You may be under the impression that you don’t need a social media platform to connect with your clients. Maybe you’ve built up your own list of friends and family, or maybe you think you can just reach your customers through other forms of media, like direct mail, telemarketing, or cold calling. If so, think again! It’s no secret that businesses of every size are turning to social media to grow and strengthen their businesses. The following is a brief guide to what some experts consider to be the top social media platforms for business owners.

Not All Social Media Platforms Are for Every Business

Almost everyone probably remembers back in 2014 when the World Wildlife Fund used social media to give an inspiring lesson on wildlife conservation by using Snapchat in its social networking campaign called #LastSelfie.

Snapchat is a photography app that allows users to view shared pictures and videos for a few seconds before they are automatically deleted. Thus, this action mimicked the real threat of disappearance that plagues animal populations today. The campaign was a real call to action for the environment. It was also a call to action to social networking and marketing specialists that limited their social media marketing campaigns solely on Facebook or Twitter. Take note that Snapchat’s audience is made up mostly of young females up to the early ’20s as well as young teens, one of the hardest target markets to reach.

Social Media Platforms Outside of Facebook and Twitter Are Just As Viable

Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look at three growing social media platforms that may be still far from being the next big thing but are still making an impact against data-hungry platforms that have a hard time “privatizing” private communities.

Snapchat

Because of its unique feature explained earlier, many brands and companies see this as a liability rather than an advantage, even in a very limited form. This doesn’t have to be so. Instead of fitting long descriptions on time constricted viewing, other angles can be used to bring off a message. A fast glimpse for a new and upcoming product, a suspense-filled video, or an invitation to meet on other social media sites can all be cleverly implemented or improved upon. The sender has the option to control how long a picture is viewed, from one to 10 seconds, so some effects can come into play.

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Surprised? You shouldn’t be if you’re a real social media marketer who’s been doing their real homework. It is a social networking site that caters to mostly millennials due to its use of humorous GIFs. Wouldn’t you just love to target millennials as one of your niche markets? If you’ve been hiding in a cave with your laptop, millennials are those born in the ’90s up to the first decade of the 21st century. With its wide visual content possibilities, this is actually the platform of choice for some proven brands like Kraft. You can do storytelling and tutorials on this site.

These Social Media Platforms Have One Thing in Common: Visual Images

Instagram

Actually now considered one of the great social media sites, this platform allows you to show a curated version of your brand. Probably the best example of a really good Instagram user today and how she projects herself and her image is Taylor Swift. And this is how most teens and millennials (There you go, millennials again, see the trend?) by showing stylized images of whatever you want. The name of the game is intimacy with yourself or your brand.

Other Social Media Platforms for Business Owners

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is hands down the most popular social media platform for professionals. The site boasts nearly two hundred million users who regularly post tips, connections, articles, and other musings. LinkedIn allows you to easily search profiles by keywords, geographic location, and industry preferences as a professional networking site. If you’re looking to expand your network and meet new people, this is one of the best platforms out there.

It allows you to keep in touch with people who are important to you, and it’s easy to contact them. As you gain more experience, it’s important to build your network. Ask your colleagues and clients to add you to their LinkedIn account, so your network grows with ease.

Twitter

Twitter is currently the most popular platform for online entrepreneurs. Every day, thousands of entrepreneur’s post updates, giving their followers a chance to get to know them and learn more about what they’re doing. Asking your followers to follow you on Twitter is a great way to market your website since you can interact with your customers from within the platform.

This is perhaps the quintessential microblogging site. Like LinkedIn, Twitter allows you to search, follow, and reply to conversations within your industry. It’s important to keep in touch with current customers, and with the news, Twitter can be an invaluable source of information for business owners.

Facebook

Facebook is the latest, greatest way to update your business. Like LinkedIn, you can search, follow, and connect with others in your business. It’s also important to remember that Facebook is primarily a social networking site. So, it makes sense to focus your efforts on connecting with the folks who can help your business grow. Schedule posts and share stories related to your business on Facebook.

Facebook is by far the largest and most well-known social media platform. Like Twitter, it’s easy to start conversations with your current customers, as well as connect with your future customers. Keep in mind that Facebook is a platform for connecting with prospects and not a platform for selling. Be careful not to fill your Facebook page with unrelated posts, or else you could easily be penalized.

YouTube

Like LinkedIn, YouTube is also a great way to connect with others in your field. But unlike LinkedIn, YouTube is all about the videos. If you have a short video or several videos, you can really boost your presence. Schedule and share your videos at appropriate times to keep your fans engaged.

Google+

Google+ is one of the most popular social media platforms that help businesses advertise on a particular platform while using the best form of advertising. The best way to start off using these platforms for advertising is to set up an account on each of the sites and then ensure that your business’ information is posted regularly on your personal page on Facebook and the page for your company on Twitter. This will help you keep a tab on the conversations going on about your products. This will also help you know how to react to any particular feedback you might receive from Facebook or Twitter users. With Google+, it is easier for a business to promote themselves using the micro-blogging facilities provided by these platforms.

Google+ lets you curate your own personal news feeds, so it’s important to choose the groups that interest you. Watch news videos on your business website, or schedule them to come up when you have time.

Digg

Digg is all about the news. Businesses can add news links to Digg so that customers will find them in quick order. You’ll want to make sure your business is active on this social networking site. Be sure to stay on top of breaking news and collect ideas for new news stories.

Digg is still one of the most popular sites because it allows you to post a summary or the full story of what has been published in the paper or blog. In this way, you can make quick news and information available for the people. Even though various competitors try to dominate the news on Digg, it is still the most popular search engine that all Internet users use to find out something new.

The reason why Digg is so popular is because of its no-follow feature. This simply means that it won’t gain any followers no matter how many times you will post. It is for this reason that almost all business owners get into Digg. They use Digg as their main source of online publicity to give information about their products and services to their target customers. Another reason why every business owner can use Digg is a large amount of traffic from the search engines.

Pinterest

Pinterest is all about the pins. If you have an Instagram account, consider updating it with Pinterest posts. These pins can include product links or information about your business. The great thing about using Pinterest as part of your marketing strategy is that you can easily repost any of your content, so your followers will always know where to go.

Twellow

Searching through Twellow is easy because you just enter your keyword, and the search engine will do the rest. Look for keywords related to your business and see what comes up. Be sure to keep these keywords close to the heart of your business so you don’t waste energy with irrelevant search terms.