pooled results, forcing users to embark on a hunt to find the content that’s relevant to them. Twitter lists attempt to control this by allowing users to segment who they follow, but Sulia is an entire platform dedicated to a more refined experience.
Sulia is a content platform like a communal blog, but it allows users to categorize their content and search based on user-tailored “suggested posts” and posts that are trending within the community. With Sulia, you can write to a focused section of your audience and build a more relevant readership. You might get fewer readers with Sulia compared to a mainstream publisher, but the types of readers you get will be more relevant for your brand and therefore, will be more likely to convert.
5. Bubblews. If nothing else, Bubblews is a great business idea. Instead of posting all its own content or relying on its users to generate free content it can leverage, Bubblews shares all its ad revenue with its contributors. Right now, there aren’t that many people using Bubblews, so the revenue being shared is miniscule and the readership is limited. However, as it grows, there is a key opportunity for brand promotion.
Think of Bubblews as a guest blogging platform that can generate a separate stream of revenue. Write, post, and syndicate your content regularly on Bubblews and you’ll get the benefits of greater visibility and more possibilities for links and external brand mentions. Plus, if your content is catchy and starts to become popular, you’ll receive a share of all the ad revenue it helps to generate. Again, right now you can’t count on much revenue to come in, but over time, Bubblews could evolve to become a formidable platform in the social media world.
6. Snapchat. Snapchat started back in 2011, but because it’s been used mostly for personal exchanges, it’s slipped by the eyes of most marketers. However, as I mentioned in my article Your Guide to Using Snapchat for Marketing, about 400 million snaps are sent each day by about 26 million users in the United States. Pictures and videos sent via this app are self-destructing as a privacy measure. That means your target audience will only have a few seconds to read and remember your message. In a way, that’s advantageous considering the painfully low attention span of your average user—it’s a way of almost guaranteeing their attention for those few seconds. But at the same time, you need to compress your messaging to ensure it is memorable.
Compared to other image-based apps, Snapchat is somewhat less efficient. It takes more time to follow and get to know your potential users, and it takes significant effort to create an image or message that will only last for a few seconds. Still, it’s worth considering as part of your broader strategy.
You certainly don’t need a presence on every one of these platforms in order to run a successful social media campaign, but if you want the most relevant audience and the best potential results, it’s important to think outside the “Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn” box.GUEST POST WRITTEN BYAxel Kaiser