Social media: what channels are right for you?

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In last month’s column we asked, “should your business be on social media”? If your business is in the public domain, the short answer is yes. This month we will consider the different social media channels and how to work out which ones are right for your business or organisation.

SOCIAL MEDIA SOUP
Whether you are new to social media or not, sometimes it seems like there are so many options out there. It’s like social media soup – which ones do you want to dip your spoon into, and what flavour is right for you? There is Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Periscope, Meerkat and many more.

About 2.8 million New Zealanders visit social media in any given month, which is 88 per cent of the population.

Of all social media channels, Facebook and YouTube are the most popular.

So, how do they work? Here are a few of the most popular channels for businesses:
That’s just a taster of some social media channels, but there are plenty more out there, including Google+, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Periscope and Meerkat, Tumblr and Flickr. Have a think about your business aims and objectives, and which channels best fit your needs.


FACEBOOK

Founded in 2004, Facebook enables people to share and express what matters to them via posts – words, photos, videos and links.

Around 75 percent of Kiwis use Facebook in any given month. On average 1.13 billion people around the world use Facebook daily.

How can you make Facebook effective? Keep post text short, just a couple of sentences. Consider boosting posts (paid advertising) to reach more people. Engaging photos also increase interaction. Videos are increasingly important too – more than 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook each day globally.


YOUTUBE

YouTube was launched in 2005 and is a forum for posting original video content.

YouTube is the second most popular form of social media for New Zealanders, with 61 percent of Kiwis using it in any given month.

Setting up your own YouTube channel, and uploading content, is relatively easy. Short video clips can offer your consumers insights into your brand or organisation – effectively creating a television channel for others to view and follow.


LINKEDIN

Some 20 percent of Kiwis use LinkedIn in a month.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with about 400 million users. It allows people to build their professional identity online and stay in touch with peers, colleagues and other industry professionals.

If you want to connect with others in the business community, LinkedIn is an easy and effective social media channel to set up. Create a company page to share news, promote your products and services or recruit new staff. Create content and ask people to review your products and services.


INSTAGRAM

About 20 percent of Kiwis use Instagram in a month. Globally, this channel reaches more than 400 million people.

Instagram is a photo-sharing (and video-sharing) online social network which lets people share images publically or privately. People come to Instagram for creative inspiration – so if your business is in this space, and you have visual content to share, get into Instagram.


TWITTER

Around 17 percent of Kiwis use Twitter in a month. Globally, there are 313 million Twitter users.

Twitter users set up an account and can write a ‘tweet’ – a short message of up to 140 characters – which can be shared by others. It’s a great way to capture the ‘voice’ of your brand or company, and to communicate quickly and directly with customers. Tweet regularly to keep your audience engaged, and respond in a timely fashion. Use hashtags to generate interest and to join in on trending topics.


SNAPCHAT

Some 17 percent of Kiwis use Snapchat in a month. If your audience is younger, consider Snapchat, which is the go-to for teens and 20-somethings.

Snapchat lets users share images or video clips with friends, but only for a short time – content “self-destructs” within seconds of being viewed. Users can also use filters or draw over photos, making it a fun and creative application. Snapchat stories last longer – 24 hours. Many companies use Snapchat to upload stories to connect with key audiences.


Next month, in our final column, we’ll look at how to manage social media like a pro. We will cover things such as planning, resourcing, management tools, measuring and monitoring, social media policy, managing issues and the use of ‘influencers’ to better reach and engage with people.

Sources: Nielsen’s New Zealand Media Trends Report 2016, Social Media Examiner, Sprout Social.

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