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Which Social Networks Are Right For Your Business? Part 2

Videos to Engage and Convert

Many people have heard the statistic that Youtube is the 2nd most used search engine in the world behind Google, but you may not appreciate exactly what that means. Youtube, which is owned by Google, processes 3 billion searches each month and has about 100 minutes of new video uploaded each minute. That makes it larger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask, and AOL combined with 100 billion Internet users watching online video each day.

What’s more, properly optimized videos can show up in search results right alongside your run of the mill text searches. Those video results can have higher click-through rates than a plain old text result and therefore higher conversion rates from visitor to customer.

You may be thinking, “How does this relate to social media networks?” Well, Youtube is considered a search engine AND a social media network because it uses user-generated content that can easily be shared, liked, or commented on by other users. Companies can and should claim their company channel and branded URL – Youtube.com/CompanyName – to upload all of their videos. By properly optimizing the video title, description, and categories, you are helping users and search engines find the video content for which they are looking.

Here are some quick tips to ensure your videos are effective:

  • Captive the viewer in the first 10 seconds – No long company introductions

  • Keep the video short and to the point– 60-90 seconds is best

  • Use emotion or humor when possible

  • The picture should be clear, steady, and the volume should be easily heard. Don’t make it hard on your viewer to watch.

  • Bonus Tip: If you’re shooting with a smartphone or tablet, shoot horizontally, not vertically.

Once your video is created, uploaded, and optimized, it is important to share it across all of your channels to increase the number of views and shares. Many businesses effectively use embedded video within their websites, as well as via Facebook. If you have your Google plus business page and Youtube channel properly connected, each video will automatically be published to your G+ page as well.

Linking with Other Professionals for Brand Awareness & Website Traffic

LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for any professional but is especially important for B2B businesses. Although many small business owners have been slow to adopt LinkedIn business pages, they are a great way to connect with other businesses and business owners. Similar to a Facebook or Google + page, a LinkedIn user can “Follow” a business page and be kept up to date with any posts the company creates.

“Does anyone really go to LinkedIn to find out information?” YES! In the past several months, LinkedIn has implemented different features that encourage more interaction within their own platform. For starters, individuals receive weekly recap emails that contain popular articles shared within LinkedIn. Additionally, just last week they announced that they were opening up Publishing to all users, not just influencers, which allows for a full article to be published instead of just a snippet. This change makes one more great content channel for your business to help increase your brand awareness and website traffic.

Another fantastic and unique feature of LinkedIn is their Groups, which are created by users or businesses to discuss relevant topics. These are similar to forums where like-minded individuals can ask questions, share articles, and announce events to their target audiences. For instance, a company that provides backup services might take part in an IT group and notify the group of a webinar on how to select the best IT hardware.

While this channel is great for many businesses, e-commerce websites will probably find their social media efforts better spent on other channels. This is not to say that there are not some beneficial aspects of LinkedIn for those retailers. The point here is to select the social channel that most closely aligns with your business goals, which for e-commerce sites, is product sales. LinkedIn is better suited towards professional conversations.

Pinning Your Way to Better Brand Awareness

Pinterest is a quickly growing social media channel, particularly among the female demographic. If LinkedIn is on the most “professional” end of the social media scale, Pinterest is likely on the opposite and most creative end. This social channel works slightly differently than other channels and I often hear, “I just don’t get it,” from clients.

In simple terms, Pinterest allows the user to create “idea boards” or “inspiration boards” from things they find online. Ever hear a motivational speaker talk about creating a “vision board?” That’s exactly what Pinterest allows for, but on a massive scale. It’s like visual hoarding.

So how can businesses reap the visual hoarding benefits? By creating interesting and inspiring content that users want to “re-pin.” The re-pin is the currency of success on this channel. Users must want to save your image or video in a list to reference for later. Pinners can also send pins to one another if they would like to share something interesting with a friend. Therefore, this is the perfect channel for a business whose goal it is to sell more products or raise more awareness.

Service-based companies can also be very successful with this channel by tapping into their customers’ lifestyle interests. For instance, American Cancer Society pins inspirational quotes, healthy tips, Life Lists, and Stories of Hope for their followers to keep spirits high while coping with the realities of cancer. The potential for getting creative with your brand on Pinterest is very high.

Instagram for Businesses

Instagram is another channel that allows for a high level of creativity within a small business brand. While some B2B companies have found ways to be successful on Instagram, a picture sharing network, B2C companies will have lower barriers to entry.

The demographics of Instagram users tend to be females between the ages of 18-29 with one of the most popular activities being the “selfie.” For those who have been living under a rock and don’t know what a “selfie” is, it is a picture that a person takes of themselves usually with their smartphone. While this sounds extremely narcissistic to most professional adults, it can be a huge boon to a company whose target audience happens to be females between the ages of 18-29. Think apparel and beauty products. B2C brands who can encourage their customers to share pictures of themselves wearing the spring line and # tag their brand are tapping into branding gold.

B2B companies can also leverage this network for their benefit by highlighting the brand lifestyle but might find that their target audience is more active on a channel such as LinkedIn.

Hopefully, this post has given you small business owners an idea of which social media channel might be more effective for your business type. While there is a breath of information on each channel discussed in this series, this information should help you to start down the right path to expanding your business’ social presence.

What other social networks do you like to use for business? Share with us in the comments.

Gwen Beren

Author Gwen Beren

Gwen Beren is founder and CEO of Illuminous Marketing, Inc. in Southern California. She is passionate about SEO, social media, and voice search, as well as how consumers adapt to emerging technologies. Follow her on Twitter @IlluminousGwen.

More posts by Gwen Beren

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