Social media platform review

Unless you’re an incredibly well-connected Solopreneur gaining traction and perhaps even turning down business, social media will play a role in your branding and marketing strategies. Each platform has its cohort of devoted users and will be a good fit for some companies, but perhaps less so for others.

The platforms are free, in addition to the time it takes to keep their content updated. No matter how receptive your company is to social media marketing, time will not allow most sole proprietors and business owners to maintain a presence across all platforms, unless social media management is outsourced. If the ROI positively impacts sales revenue, then the investment will be worth it. Let’s take a look at Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Facebook

The most popular social media platform has 2.19 billion users (Statista, Q1 2018) worldwide. There are slightly more female users than male users and the majority of the demographic is 18 to 44 years old. Forbes magazine data indicates that 47% of Americans report that Facebook is their main influencer when it comes to making purchases.

Facebook often offers an excellent return on investment for B2C companies (somewhat less for B2B companies). Events and promotions in the store, talks, workshops and other events can be announced to Facebook friends. You can upload the content provided in text, photos or video. You can create groups and build communities or post a customer survey. Share behind-the-scenes information about your business and what it takes to do what you do, and in the process, you’ll attract customers, strengthen your brand, and build relationships.

Does that sound like too much work and too much sharing? Then create a fan page and limit your presence to basic information and a good call to action. Keep in mind that your presentation of text, photos and other content should be relaxed and welcoming, to create a personal feel (but remember that business is the context).

Instagram

You will find 1 billion users (Statista, June 2018) from around the world and 80% are outside the US 95 million posts are shared daily, many of which are accessed from a mobile device. About 59% of US users are between the ages of 18 and 29. As of the first quarter of 2018, there are 300 million daily Instagram Stories users and 30% of users have purchased a product.

Visual storytelling, behind-the-scenes photo montages, social selling, brand awareness, customer interaction, and relationship building are all good uses of Instagram. If you are in PR or special event / conference planning, you will find a B2B use worth your while; otherwise it is B2C as far as I can tell.

Sharing photos, short video trailers, and concise text posts that include a # hashtag to better distribute your content are ideal content. Add a link to your bio profile. Decide if you want a public or members-only account. Links cannot be shared.

LinkedIn

Considered the gold standard B2B social media platform, LinkedIn has 500 million members worldwide (Statista, January 2018). Business companies large and small, sole proprietorships, corporate and nonprofit leaders, doctors and dentists, any employee with career aspirations, and most college students maintain a profile page. Recruiters use LinkedIn to identify potential candidates for job openings. LinkedIn ProFinder helps entrepreneurs find project work.

LinkedIn is a great platform on which to build a community of professional colleagues through your connections and share with them your professional story, successes, highlights, and other updates that support your personal brand. My B2B blog posts on my LinkedIn page and my connections are notified of their arrival. Your connections will share their stories too and there is a great opportunity to stay in touch and nurture relationships.

Professional portfolios, videos, white papers, newsletters, blogs, infographics, SlideShare presentations, and podcasts can be featured on your profile page to add depth to your brand story. You can post links to articles or studies that may interest your connections. Recommendations and endorsements allow others to verify your professional good faith, and you can return the favor.

In the Groups section, you will interact with colleagues within your industry or with alumni from your school. Topics of interest are explored through posted questions and group members can respond and in the process get to know each other and possibly forge relationships that are conducive to doing business.

Thank you for reading,

Kim