The 5 W’s Of Social Media You Need To Know

2014 reflects a drastic change in the direction of social media. Now, more than ever, consumers are wary of businesses and advertisements. As a result, the trust falls to a third party – a brand or person who is not affiliated with the company receiving the promotion. What does that mean for your business? Businesses are encouraged to become their consumers’ friends, chatting about a product or something related, in a manner that is non-threatening, and even enjoyable. The most effective way for a business, no matter the size, to accomplish this is through being present on most or all social media platforms.

More than ever, social media is crucial to access more consumers online.

So if this is the case, why are businesses still reluctant to gravitate to establishing their brand online?

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Who uses Social Media?

The reality is that everyone uses social media. Yes, everyone. Every demographic you can imagine, they use it. And they’re not just logging on, they are actively participating. Data shows that 35% of Americans check brand pages daily as part of their social media, as stated by Radiate Media. Click to Tweet.

What is it?

Social Media used to be online platforms with specific niches where friends came to connect – now it is used heavily by consumers who want to interact with brands and are willing consumers by choice, active in participation. Usually forms of communication, where people post photos, videos, text, and other media, it is also used very heavily to communicate with other users, so interacting with consumers is a priority.

When is it used?

Used primarily in the early morning or late afternoon, certain social media has some very active periods at very specific times, but one of the primary benefits of using social media is that it is a way to interact and connect with consumers at any time of any day. Instead of plastering your message on a billboard and waiting until they’re in a car to notice – or waiting for them to turn on the radio and hear an advertisement – people are almost always glued to their online devices, plugging them into everything online 24/7. As a result, it would be a mistake to not take advantage of this always available form of advertisement – not to mention, it’s completely free.

Where is it used?

That’s the beauty of social media: you can connect to any consumer, no matter where they are. No matter if you are targeting local or international consumers, you are able to target them through “hashtags.”

Simply look for hashtags that suggest the consumers are located in your area (for example, #Orlando), and connect with them.

Why does this benefit you?

The benefits are endless for small or large businesses. Social media promotes brand awareness, customer retention and loyalty, and conversion rates. Not having a social presence is detrimental, as online identity holds more importance as social media use expands. Not having an identity suggests illegitimacy, or lack of care or effort on the company’s part.


Here is a brief run through of the types of social media that are currently driving traffic to businesses, resulting in conversion rates:

Facebook

Facebook has been around longer than most, and as a result, paved the way for a lot of social media platforms that came after. Visually dynamic, you can share stories and photos, creating a visually pleasing and informative fan page that consumers may follow by clicking “Like.” Your posts will appear in your followers feeds as a story – so your timing on this platform is essential. Go for early morning or late afternoon, since over 54% of companies ban Facebook during work hours, as reported by Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing company. Click to Tweet.

Twitter

Tweet Tweet! Twitter’s form of communication is text, with the ability to add on photos or other visual content. But the main form of Twitter communication is text limited to 140 characters – short and sweet. This means that you have to grab their attention fast – and hold it. This makes Twitter your go-to source for of-the-moment news. There is also a “Trending” section on Twitter, where the most current and popular tweets are currently “Trending,” allowing you to jump in a current conversation, make it relevant for your business, and get it noticed.

Google+

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Google+ has been around for awhile, but has only recently boomed in social media. Regardless of its gradual ascension into everyone’s daily social media rounds, it is actually one of the most interactive and capable platforms. Combining the visual components of Facebook with the highly intuitive search ability of Twitter, it is easily one of the most interactive and progressive of all the social media platforms.  Google+ is the first to have the capability to divide people you follow and connect with into different “circles,” allowing you to make separate posts or communication with the desired circle of people. Google+ also distinguishes “liking” a post with a “+1.” This “+” symbol can also be used as a search tag, similar to a hashtag, which are also used.

Instagram

Instagram is completely visual – the layout is unlike any other social media platform. The page layout of a profile is presented as columns of photos, with a layer of text under (but only when you click on it). This allows for a streamlined, easy-to-view layout. Users like photos and follow each other, much like Twitter.  There is a popular page, where the most popular photos of the day are decided by an algorithm, and are posted on one main page, which is updated from anywhere to a couple of minutes to an hour. This also highlights the most current visual topics, from anywhere in the world. Hashtags are the best way to find local consumers on Instagram, much like Twitter, Google+, and in some cases, Facebook.

LinkedIn

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If Facebook is used for connecting socially, LinkedIn is the professional equivalent. It is great for company pages to grow their clientele base, or to simply get their name out there. Lava Khavinson of LinkedIn states: “50% of LinkedIn members are more likely to purchase from a company they engage with on LinkedIn.” Interacting on LinkedIn is similar to interacting with users on Facebook, as users can like the company page, much like a fan page. Click to Tweet.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a very specific form of social media, with a very specific demographic, but can be a great tool for the right audience. Another very visual platform, the creators used the analogy of a bulletin board in the creation of the design. Users “pin” content they love on boards that they designate for specific categories, allowing for an organized flow of content which is retrievable at any time. Typically, Pinterest does very well for companies who are highly visual and design focused, so if it fits your niche, it is ideal to jump on the Pinterest train. Hashtags are not relevant for Pinterest, as the search engine is highly intuitive and picks up keywords unprompted.

It helps to see which platforms are most visual, to least visual, so that you can determine which social media platform is best for your business (see below).

Most Visual to Least Visual (Click to Tweet):

  1. Instagram
  2. Pinterest
  3. Google+
  4. Facebook
  5. Twitter
  6. LinkedIn

Essentially, all social media is modern word-of-mouth. Businesses with the intent of expanding their brand and growth must have an online presence, or begin growing one. A significant amount of people are online, participating with brands, and are here to stay. Social media will only continue to have a large impact on brands, consumers, and their relationship with one another. Start tweeting now, rather than later.