Going beyond Facebook and Twitter – 5 More Platforms Worth Considering

July 15, 2013

When people discuss social media and networks the first two brands that come to mind are Facebook and Twitter. Facebook has a top Alexa Rank while Twitter comes in at 11 – they are the clear market leaders. An examination of virtually any commercial website shows a prominent placement for their icons and a call to action to “follow” or “like” them. While these are vital links to your end-users, it begs the question, are they the only ones that matter?

Opinions are mixed on this topic.  Even though stats generated from LinkedIn, Google +, FourSquare are underwhelming in comparison, the specific benefits generated from these platforms ought not be ignored. For those who cannot see beyond the big 2, here are some important consideration when developing your social media strategy:

LinkedIn

According to an ROI research, 59% of respondents claim that having a LinkedIn account is more important than any other network. Surprisingly, LinkedIn prefers to be referred as “professional network.” The ability to specifically connect with the people of same profession gives you a chance to interact with like-minded end-users in the same professional network (as well as look up old classmates). Depending on the type of business you run and the relative importance of b2b contacts, LinkedIn might be the way to get to the insiders you need.

Google +

Although Google claims no rivalry between Google+ and Facebook, the comparison is nevertheless inevitable. It’s hard to deny their lack of love for each other either.  These platforms are pursuing the same thing: data and search results.  The absence of advertisements makes Google+ yields a cleaner,  a less cluttered tool. One can easily find what they are looking for. Additionally the powerful feature of “Circles” allows one to post specifically to intended people which is a benefit for G+.  The reality for businesses is the relative search engine market share. Most people search using Google and it is naïve to think that Google won’t reward those who use their networks.  Sometimes, page hits are secondary to just having well crafted posts available for indexing.

Youtube

Video can be a powerful if used properly. That may explain Google’s decision to buy the biggest video hosting service, Youtube. In fact, Youtube it is the second largest search engine on the planet after Google itself. It is a great tool to share educational, advocacy and instructional videos. A word of caution, like other outlets, it is important that the customized channel is properly populated with rich content in an ongoing basis.

Pinterest

A rather new player in the game, Pinterest has gathered a huge following. The strongest argument in Pinterest’s favor is its higher concentration of eager consumers as compared to Facebook or Twitter.  This can be partially attributed to the concentration of sharing products and product uses rather than personal or professional information.  If you have a service like a health club or gourmet food store, Pinterest can be a great tool for letting people know how they can use the products and services.  These personal endorsements are an incredibly compelling marketing tool.

Foursquare

For those of you unfamiliar with Foursquare, you are missing out on a huge marketing platform for your bricks and mortar business. Foursquare allows its users to “check-in” whenever they visit a physical location (and let all their friends know where they are). Moreover rewards in the form of badges facilitate an incentivized version of the yellow pages. The badge and ranking system foster loyalty and provides return visits which is key for any business.  Foursquare is the best way to engage and reward your most loyal customers.

Not every platform is right for every business. It is important to make sure you get in front of your audience wherever they are. Demographic trends illustrate discreet platform usage. Once preliminary research indicates who your primary audience is, where they are and how to optimize engagement, the next step is to develop a comprehensive strategy that encompasses both the well known and specialized platforms best suited to engage and cultivate your target audience.

 

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