If you’re a marketer or business owner, you probably know that social media is an important way to market your business online and may already have a presence on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. But in the world of social media, nothing stays the same for long. To keep your business on the forefront online, it’s important to stay up to date on emerging social networks that can help you spread the word about your business online. So, we put together this list of seven social media sites for SMBs to watch.
New Social Media Sites to Watch
Several hot new social media sites have launched recently. Will they be the next big things in social media marketing? Only time will tell, but here are a few to keep your eye on.
A stripped-down blogging platform, Medium lets you post content that exceeds Twitter’s 140-character limit but lacks much of the complicated setup of other blogging platforms out there. On Medium, users can read interesting and popular articles, leave notes, and recommend stories they like. Medium is pretty minimalistic and focuses more on your copy (great for SEO!) and less on images (although, images can be used). With a user-friendly Web editor that doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge, anyone can use it to share content about their business online. One potential downside to Medium is that you can’t embed a Medium blog on your website, meaning its potential SEO rank won’t help boost your website like a blog that’s part of your website will.
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Consumers on the go want real-time information about what to eat, see, and do in the local community. Roamz is a local discovery app that lets people use their smartphones see what others are doing nearby by automatically searching other social sites like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It then lets users share their discoveries across their networks. Roamz is launching a social customer relationship tool called Local Measure for businesses that delivers insight about their customers, no matter what social network they happen to be using. This tool helps small businesses identify loyal customers, respond to customer feedback, and retain more customers.
Video is a popular and effective way to market your business and communicate information to your target audience. Viddy lets you shoot a 30-second or shorter video from your smartphone, edit the footage, add special effects and a soundtrack. You can then share your video to your existing fans and followers on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr. There are several ways you could use Viddy for marketing your business online. For example, you could use Viddy to create short customer testimonial videos, product demonstrations, a Q&A session, contests and giveaways, a behind-the-scenes look at your business, or a sample of your company’s culture or community event.
You may have Vine, which is a new social tool from the makers of Twitter, but may not know how to apply it to your business in particular. Vine lets you to create bite-sized, six-second videos that automatically loop over and over (like a GIF) and post them to Vine, Twitter, and Facebook. The Vine app will only record when you are holding your finger on the screen, so you can record a full six-second length video, or you can start and stop your video recording to create a stop-motion style effect for your short videos. You can also select for your Vine to include audio or just play on mute. You can use Vine to create short videos featuring your products or services, tour your store, or just create fun, industry-related videos that engage your audience. Here are a few examples of how some businesses are using Vine to promote themselves online. Similar to Instagram, Vine lets you tag people, create hashtags, and follow and interact with other users. With its popularity growing, Vine is now available on the Android platform and allows you to post your creations to Facebook as well.
Tried & True Sites to Consider
What’s old can become new again in social media. Here are a few seasoned social media sites that may have new marketing opportunities for your business. If you aren’t using them already, here’s an overview of these sites and why you might want to consider using them to market your business.
You may already have a LinkedIn company page, but are you using it fully to your advantage? LinkedIn has evolved from a professional networking site to a major content site that is arguably a top social network for businesses. Users can now follow business pages, similar to how users “Like” a Facebook page to keep up to date with a company. Which means now, there’s a huge opportunity to post helpful content like company updates, photos, links to your blog articles, and product and service information from your company LinkedIn page. Plus, did you know that you can now brand your business with a captivating header image and logo on your company page? Many businesses are also taking advantage of features like the rotating banner images under the Products/Services tab to promote products, services, other social networks, or free tools, with embedded links to their website or landing page. LinkedIn also offers paid ads that lead directly to this tab to boost your traffic there.
Tumblr, a visual micro-blogging platform, is useful for businesses that want to have a visual presence online. Businesses that typically do well on sites like Pinterest or Instagram can also benefit from using Tumblr. Currently, many brands use Tumblr to share everything from product and service photos, events, and company news to instructional tutorials, short lists, and deals and coupons. This blog post from Social Media Examiner features 26 unique ways you can use Tumblr to market your business.
This user-run platform might look overwhelming to an average business owner at first glance. It’s not extremely visually appealing, but Reddit is wildly popular and can help promote your content to new audiences. And, with 71 million unique monthly visitors, there are a lot of eyes you can reach. One of the biggest benefits to Reddit is being able see what is trending among your niche audience. The first step to using Reddit for your business is to join a “subreddit,” or a community based on a topic related to your industry, and use that forum to interact with others by commenting, asking questions, and voting for content. You can also submit relevant content such as blog posts, photos, videos, and other content that users can vote for or comment on, but don’t be spammy. You could be banned if you try to manipulate votes, such as by getting a third party to post your content or by having team members individually submit content and vote only for content posted by others in your company. So, it’s important to be careful and use best practices on Reddit to avoid banishment or community backlash.
What emerging social networks do you have your eye on? And, which oldies have re-sparked your interest lately? Let us know in the comments section.