While some of your personal New Year’s resolutions might be to exercise more, eat better, drink more water and become more organized, you also need to look at your business goals for 2015, specifically which social media platforms you plan to spend the most time on.
Since it seems Facebook has plans to kill your company page’s organic reach (read that post here), you might want to start thinking about a new social media strategy for the new year. Here are the networks you can skip and which ones you should be paying attention to in 2015.
Avoid LinkedIn Showcase Pages
You probably didn’t think anyone with a background in social media would tell you to bypass LinkedIn, but if you have a consumer product, I’m telling you it’s ok to bypass LinkedIn. But first, let me clarify. You still 1,000 percent need to have a personal LinkedIn account, make connections and occasionally update your status, but spending a lot of time on your business page might not be necessary for you.
You need to fill in the basic information and have employees link their account to the page so people can see you are a legitimate business. But if your customers aren’t looking for your product on LinkedIn it is doubtful you will have much interaction at all. So give yourself permission to put your efforts into a platform that is more beneficial to your business.
LinkedIn launched their Showcase pages in 2014 proclaiming them to be a major enhancement to the company page. Instead, they have been a major headache. Even for a brand like Roundpeg, which is fairly active on LinkedIn, trying to create fresh content for multiple pages, and promote them all to build separate audiences has just not panned out. And to make it worse, you have to ask LinkedIn to delete a showcase page once you have created it. Our advice, steer clear in 2015.
Twitter isn’t for every company either. In my opinion, many businesses should spend more time blogging instead of tweeting. Here’s the deal with Twitter, if you can’t commit to posting on the platform multiple times a day, don’t use it. If you’re willing to make a commitment to Twitter, then keep reading, if not, move to the next section of this post.
If Twitter makes sense for your business you need to set up a separate account which is strictly for your company. DO NOT combine your personal and professional Twitter accounts. Read this blog post to learn how to easily set up your Twitter account and check out this blog post for the best practices for tweeting.
Make sure your account accurately reflects your brand. The worst thing you can do is try to be something you’re not on social media and confuse your audience. Use Twitter to promote events and seminars with custom hashtags, and don’t be afraid to respond to customers using the platform. After all, that’s kind of the whole purpose of using it. Engage with your followers and ask them questions. Share links to other websites that have interesting or fun information your followers might want to know about. Your Twitter account doesn’t have to be all about you 24/7, 365. Again, just make sure your business Twitter account accurately reflects your brand and you’ll be in good shape.
In case you hadn’t heard, Instagram now has more users than Twitter. That doesn’t mean you should drop everything you’re doing and devote your social media marketing solely to Instagram, but don’t count out the platform for your business either. While Instagram isn’t a place for every business, it can be extremely beneficial for some businesses. Companies which specialize in editorial content like fashion, food and architecture (i.e. any business with a heavy focus on photography) have the opportunity to flourish on the app.
However, not all hope is lost for those less glamorous businesses. General Electric has found a way to make a name on the photo sharing platform. They have around 182,000 followers! This is General Electric we’re talking about! Glamorous? No. But with the right photography, they made it work for their brand. Remember, Instagram is about quality, not quantity. The quality of your photos needs to be top notch. Consider hiring a photographer, or make sure your social media manager has excellent photography skills. I’m serious! You need to have someone on your team who already has a creative mindset to turn your not-so-photogenic brand into a thing of beauty on Instagram.
Brands who don’t fit into the stereotypical “Instagram” mold will have to try 10 times harder and be 10 times more creative to make sure their accounts are visually appealing and interesting. Check out what bigger brands in your industry are doing on the platform and see if you can play on their level. If not, it’s not a social media network you should be spending time on, and that’s OK.
Businesses which might not thrive on Instagram because of the creative constraints should consider dipping their toes in the Pinterest pool. Office Depot, Benjamin Moore Paint and Bob Vila share their products in broader categories on Pinterest.
Even local companies like Tish Flooring have interesting Pinterest pages. They sell flooring. Pretty basic. It is hard to pitch to people on Instagram because there are only so many ways you can make a square piece of carpet look interesting. Pinterest lets Tish Flooring get the word out about their products and demonstrate to followers (and potential customers) how they can add style to their home.
Read more about utilizing Pinterest for your business here. Alas, not everyone is right for Pinterest. Chemical engineering companies, heating and air conditioning businesses and law firms shouldn’t bother with a Pinterest account.
We all have a love/hate relationship with Google+, don’t we? There are days when I wonder if it even makes a difference if I post on the platform or not, but I still do. Why? Because even though it’s not a big source of traffic for most businesses, it’s necessary for SEO purposes. Make sure your business has a Google My Business page (Google+ for businesses) and that all of the information is correct. Throw some pictures, blog posts and reviews on the page every month and you’ll be in good shape. The great thing about Google+? It excludes no one.
You might be thinking, “WTF is Ello?” and I wouldn’t blame you. This social media site is relatively new. It launched in September of 2014 and is an invite-only based social media network which has zero advertisements. Zero, zilch, none. In a recent Fortune article, the site was described as a “a network for artists and creative types,” so we’ll see if businesses ever really find a way to utilize it. While no one in the Roundpeg office is active on the platform, we’re interested to see what the future holds for Ello and will continue to keep you up to speed. If you’re interested, here’s a link to request an invitation.
“WTF is Tsu?” was my response to Lorraine when she shared the new social media site with me. The network launched in October of 2014 and while I am not personally using the platform, Lorraine is. Billboard wrote and interesting article about the social network here. Billboard described Tsu as, “the first combined social network and payment platform that lets users maintain ownership of the content they post. Like Ello . . it’s free and invite-only.” The pull to join Tsu is because it contains an algorithm that re-distributes ad sales revenue directly to the source. So essentially, you get paid for the content you create and share. Will Tsu pay off for businesses? I don’t know if anyone can really say, but we’ll keep you posted.
One last bit of advice for planning your 2015 social media strategy: The sole purpose of playing on social media isn’t to win some kind of popularity contest. The purpose of social media is to interact and make meaningful connections with your current and future customers. If you go into planning your social media strategy with that in mind, you’ll have an infinitely better year than your competitors.
Once you’ve figured out where to put your social media resources in 2015, you need to make sure you’re implementing a good strategy. Read our article on how to stop being lazy on social media to develop your plan.