Hey there, so in case you didn’t realize, social media is kind of a big deal nowadays.

I’m not sure where it started, back when I was in middle school I had a MySpace account but I’m sure it started before that. Then seemingly out of nowhere, Facebook was the new shit. You had to get a Facebook, if you didn’t have a Facebook you were lame. I was the last one of my friends to get a Facebook and I hated Facebook. I mean for f*#%s sake it didn’t even let you add music to your profile. Since then, there’s been this social media boom where now people have 5-10 different accounts on different sites that do marginally different things. I’ve never really been the social media butterfly, I have a Facebook now and that’s about all I use but I can see the uses from a business perspective.

These different forms of social media, like business, offer different benefits. Some are primarily used to share images like Instagram, while some are primarily used to share projects like Pinterest. Finding which combination of social media profiles will work for your company can be a bit of trial and error. With this post I hope to give a brief rundown of what each form of social media does and how you can leverage it to benefit your business.

1. Facebook

Did you think I’d start with anything else? Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world right now and I don’t care what business you’re running you need to have a business page on Facebook. Not everybody will visit your website everyday but just about everyone will visit Facebook at some point throughout the day. You can reach these potential clients by posting specials, advertisements, and more on your company’s Facebook page.

Facebook also offers you the ability to “boost” a post which allows your post to reach even people who aren’t following your page. Facebook offers a huge audience of potential clients and it backs that up with some of the best analytics you could ask for. People post their entire life on Facebook, their job, their family size, their interests. Facebook gathers all that information and allows you to target people from certain jobs, certain areas, and more. Not to mention the boost fees aren’t pricey at all. Facebook is probably the cheapest and best form of advertising a business owner could ask for.

2. Twitter

Twitter is probably the second most popular form of social media, it offers an audience that’s just as vast and it also offers the same style of user targeting as Facebook. The nice thing about Twitter is it seems to allows a more personal connection between users. The only downside of Twitter is each Tweets max character length is 140 characters. This downside can be best examined in Donald Trump’s political tweets. I was watching one of my favorite political personalities, Ben Shapiro, talk about one of his most recent twitter rants where he talked about banning transgender individuals from the military.

He pointed out that the time between the first tweet and the second tweet was 9 minutes. He joked that they didn’t know if we were going to nuclear war or what was happening. So you can see how you have to post longer messages in a series rather than one concise post. However the fact remains that Twitter has a huge following and as a business you should have a Twitter account.

3. Instagram

Instagram is another powerful form of social media. Instagram runs exclusively on the sharing of images. It’s a powerful selling tool for companies that are selling physical products. I work with a guy who is a tattoo artist and he posts to it religiously. He’s built up a pretty large following and now instead of having to rely on word of mouth marketing he can simply post pictures to his Instagram and it’s delivered directly to all of his hundreds of followers.

Instagram also has the ability to sell items directly through it’s interface. If you have a piece of clothing you’re trying to sell you can post a picture of it directly on Instagram and someone can buy it directly through Instagram. Content management sites like Shopify offer plugins that allow you to tie your store directly into Instagram so that when you post a new product to your store it also posts directly to instagram. Being able to post a product in one spot and have it automatically disperse to multiple channels is powerful.

4. Pinterest

Pinterest is kind of like a black hole. I used to make fun of my fiance for using it as much as she does until I myself got involved. Pinterest is filled with DIY projects, art projects, ideas for projects and more. Basically how it works is you sign up for an account and then you start “pinning” things to a board. The boards are kinda like playlists, you add a bunch of metal songs to a metal playlist and then you can run through the playlist and hear just those songs. With these Pinterest boards you can browse all of Pinterest and pin as many items as you’d like to your boards so that you can view them later.

My fiance is presently using it to plan our wedding. She has a “Wedding Ideas” board and she’s pinning color schemes, picture ideas, and more to this board so that when we go to make our decisions on these things she can just pull up the board and work off that. Pinterest also now has the ability to be used as a sales medium similar to instagram. Likewise content management systems have built plugins that allow you to push your products to Pinterest once you post them. This is another strong sales tool for business’s selling physical products.

5. Snapchat

Snapchat had to be originally created so that people could send naked pictures to each other. Basically what it is is an app on your phone where you can take pictures or videos of things and send them to people, these pictures are viewed for a limited time and then they go away forever. It even tells you if the person you sent the “snap” to took a screen shot of it or not. Maybe it’s just me but I can’t be the only one who thinks this app was created for that purpose.

Aaannnyyywwaaayyysss Snapchat can be used for business purposes as well. Snapchat can offer your clients an intimate look at what you’re doing as a business. I follow a couple personalities on Snapchat and 3-4 times a week they’ll post snapchats to their “snapchat stories” which everyone who follows them can see and they’ll talk to you, the viewer, directly. They’ll tell you what they’re up to, what they’ve been doing, show you something cool they’ve done or built and then sometimes offer you a special offer.

Snapchat can be alot of work to keep up with but if you’re able to keep up with it, it can help you build a more personal connection with your followers.

6. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a professional networking site. It’s highly geared towards people trying to find jobs, professionals sharing industry knowledge, and things of that nature. Depending on what your business does this can be of great use to you. If you need to find employees or are looking to connect with other businesses then this medium could work out great for you. LinkedIn operates similarly to Facebook in Twitter in that you can post text, images, video to a social feed for others to see. LinkedIn will even tell you if someone has visited your profile and if you pay for the Premium service it’ll give you more detailed reports of who’s been checking out your page.

7. YouTube

Similar to how Instagram operates exclusively on images, YouTube operates exclusively on video. If you’re a company that can best push it’s product through video then YouTube might be the perfect solution for you. I’ve worked with multiple clients in the past who even use YouTube as a source of income. If you can generate enough views on your videos and enough followers on your channel, YouTube will actually cut you a check.

Aside from that, YouTube is a great place to host your video files. Embedding a video from YouTube puts much less strain on the browser than hosting the video on your website. YouTube can be a great place to post video advertisements for your company. Your advertisements can then be viewed on YouTube or you can share them across your other forms of social media. YouTube is owned by Google now too so if you have a Gmail account you already have a YouTube account.

Video is also the first thing search engines look for when they arrive on your website so adding a video advertisement to the homepage of your website can even give you a boost in SEO.

8. Google Plus

Google Plus is a powerful social media device for pumping up your website in local searches. Google Plus prioritizes all of your company’s most important info. It works similar to Yelp in that it’ll display your company info, location, testimonials, pictures, and more. Personally, I believe every business should have a google plus page, it’s super simple to setup and it’s basically just another way your company can show up in a search.

Obviously there are plenty more forms of social media than just the eight I mentioned here. These eight, I feel, are the most powerful and useful to businesses trying to get their name out there. Businesses can use a combination of any of these and more in conjunction with one another to boost awareness of their company. A guy I work with always put it like this, your web presence is like a wheel. Your website is the center, the hub, what connects everything. Your various social media accounts are like the spokes. I see it more like a spider web, the larger your web presence, the more potential clients you can reel in. Similar to the spider you must build your web presence as large as possible to catch as many potential customers as possible. Maybe that’s why they call it the web. OOOOHHHH MAN! Mind blown right? Like there’s no way anybody’s ever thought of that one.

Alright this is my third post of the day so I apologize for that. I’ve just been staring at this screen for a really long time and the mind goes to mush after too long. ANYWAYS I hope this post helped clarify the primary forms of social media and their uses. I’ll be posting more to this blog in the future but for today I am done. If you made it this far congratulations. That was a whole lot of reading.