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  • Writer's pictureDiana Pressey

The Parklife Guide to Social Media Platforms for SMBs: Part 2

Continuing in the vein of my last post, the role of social media in modern marketing is indispensable. While my previous post explored the most popular platforms, bigger is not always better. If you’re strategic enough to be effective, you can be successful on any platform. And those with fewer users may be less flooded with content. With less competition, it can be easier to stand out.

Here’s a breakdown of four social media platforms that aren’t quite as popular as top dogs like Facebook and Instagram, but still have plenty of merit as marketing tools in their own right.

1. LinkedIn

As the largest business networking site globally, it might seem like professional Facebook at first glance. But in truth, LinkedIn -- which boasts over 560 million users -- can also be a valuable tool for publishing, recruiting, research, and branding.

Who’s on it: Over a quarter of U.S. adults, with fewer women than men and more users with a college education than those with high school or less. Usage is higher among black and white adults than other ethnic groups. Most of the people on LinkedIn are between the ages of 25 and 49, and usage rises in urban areas and with higher household income.

What you should know: LinkedIn marketing can be especially powerful because of the power of networking. People tend to trust word-of-mouth marketing the most out of any type, and that’s pretty much all LinkedIn is. You can build connections through existing connections to promote your company page, which should be fully fleshed out, and you should be posting at least once a month to drive traffic to your page and back to your website. Your company page should have a cover image and logo, a thorough description, details, and page administrators. Encourage your employees to enter in the workplace so it links back to your page. When it comes to the content you share, it's important to know your audience, and craft it based on the users who engage with your posts on other sites. Make sure to publish strong content, including images and video -- LinkedIn automatically plays YouTube videos on its feed, which tend to generate 75% more shares for posts. And don’t forget to take advantage of LinkedIn groups to network with other industry professionals and drive more traffic back to your page.

2. Snapchat

Snapchat is one of the most youthful social media networks, and it’s not necessarily the best tool for every company. But keep in mind that over 3 billion Snapchats are sent per day, users view over 10 billion videos daily on Snapchat, and 76% of Snapchat users are also online shoppers. Some companies see great success through its advertising capabilities, while others garner views on the Snapchat stories they post.

Who’s on it: 73% of 18-24 year-olds, and almost 1 in 4 adults. It's relatively equally used across racial and ethnic groups, but it is more commonly used by urban than rural adults. Education doesn't make a difference, but its usage is inversely correlated to income -- as income rises, Snapchat usage diminishes.

What you should know: Snapchat enables users to send disappearing photos, videos, and text messages, while also allowing them to post stories, save memories, and overlay their content with filters, stickers, emojis, text, and doodles. There’s also a Discover page, where users can browse content from various media and watch their friends’ stories. Your profile picture will have to be comprised of photos you take in the moment, so branded products or anything with your logo on it is a good choice. You should also create a custom branded Snapcode that links back to your website and fits your brand, such as your logo outline, by uploading it from your camera roll under settings, or a web editor. And that’s just the beginning. Snapchat has such diverse capabilities and such a unique layout, you might want to check out this more in-depth guide to get a fuller feel for the platform. Don’t forget your ability to advertise across video content in the Discover page. But above all, stay authentic across all your content -- it’s what Snapchat users tend to value most.

3. Twitter

While it has declined in popularity in recent years, those who are active users are often extremely active, retweeting, liking, and replying to Tweets that fit their interests. Brands like Denny’s, Moon Pie, and Wendy’s are known for their success as a result of their idiosyncratic, conversational, and entertaining voices.

Who uses it: 22% of adults, with slightly more men than women, and higher use among hispanic and black adults than white ones. It's most popular among 18-24 year-olds, and use declines as age brackets get higher. It's more popularly used by those with higher household incomes and levels of education, and it's used more in urban areas than rural.

What you should know: With its direct user design, Twitter can be a highly useful way to engage users on a personal level. This does come with a downside: It’s also very easy to get sucked into feuds or open the floodgates to a slew of nasty Tweets if anyone in your company acts up. Twitter users are direct, never hesitating to tell brands exactly what they think. It’s also a very fast-moving platform, with the average Tweet only remaining relevant for 18 minutes. Your logo, header, and bio should be cohesive while conveying brand personality. Use 1-2 hashtags for optimal success, use Twitter advanced search with industry terms to find Tweets you can respond to, and make sure to Tweet on weekends, when engagement is highest. As usual, images and video are the most successful types of content, as do interactive Tweets incorporating polls. Interaction and direct communication are key -- you can focus on influencers and customers for the best results. Tweet frequently, and keep your content short and sweet. Follow relevant users, engage with relevant content, retweet media mentions, and always keep your audience's best interests in mind. If you’re responding to individual complaints, direct messages can be a strong tool to make them feel heard and decrease the likelihood of them bad-mouthing your brand in the future.

4. Reddit

Reddit is one of the toughest nuts to crack when it comes to social media marketing, as it’s not that highly populated, and many users are inherently distrustful of brands. Many have failed. But when you do it right, it can be extremely rewarding due to the high amounts of traffic and replication content can receive. Again, this one’s not for everyone.

Who’s on it: Only 11% of U.S. adults, with twice as many men as women and higher usage among white and Hispanic adults. It's most commonly used by people ages 25-29, with use decreasing as the brackets increase. Interestingly, Reddit is most commonly used among suburban adults rather than urban or rural. But like other platforms, it's more popular among those with higher education levels and income.

What you should know: Reddit is, in essence, a knowledge- and content-sharing platform. On it, users can share their personal experiences as well as informative or entertaining media in forums called subreddits. Users make posts and comments that other users can interact with, either upvoting, downvoting, or replying. Reddit differs from other social media in that the content and interaction is the primary focus, rather than the individual. Users can’t follow one another -- though they can chat and reply to one another’s comments -- and whether a user’s post is seen depends on a combination of their karma, or how much engagement their posts and comments have received in the past, and how organically successful the content is within that subreddit. There are pretty much two ways to go with Reddit marketing: You can either target subreddits with tailored content to reach specific audiences, or attempt to get your content on the front page. The former is far easier than the latter. To attain high traffic through Reddit, you should research subreddits and their content, post high-quality content between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m., and send it to friends to see if they’d like to comment (but don’t necessarily tell them to upvote, lest you end up banned like the Atlantic. Learning from other business’ past wins and failures is a good way to ensure your efforts are more successful.

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