Social Tools Your Business Should Be Using
We all know the big ones: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Instagram (to name just the biggest players in the game; there are plenty more). If you’re not already on one or more of these, you probably have your reasons: too time consuming, can’t find your niche, don’t know what to write, etc. In this digital age, however, a business not utilizing a social networking strategy is a business that is falling behind the times. Here’s a short list of easy-to-use, helpful tools and platforms you may not have considered for breaking into the social world:
Oftentimes the easiest way to know how your business is doing is to ask your customers directly. Survey Monkey allows you to do just that, with a suite of tools to let you analyze and understand just how they see your business. It takes a bit more involvement and knowhow to use, but when used effectively, can be very powerful for learning about your audience. You can either import a mailing list of your own customers, or hand-pick your list from a database provided by Survey Monkey and get right to asking the questions you need to ask about where your business could stand to improve.
Not a platform per se, but a dashboard to help you utilize your current social media. Hootsuite can provide some rhyme and reason to your social efforts. Not only does Hootsuite coordinate and allow you to plan out blog posts, social posts, and tweets, it provides metrics for what your customers are saying and doing that can be invaluable for pursuing your most valuable leads. It’s a great tool for saving time and increasing productivity; however, if you’re not already running at least a few social accounts, Hootsuite loses a bit of its value.
Snapchat for business, you say? Yeah, it can be done. Several companies have been able to take advantage of Snapchat’s limited, short-format pictures and video to generate a huge buzz with their customers. Recently, and perhaps most famously, Audi’s Super Bowl XLVIII campaign of humorous, banal snaps pretty much kick-started Snapchat as a tool for business, garnering 5,500 new followers and causing the largest spike in the app’s use in its lifetime.
The platform has shown itself capable of creating an intimate connection with its users, and businesses are just now finding that they are able to take advantage of that. With only a few seconds to display a picture or video (and maybe some text), it’s probably the least time-consuming social media method out there.
Surprise! I know I already mentioned it up top as a platform you’ve probably already considered, but with the sheer volume of users on Facebook (somewhere in the 1.4 billion range), every business should have a page set up. It doesn’t have to be flashy or complex, but without an outlet on Facebook you could be missing out on potential customers. Even a routine post with some quick text and a photo can increase your visibility and customer engagement by a noticeable amount. It doesn’t even have to be related to what your company does; many Facebook pages get incredible amounts of interaction with posts that are minimally relevant to their products or services.
Aside from simply having an enormous user base, Facebook is also one of the most versatile tools on the web. It lets you visibly promote your brand, allows you to find and be found by your audience, opens a channel to communicate with your customers, and drives traffic to your website for free. Even citing too little time or not knowing what to post, simply having a Facebook page can only really help people to find you and your business.
Bitly was first created as a URL shortener and has now expanded to include a pretty robust system for tracking and analytics. You can create URLs quickly and easily and see which of your links are getting the most clicks, whether those links are in an email, on your website, or in any social sites you may have.
Finally, a quick word of warning before diving in: the social media crowd appreciates knowing what their favorite businesses are up to and want to interact, but they are quick to turn against them if they feel taken advantage of. Social media is necessarily a two-way street, so make sure that you are providing as much value to your customers as they are to you.