It’s that time of year to guess what will be more popular in the world of social media. I underscore the word “guess” because no one really knows.
If you are running a business or organization, what do you want to achieve by using social media? Influence? Awareness? Enhanced brand positioning? You must consider your audiences and objectives while ignoring what the crowd is using. If you consider only your own goals and audiences, the right social media channels will make sense.
Social media’s downside.
Social media has always had a downside that’s seldom acknowledged. The life cycle of social media is minutes and getting shorter as the digital environment becomes more crowded. Social media is not a sustainable medium unless worked constantly.
My advice to businesses and organizations is to approach social media in three tiers or priorities. Tier One is highest priority and Tier Three is lowest priority. In other words, just because everyone is on Twitter might not make it a top high priority for your business.
Here are my best guesses for social media that I believe make sense for businesses and organizations:
Messaging Apps. These are digital applications that enable you to reach an incisive audiences instantly, like an association’s members and stakeholders. Business Insider charted the growth in users of the major messaging apps (WeChat, WhatsApp, LINE, Viper and Facebook Messenger) against four established global social media networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn). In the last couple of years, the top messaging apps expanded by 148 percent, adding more than 900-million users.
Google Plus or Google+. Google’s intelligent approach to compete against Facebook has attracted many of the world’s more successful business people and individuals. Sir Richard Branson, the genius who created the Virgin galaxy of successful companies, is active daily on Google Plus. Longtime social media guru Chris Abraham feels that Google+ is a primary channel for business. I agree.
LinkedIn. It is an extremely popular, interactive, engaging digital platform for organizations and business. In my view, it is a must-be place to monitor trends and messages and connect with the right people and audiences. What’s more, “microcommunities” can be created within LinkedIn to enhance digital influence.
Instagram, Tumblr. Both Instagram and Tumblr provide live tweeting or posting of updates. Of course, an organization must first invest time in developing its own audiences and then make certain those audiences are following Instagram and Tumblr.
YouTube. Business and organizations can establish their own communities and develop quality followers on YouTube, but only if used smartly. Videos must be always pass the “WHO CARES!” test. They must be short, relevant, timely and interesting. I urge clients to avoid adding irrelevant and distracting music tracks to videos. There’s nothing more appealing than natural sound.
WordPress corporate blogs. Seems like much of the world is using WordPress. It is the world’s most popular and search engine friendly blog and website platform, commanding more than a 60 percent share. WordPress, properly configured, delivers a competitive advantage, especially when networked with the galaxy of social media channels. BUT, corporate blogs are only as good as the content material, frequency of updates and quality of writing, photos and video. If business blogs are updated fewer times than every day, forget about building a meaningful audience. If the writing is too self-promotional or too PR-sounding, don’t count on a good following. Blogs are for engaging with audiences, interacting with reader comments and extending the reach of other social media initiatives.
Newsle. Newsle.com has grown into a serious social media sharing platform for business. While still limited in popularity, it is a first-rate space to learn what business leaders are doing and learn about emerging trends.
Facebook. A Facebook community for a business or organization requires considerable and constant work. It mandates frequent interacting with audiences in a professional manner.
Twitter. Twitter is showing signs of wear and fatigue. On one hand, Twitter has become the world’s largest rubbish bin for selling trash and self-promotion. On the other hand, any business or organization can find its own audiences on Twitter. It’s a difficult job for most businesses to resist promoting themselves on Twitter when limited to 140 character. Twitter can be good for monitoring respective business sectors or steering audiences to a business blog.