Social Media Sites to Build Your Brand October 23, 2012

By Stephen Fashoro

Social media has become a very important part of American culture. Through these sites, users can connect with friends, family and share ideas and information with others around the world. Social media has also become an essential tool for businesses to connect with current and potential customers. While Facebook and Twitter are still two of the most popular social networks, there are others that continue to grow in popularity that can offer businesses a new avenue to reach their audiences.

Here are a few social networks that are rising in popularity and garnering millions of followers.

Visual is taking over and Pinterest is leading the charge. Pinterest is­ a visual bookmarking social network that provides a great avenue for businesses to showcase their brand and company culture. Pinterest allows users to post or “pin” photos of things they like, creating a virtual pin board, and “follow” pin boards created by others. Users can also “re-pin,” comment on and “like” other user’s pins. Pin boards are often centered around hobbies, interests, events, and other brand/industry-related things. Pinterest for companies and brands is all about being creative and figuring out what resonates with your target audience and how to engage them visually. Southwest Airlines is a great example of a company using Pinterest effectively.

 

Instagram is another social network that’s capitalizing on the visual trend. This mobile app allows users to take photos, apply a “cool” digital filter, and then share those photos with their followers on Instagram. The app is also integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flickr, and Tumblr, so you can share photos on multiple social networks straight from Instagram. And, the best part is you don’t have to be a great photographer, the app does all the work. Companies can use Instagram in a similar fashion to Pinterest – to showcase their brand and company culture.  They can take and share photos of projects, staff, events, and other things that represent their brand. Sharing photos like these can make your company seem much more human and engaging. The more you get people to like your company/brand, the more likely they will want to do business with you. Take a look at Nike’s Webstagram page to get an idea of what they are doing with Instagram.

 Google+ is another social networking tool that companies can use to connect with customers and clients. There are mixed emotions about Google+ and the jury is still out on how widely adopted it will become, but there are some definite advantages to this site. Google+ is built around the concept of circles. You can set up a circle for friends, family, co-workers, customers, business partners, prospects, and communicate with all of your circles or limit your posts to go to just one of your circles. Below are two Google+ features that companies can benefit from:

1. Google+ Pages: businesses can set up their own Google+ page. This provides companies with a great way to showcase themselves in front of general Google search users and their Google+ contacts. A company page is a great way to build a relationship with current and potential customers by sharing links, photos, promotions, and insights into your company. Even if you aren’t going to update your page regularly, it’s a good idea to go ahead and create one – it can help your SEO.

2. Google+ Hangouts: allow users to conduct free video conferences with up to 10 people. Companies can use this feature to hold small meetings with clients and co-workers from the convenience of their desk or home. During the Hangouts, the person talking is highlighted on the screen and other participants show up in a row along the bottom of the screen.  Find out more about Hangouts here.

Check out the social media sites I’ve mentioned above and let me know if you think any of them can help you reach your target audience/customers. And, if you want to find out how your company can leverage these sites or social media in general to reach your audience, Open Channels Group can help. I’d love to hear from you, tweet me at @stephenfashoro or comment below.

 

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