Twitter boasts around 500 million active users sending 340 million tweets daily. More than 900 million people sign in to Facebook every day, spending an average of 15 hours per month on the site.Â Â YouTube has 490 million unique visitors per month, and they watch 2.9 billion hours of video every month.
Social media has worked itself into the fabric of our everyday life, and the potential for customers new and old to see your brand via these social media channelsÂ (and a few others) are very high. Each one is free. If you’re not representing your brand on social media, you’re missing out.
Learn more about some of the best, free but far reaching social media giants on internet that all business must consider for brand management.
Arguably the largest and most heavily used social media platform is Facebook. Virtually every industry targeting any age group or gender can find their target market on Facebook, where grandmothers “like” photos of their teenage grand kids and bosses comment on their employees’ photos. Using Facebook Pages, which were introduced for businesses in November 2007, you can personalize your Facebook presence and target the segment of Facebook’s widespread demographic user that applies to your business.
Facebook Pages let you integrate your brand seamlessly into the platform. Big, bold cover images allow you to show off your brand “personality”, and status updates, photo albums and polls can let you develop your brand voice and interact and engage your customers. Facebook allows you to customizeÂ Â “apps”, or tabs you’re your Page to highlight products, run contests, add disclaimers or show off a variety of other content. Facebook Offers for fan pages, which is a free service for Facebook page admins, is one of the newest features available to build your brand. The Facebook Offers feature is as easy as posting a status update, and is a great way to promote a new product or service.Â Â Fans redeem Facebook Offers via their smartphone or from an email that’s mailed to them after they get the offer.
The second largest social media heavy hitter is Twitter, a micro-blogging platform in which users send 140 characters into their “stream”. Anyone can read the messages, called “tweets”, but registered Twitter users can follow others, respond to tweets and forward their friends tweets to their own stream (a practice known as “retweeting”.)Â Â Twitter’s demographic is a bit more limited than Facebook – 35% live in urban areas, the median age is 31 and users tend to have a lower income than Facebook users. The lingo might sound funny – and the platform might sound confusing – but Twitter is one of the most powerful ways to monitor what people are saying about your brand in real time and address issues before they turn into a major PR problem.
To use Twitter to build your brand, search for and follow users who are your target market and location. Make sure you monitor your mentions and search for keywords applying to your business.Â Â Create lists (another great Twitter feature) with other businesses in your industry, other local businesses or national industry news outlets or brands, and retweet interesting articles; this can help you build your industry expertise. There are many Twitter management platforms available, such as TweetDeck and HootSuite, to make the hefty job ofÂ Â monitoring Twitter easier by letting you display columns of streams (such as mentions, specific lists or retweeted messages) on one screen.
If a picture says a 1000 words, how many words can a video deliver? YouTube has silently answered that question by growing leaps and bounds since its start in February 2005. Companies are finding this video sharing site, on which users can upload, view, and subscribe to, comment on and rate videos of all types – from professional shot and editing pieces to music videos to amateur smart phone videos.
Build your brand on YouTube by thinking outside the realm of traditional head shot interview pieces or scripted marketing videos. Video blogging, or vlogging, is a great way to establish your company’s voice and show the personality behind the brand. Product demos can give your customers the “try it before you buy it” look at your products that could tip the scales in the favor of a sale. How-to videos can show your customers you’re an expert in your field, and as an added bonus, are the type of videos social media fans love to share with their friends. The majority of videos out there aren’t professionally made, so don’t let the technology of video editing keep you away from using YouTube to build your brand – all you need is a webcam and an outline!
An added bonus of using YouTube is increased search engine rankings. After Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in November 2006, YouTube videos started showing up quite often in searches, and have become increasingly weighted. YouTube videos not only let your customers get to know your brand, but they can also bring new customers to you through search engine traffic.