The Best Social Media Channels in 2014

Social media is an ever-changing animal. Whist the old stalwarts – Facebook and Twitter are still as popular as ever, there are now some new kids on the block in the social media world that you should be aware of if you want to market yourself in the best way possible.

There's no doubt that social media has become more visually focused in the last couple of years. The surging popularity of sites like Pinterest and Instagram are proof of this. To be able to properly market yourself, it's recommended to use a mix of social media platforms that are best suited to your business. This enables you to get maximum exposure whilst also showing off the different facets of your business.

Below are the best social media channels in 2014 :-

 

Twitter

 

Twitter remains one of the leading names in the world of social media and for good reason. Twitter gives anyone an invaluable way to connect with others with the same interests and for businesses it's a great way to engage with customers and provide simple customer support in a way that's cost effective and direct.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter has mostly been able to avoid negative press and therefore it has remained incredibly popular whilst still providing the unique user experience that made it so popular to being with.

 

Pinterest

 

There was a time when many people were saying that Pinterest was just a flash in the pan and that it's popularity would soon wane. Those people have certainly had to eat their words by now as Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media sites out there.

What makes Pinterest so appealing for casual users as well as businesses is it's unique interface and the ability to share not only your own pictures but also those created by other users. Pinterest is different to other photo sharing sites like Instagram in that you can group pictures you find online into themed boards. It's this feature that is part of what's made the site so popular with its userbase.

Pinterest might not naturally lend itself to business marketing as much as some other social media platforms but it remains one of the leading social media sites around.

 

Instagram

 

Instagram has gained huge popularity in the last couple of years. Whilst most of the media reporting around Instagram is about celebrities using the platform to share candid pictures, it's actually a great platform for businesses to market themselves.

A big part of what makes Instagram so appealing from a marketing perspective is how well it integrates with other social media sites, particularly Facebook. It's incredibly easy to share Instagram pictures on your Facebook wall by connecting the two accounts.

Instagram works best for businesses that have a very strong visual appeal. For example if you work as a graphic designer then Instagram is perfect for sharing any sketches of concepts that you've been working on. The companies that do best on Instagram are those that use it as creatively as possible and share only the best content possible.

 

Facebook

 

Whilst Facebook might have suffered from a lot of bad press in the last few years, it still has the largest user base of an social media platform. This means that it cannot be ignored when you're looking to create a social media presence for your business.

Facebook pages are incredibly easy to create and are perfect for sharing almost any type of media – whether it's link, pictures or videos. When you're looking to start creating a social media presence for your business then Facebook is still a perfect place to begin.

 

YouTube

 

YouTube is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to social media. It feels separated from the usual names you associate with social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram . However YouTube actually presents a fantastic opportunity for marketers to generate interest in their products or services.

To be successful using YouTube as a marketing platform does take a good deal of knowledge on how the site works however. It's worth bearing in mind that people do not go visit YouTube to have products sold to them. Anything that's too obviously focused on marketing a product is not going to succeed. Instead it's much better to use YouTube as a way of providing valuable content.

Google+

 

Google+ has certainly had a good deal of ups and downs since it was first launched but at this point it's safe to say that it's a success. Whilst it might not offer a huge deal that's different to other social media platforms – it has been widely adopted in the last few years, especially by businesses.

It's now heavy integration with YouTube and the ability to host live Google Hangouts there means it's likely to continue growing in popularity in the next few years.

 

 

Using Social Media Effectively

 

As important as which social media platforms to use, is knowing how to use social media effectively. Below are some tips to help you get the most from your social media efforts -

  • Use Analytics – It's always important to track your key stats on social media so you can be sure your efforts are effective. Nearly every site will enable you to track all key metrics.
  • Devise a Posting Schedule – This is very important. It can be easy to be discouraged from using social media if you don't see the level of growth you'd like straight away. By having a regular posting schedule you'll be able to naturally grow your following in a way that's sustainable in the long term.
  • Only Share Great Content – This is absolutely key. The best way to grow a following on social media is by only sharing great content. Great content can be defined as 'content that other people will want to share'.
  • Build Relationships – This is another key aspect of using social media effectively. Building relationships will help you to expand your following and gain authority in your particular niche.
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