Fortunately, social media are no longer viewed as a “kid’s fad.” Two-thirds of internet users have social media accounts. That is about two billion people. This is a huge market to reach, but, amazingly, some companies are still skeptical about putting their business in the tech world. So here are four benefits of social media.
- Connections Are Made
When a company presents itself on social media, it is giving customers a chance to connect with the brand. When a connection is made, consumers are not only more likely to return to your site but also recognize the brand itself and continue to use it.
- Brand Awareness and Loyalty
Each post on any social platform is a chance for consumers to engage with your brand. Once your company builds a following, there will be able to interact with all of your current, new and old customers. There are so many opportunities to share things that can give your followers a chance to react. These positive reactions may lead to website traffic and successful content marketing.
- Social Listening
Social media platforms also enable social listening. Your consumers are liking and commenting on things of value to your business. There is so much customer data to be gathered and interpreted in order to make intelligent decisions for your company social and marketing strategies.
- Increased Site Traffic
The most logical benefit of having social media is to increase traffic to your website. Social media give companies a chance to link back to their sites. Also, social is having a stronger influence on SEO as search evolves – so more engagements could help in the rankings.
It’s been a rough week at Twitter. First came news that Google and Disney, two of the companies thought to be the main competition to purchase the social network, were each no longer interested. That sent Twitter’s shares plunging.
So what’s wrong with Twitter? The most common complaint you hear from new users (and that I hear from my students) is there’s too much of a learning curve to get started and, once you do get the hang of it, the flood of information in the stream is overwhelming.
I still have, as most journalists do, a love affair with Twitter. I feel the need to do my part to help new users understand how to best use the platform. So here’s my Twitter 101 lesson I share each semester with students.
Usernames on Twitter are denoted with the @ symbol. It’s the first big decision you have to make when you join. Here are the questions you should ask and things to consider before choosing your handle.
Your handle is important for personal branding because it will be one of the first things that pops up when someone Googles you.
After you select your handle, it’s time to write your bio.
That last item is really important in terms of being able to find you. Just use your real city name: San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos, etc. As for telling your story, use those 160 characters wisely. Make sure to include information there that will give someone an indication of what you’ll be tweeting about.
For instance, my Twitter feed is typically full of social media news, Texas State activities, journalism issues and hiking pictures. Oh, and my dog. Lots of photos of Lucy.
Once you have your profile up and running, it’s time to learn some Twitter lingo. Here are the most common things you’ll come across.
@: As mentioned earlier, this is the first character of a user’s username. If you insert the @ symbol before a word, it will be a clickable link to that user’s profile.
Tweet: Tweet is both a noun and a verb. An individual post to Twitter is called a tweet. When you use Twitter, you are tweeting.
Mention: A mention on Twitter is using someone else’s username in your tweet. It alerts them that you’re talking about them – unless you’re full of subtweet action.
RT: Retweeting someone is simply sharing their tweet. You have two options here. You can use the auto-retweet function that Twitter provides, which shares the tweet without any additional commentary from you. Or you can Quote Tweet, which gives you the opportunity to add commentary of your own on top of the other user’s tweet.
Hashtag: At its essence, a hashtag is a searchable term. When used correctly, it’s to group together tweets about similar topics and make them easier to find and follow. Some people use it as a punch line or sentence ender, though. Never quite figured that out. #JustSayin.
DM: A DM is a direct message between two (or a group) of users. Twitter has changed the rules for DMs recently, allowing unlimited characters and rich media in your DMs. DMs are the types of tweets that typically get people in trouble. That warning is too little, too late for Anthony Weiner, however.
Favorite: Favoriting a tweet is performed by clicking the heart underneath it. Different people use favorites in different ways. There’s always the most obvious reason to click the heart – because you like what the person tweeted. Others (myself, included) use it as a bookmarking system. (Twitter stores all your favorites to your account, so you can go back and look at the list.) And others use it as a conversation ender. You just click the heart instead of sending back a tweet that says, “Thanks.”
In terms of best practices, I have a few, simple tips.
In the end, it’s important to remember that Twitter is, when you’re using it correctly, like a happy hour. There are lots of people there talking about potentially interesting things. It’s up to you to decide to join in that conversation. And it’s also up to you to decide who you want to talk to/follow.
Whenever I talk with my students, Instagram almost always wins the popularity content in terms of social media networks. It’s easy to see why. Instagram is full of high-quality, creative and inspiring photography with thoughtful captures and is (usually) devoid of the bickering that is pervasive in spaces like Facebook and Twitter.
But Instagram has its own challenges, especially for a new user or someone in social media marketing. So how can you improve at Instagram? You’re in luck – because last week I was at the Online News Association annual conference in Denver, where Instagram’s Lila King shared the most frequently asked questions about Instagram and her advice to tackle those issues.
Question 1: How do I grow my audience faster on Instagram?
Three pieces of advice here: Use location tags (if your photo or video is relevant to a location), post more (King suggested 1-2 posts per day), and have a narrow focus with your posts. If you can become great at a niche, you will build an audience of people expecting more great content from you.
Question 2: How do I get more engagement?
This answer was simple: Video, video, video. Big brands are seeing huge success by posting more videos instead of photos. Bleacher Report, for example, went from a 60:40 photo to video strategy to a 60:40 video to image strategy, and comments went up 63%.
Question 3: What kind of video works best?
King says you have to start with the good stuff. Video view counts after three seconds – so you want eye-catching content at the beginning. Also, make it easy to understand with or without sound. About half the time, people watch without sound, and subtitles can lead to longer watch times. Finally, when in doubt, go square. This is not a hard and fast rule, but if you’re not sure about video orientation, it’s always best to go square. Do so if for no other reason than this: Square videos take up more space when scrolling.
Question 4: How do I find other people’s Instagrams?
There are 95,000,000 things posted every day on Instagram. Use the search function in the app. Take a look at the suggested follows. Search for hashtags. Search location tags. All you have to do is look.
Question 5: What should we do on Stories?
Instagram recently launched Stories, a video and photo feature where the content expires after 24 hours. (Think Snapchat on Instagram.) King says Stories is a great place to experiment. Figure out what your audience might be into and run with it.