In this installment of “Back to Basics” we’re tackling the ins and outs of today’s social media landscape.
Social media arose as a way to connect with others online. In its simplest form, social media is an online community of people with similar interests or friend groups who want to interact with each other. Whether a site involves friends, connection, or followers, it makes sharing who you are, what you like (or don’t), and the things you do as simple as a few clicks.
So why are there countless blogs, articles, and opinion pieces extolling the virtues of a strong social media presence? The fact is, when done well, social media is the fastest, easiest, and most effective way to reach your audience online. The internet is filled with people eager to consume content that interests them. It’s your job, as an individual or a business, to supply them with that content and make it easy for them to find and share it.
But not all social media was created equally. Depending on the audience you’re looking for, you’ll need to focus your efforts on specific networking sites.
Each site is its own microcosm of culture, so it’s important to know who your audience is and how to write for them. For example, you wouldn’t use the unique slang found on Tumblr posts when you’re posting to professionally-oriented LinkedIn. Here’s a quick run-down of the most popular social media sites and how best to use them:
- Largest social network, with nearly a billion active users
- Widest variety of people, of all ages and demographics across the world
- Voice on posts should be conversational but professional
- Considered the cultural pulse point of social media
- Use relevant, creative hashtags to make it easier to find/follow your tweets
- 140 character limit on posts, but try to keep tweets under 120 characters for max sharability
- Allows users to connect with other professionals and share content
- Users maintain personal profiles with details of their career, skills, and interests
- Posts should be professional and thoughtful
- Users share content via “The Stream” to different “circles” of friends
- Keep things professional but casual
- Microblogging platform favored by young, creative types
- Sharing involves “reblogs” which are then displayed to those who follow you
- Brands should create fun, engaging content
- Image sharing site that lets users edit and apply filters to their photos
- Favored by the younger demographics, but Instagram posts are often shared to other networks
- Used mostly by females to share content found elsewhere on internet
- Users “pin” content they find interesting to “boards”
In terms of inbound marketing, social media plays a crucial role in attracting and engaging with potential customers. It’s a huge lead generation tool, and one that we specialize in here at Ingenex. Social is great when you want to push users to webpages or other content, like blogs or downloads. A good rule of thumb is to frequently analyze what posts get the most engagement and adjust your future posts so they’re more appealing to your audience.