Social isn’t “social” anymore; it just got commercial. Prominent social media networks understand the collective intent of businesses that are working to expand their presence on social media. For businesses, all of that social activity has to mean something tangible (like profits or sales). Social media networks won’t have much of a business model if they can’t let businesses use the collective potential of billions of people going social, discussing brands, and sharing information.
Inherently, social media networks do have value already. Twitter is efficient when it comes to distribution of information while Facebook works great for B2C type companies. LinkedIn has long been the “go to” network for anything to do with business – from brand building to engagement; from hiring to networking; from information sharing to making deals. Pinterest is an incredibly efficient traffic driver if you can make your content marketing visual.
If you are a local business, your Facebook fan page can work on the double while yelp.com and FourSquare.com can give your local business a much-needed push.
Yet, there’s more to social media networks today than, say, just a few years ago. Almost all prominent networks have found ways to provide more value for businesses. Here’s how:
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
LinkedIn already had LinkedIn Ads to allow you to take advantage of sponsored updates, reaching out to a professional audience, and leverage precision B2B targeting by using various advertisements formats and within your own specified budget. LinkedIn, however, has more in store for businesses.
Offering a full suite of marketing solutions, LinkedIn is now aiming to make your marketing campaigns complete with the likes of sponsored updates. It’s content marketing gone social on the world’s largest and most popular professional social network. Create content to share it with professionals most interested in your offerings. You can also leverage the LinkedIn feed to drive direct engagement to your updates.
LinkedIn now adapts to your marketing budget and gives you a self-service platform to run your ads to sponsor an update (using your content already published elsewhere or on your blog).
You can pay on a CPC (Cost per Click) or a CPM (Cost per Impressions) basis by setting your daily (or total) budget. You can also set the time frame for the updates to show up.
For B2B marketers and businesses, LinkedIn offers a focused, tight, and professional target audience for your advertisements or updates.
Facebook Embedded Posts
With the new feature of being able to embed posts on your website (in beta with only a few selected publishers currently), Facebook literally gets all over the place. Websites will now have active Facebook post content on your websites or posts or other pages while users can interact, like, share, or comment on these posts just as they would if this post were on Facebook.
That’ll change the way you use websites and Facebook fan pages forever. According to Ginny Soskey of Hubspot.com , you can use this feature for injecting steroids into your Facebook contests, events, and sweepstakes. You can deploy interactive press releases, and feature recaps of Facebook chats on your website.
Your home (read website) is where the “social” is going to be.
Twitter for Business
Twitter finally means business. Thanks to its expansive network and extensive web marketing solution set, it’s all set to make your tweets count towards profitability. Porsche already reports an 85% increase in engagement while Hubspot reports %150 increase in sales. Twitter ads work as promoted trends, accounts, and tweets.
You’d pay only when people follow your promoted account or tweet while your organic or regular Twitter activity is never charged. Obviously, you also have access to an in-built analytics dashboard to help you keep your pulse on the numbers.
Does Pinterest have anything for business? That’s exactly what Pinterest is planning for the future. The platform aims at tasteful, professional, relevant, and transparent promotions for businesses.
Pinterest, however, already has a lot for all kinds of businesses. Rich Pins, for instance, lets users interact with all sorts of updates. Rich Pins are now available are movie, product, and recipe pins. Even content (articles) can have pins. Pinterest also has analytics, the “Pin It” button, and a widget builder that marketers and business owners can make use of.
You might want to check out a few examples on how some businesses use Pinterest. For content rich business, see how WikiHow uses Pinterest to build its brand.
Is Pinterest a part of your marketing strategy yet?
Do you think other social media channels have anything to offer for your marketing? You’ll be surprised at what comes up as the answer. Allen Gannett notes how these five brands are using Instagram, which just hit 150 million users for their marketing.
Tumblr can very well be your parallel blogging channel since it helps you to think visually, share more, get found using tags, and build your network (in addition to other popular social networks). Depending on your business, you could look to flourish on Yelp.com, Quora.com, and on Foursquare.com.
Social media channels can work as independent advertising channels. Apart from that, social media networks are already the hotbed of engagement, conversations, and small talk on anything related to your business niche, brands, products or services.
Most of what you do on social media requires you to produce content that matters. It also means exemplary levels of engagement and value. Yet, at times, social media channels also provide you with a way to directly promote your products and services.
Which of these social channels do you use for your marketing? Have you tried any of the above-mentioned methods yet? If yes, would you like to share your experiences with me?
Image Source – flickr