Before anything else, we want to say that we’re big believers in social media.
We believe that in most cases, companies, no matter its size, benefit from social media – social media communication channels are incredibly powerful when used correctly. And for some brands – say, Coca-Cola, for example – social media makes a lot of sense. But we’re not talking about Coca-Cola, we’re talking about your company. What social media should you be investing in? What’s going to get you the biggest bang for your buck?
Let’s talk about the four major social media channels, and their strengths and weaknesses.
This popular micro-messaging platform is now home to more than 105 million registered users – the majority of whom signed up for accounts, and promptly abandoned the service. Consumer brands, celebrities and the geeknorati do particularly well on the platform. B2B companies have enjoyed moderate success, mostly using it to promote blog entries, new products, awards, industry-specific articles, and company news. Twitter’s unique – and very public – social graph can be perfect for a company, whose customers might want to stay current on news, but not necessarily become friends with you on Facebook. The two most popular companies on Twitter are GoogleNBA (1.8M followers) and Whole Foods (1.7M followers).
Facebook is the ubiquitous social network of choice for much of the world. That said, companies have had mixed success on Facebook. The platform is still very much a closed ecosystem: People go there to talk to their friends, not to conduct business. Facebook has tried hard to overcome that perception, releasing new tools designed specifically for businesses. Like Twitter, consumer brands perform better on Facebook than B2B firms. The three most popular companies on Facebook are Facebook itself (9M fans), Starbucks (7.2M fans) and Coca-Cola (5.5M fans).
The granddaddy of video-sharing networks. At 5 years old, it’s currently serving up 2 billion videos every 24 hours. That’s roughly equivalent to 23,000 videos every second. The average company most likely has a smattering of videos on YouTube. These might include an on-stage interview with an executive at an industry event, a product demonstration, commercials or – for the more ambitious – a viral video. Some of the more successful viral video campaigns on YouTube include Evian’s roller-skating babies (23M views) and Microsoft’s Project Natal product announcement (1.1M views). Big brands that do well on YouTube are generally content generators, such as the Universal Music Group (1.1M subscribers), CollegeHumor.com (890K subscribers) and FailBlog.com (867K subscribers).
In a land before time, there were blogs. One of the earliest forms of corporate communication, blogs still make a lot of sense today. They’re a good place for companies to write longer position pieces, comment on their industry, and talk about trends. Some of our favorites include the Zappos blog, the Sharpie blog, and the Google blog.
So: What should you be investing your time in? For most of our clients, our answer is generally all of the above. We encourage our clients to begin writing an interesting and engaging blog, and post quick, punchy videos on YouTube. For the more ambitious, we suggest an active and conversational Twitter feed, and experimenting with Facebook.