Most marketers today are already aware of how powerful social media tools like Facebook and Twitter can be for attracting customers.
However, as social media continues to grow, new platforms quickly gain popularity. Knowing how some less well-known social media platforms work will help you expand your online marketing reach. If you are not yet using these tools, you will find them easy to learn and highly effective.
LinkedIn is currently the world’s largest professional network, with over 300 million members in 200 countries. According to a recent study from the Arketi Group, 85% of journalists have a LinkedIn account, while only 55% have a Facebook account.
LinkedIn expands your marketing reach more quickly, and to more potential customers, than many other social media platforms because of its global reach. Within days or weeks, your LinkedIn profile or articles could net your small New York or North Carolina store attention from businesspeople as far away as the United Kingdom, Spain, or China.
The question, then, becomes how to make LinkedIn work for you. Writers from publications like Entrepreneur recommend optimizing your profile. Use keywords and terms your prospective customers might be looking for, and focus less on describing yourself than delineating what you can do for others.
Concisely explain why customers need your business, although competing ones exist. Read others’ articles thoroughly and leave thoughtful comments, which will help you build relationships.
Line came on the social media scene in 2011 after a huge earthquake and tsunami wiped out Japan’s telecommunications capabilities. With no way to communicate their urgent needs, Japan launched Line as an internet-based form of communication.
While still a largely Japanese social network, Line is gaining attention in the U.S. and the rest of the world. It has grown significantly since 2011, outpacing both Facebook and Twitter. While more than 25 million of its users are Japanese, Line currently has about 35 million users in other nations, many of whom use games, horoscope services, and other fun features to expand its use as a social platform.
Right now, Line is used primarily for calling and messaging. However, users also send photos and voice messages through the app, as well as videos and location information. Like Facebook, Line uses a timeline feature that allows people to like and comment on posts.
Line has a distinct advantage over Facebook, though. When someone likes a post, he or she is able to choose from dozens of different icons that further explain what “like” means, such as love, disgust, shock, sadness, or laughter. These have been around for a while, whereas Facebook only has a handful of these icons that have only been developed in recent years.
Similarly, Line capitalizes on a plethora of virtual stickers users can post into their chat windows. These stickers show what users are doing, what they enjoy, and what they think about certain posts or events.
Stickers must often be paid for, but some are free during special events. Thus, Line uses stickers in an unobtrusive monetization effort that attracts more people to their app. Social media experts are currently working to raise awareness of Line in the U.S.
Weibo is another huge social media network that got its start outside the U.S. It’s a micro-blogging network with around 600 million registered users in more than 190 countries. Weibo first became popular in China, after the country banned Facebook and Twitter.
At first, it was a way for Chinese business owners to market their brands, but American brands are starting to catch onto its success. Currently, huge American companies such as Coca-Cola regularly advertise on Weibo, making their marketing reach explode.
Weibo and its incarnations such as Sina Weibo are known as China’s Twitter, China’s YouTube, or China’s Facebook. This makes it more accessible for Western users, who don’t feel as much pressure to navigate and learn an entirely new network. Many Western celebrities are already reaping the benefits of Sina Weibo, also known as China’s Twitter.
Some celebrities, such as Robert Downey Jr., will actually use Sina Weibo although they don’t have American Twitter accounts. Celebrity interest has expanded the influence of American culture in China, especially films. It has also raised Westerners’ awareness of events in China and nearby nations, and allowed them to further appreciate Chinese culture.
Although Snapchat was popular when it launched in 2011, only recently has it gained momentum in advertising. The service’s Stories platform was launched only recently; it focuses on getting the word out about specific brands. Snapchat’s new Discover program will include longer stories, allowing business owners to describe their brands and services in more detail.
The longer stories and more specific content will help business owners generate more revenue. In addition, Snapchat and its launch partners such as CNN and the Daily Mail, are promising more channels and “gorgeous” advertising.
Some business owners have shied away from Snapchat in the past because content lasts only 24 hours. The same is true for the new Discover program, but the key to Discover is the expansion of Snapchat.
Launch partners and other business owners can now post daily content to micro-sections of the platform, rather than trying to reach the entire network with condensed versions of content. The more micro-sections a business owner reaches, the more people he or she will attract in 24 hours.
Discover will also challenge business owners to come up with new, fresh content every day, and tailor it to reach more specific audiences. The flood of daily content will capture audiences’ interest, keeping them coming back every day to see what their favorite businesses or brands are posting next.
Periscope is a fairly new social media app affiliated with Twitter; it can easily be linked to existing Twitter accounts. Periscope is used to stream and broadcast live video, giving viewers an inside look at what users, especially business owners, are doing in real time.
Users have found Periscope is great for personalizing video advertising and creating specific video content. Many business owners create video series using the app, which keeps users coming back after their initial visits to view the next installments.
Aside from live video, business owners can use Periscope to help potential clients get to know them personally. For example, business owners often use Periscope video for question and answer sessions. These can encompass frequently asked questions, as well as specific questions audience members might have about how to use a business’ service or product.
Receiving and answering questions on a Twitter or Periscope feed is far more intimate and useful than answering questions in person or through email, because audience members and reach are not limited to who can come to an event or who will scroll through an email full of information.
One of the biggest challenges business owners face is how to get people to share their content. Just because you share something you find interesting doesn’t automatically mean your network will feel the same and share it, too. With Babbly though, the entire focus is on sharing content.
The idea is, when you share someone else’s content, they will do the same with yours. The key, though, is sharing only your best and most interesting content. This challenges you to upgrade your content, and to weed through it to find what is truly worth sharing.
Babbly is also advantageous in that it allows you to choose the number of shares you want across a plethora of social networks. The more shares you choose, the more feedback you receive, and the more attention your business will garner.
Many of the aforementioned social media tools are gaining momentum in the U.S. and across the world. If you haven’t yet used them, 2017 is a great time to begin and watch your business grow by leaps and bounds.