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Social Media for business: 5 new channels to explore

 by wai on 13 Mar 2014 |
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Social Media is a great way for business owners to build a community around their customers and products. It lets your customers stay up to date with important information and allows you to show a ‘personal side’ to your brand identity.

There are of course, so many social media channels out there and new ones popping up every day. For most business owners, they’ll have an idea about which channels will be most effective in communicating with their target audience. Facebook and Twitter are quite common and some of the more popular channels to start with, while a B2B provider will usually opt towards Linkedin to connect with potential clients. Meanwhile, if a company regularly produces video content,  a YouTube channel is a must-have.

But what about other channels? Instagram, Pinterest, even Snapchat - can businesses really use these new mediums in their social media strategy – you bet they can!
Here are some ideas that other brands have tried for your inspiration.

The Snapchat ‘sneak peek’

SnapChat lets users share photos that ‘self-destruct’. Popular with teens (not just for the potential of ‘racy’ photos like many adults think!), Snapchat allows its younger base to experience more private moments – that snoopy parents can’t infiltrate.
So how are businesses capitalizing on this medium? By offering teens ‘sneak peeks’ of upcoming products.

Taco Bell did this with a peek at its new ‘secret taco’ before it hit stores. Through Snapchat, Vine, Instagram and a few other visual social media channels, they shared varying degrees of information about their latest product. Nothing is more enticing than exclusive access!

Vine Videos

Meanwhile, short, snappy videos have become the latest form of shareable media. Vine, especially, capitalizes on the simplicity and effectiveness of animated gifs and stop-motion animation, with just 6 seconds of video to communicate an idea. We’ve seen short and sweet how-to product videos from the likes of Cadbury UK and some quirky little captures like this one from Ford.

Pinterest Inspiration

For creative based businesses, Pinterest offers a world of opportunity to showcase their products in stunning collections. Creating boards is one of the easiest ways to visually personify your business and brand.

But in addition to showcasing products, there are a number of other ways to use Pinterest for your business, even if you don’t offer physical or beautiful products to show off. Oberlin College in the US uses fun themed boards that showcase a little bit of quirkiness about its students, school and location. It helps potential students get a better idea of what life at the school could be like.

Instagram #hashtags

Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012, although the two still work as two separate platforms – for the time being. Instagram, with its beautiful collection of retro filters, has become the go-to application for sharing ‘moments’ – from travel snaps to foodie pics and more. Like Twitter, hashtags have become the popular way to ‘tag’ and ‘share’ photos with wider audiences.

Brands have leapt aboard the Instagram frenzy with their own accounts. Many, like Australia Tourism, have set up their own #hashtag communities, where users can tag photos with the brand #hashtag. A moderator goes through and selects photos to feature which are then ‘liked’ by the broader community. With its 520K strong followers, the brand has created a strong community of amateur and budding app photographers, coveting for that featured spot.

Meanwhile, Instagram videos (released last year) allow for a slightly longer video capture or 15 seconds. So they’re a great way to produce some quickie story-telling commercials like fitness brand Lululemon.

Wanelo and other targeted niche communities

There are also an abundance of apps that target users interested in a specific niche audience – and they offer plenty of potential for creative social media. For example, Wanelo (Want. Need. Love), is a thriving online community for fashionistas and designers to showcase visually stunning products, so it’s a fantastic targeted avenue for retailers and design businesses to explore.

*Remember, it’s always better to do a few things well than many things poorly!*

When it comes to social media marketing, a good rule of thumb is to be selective about the channels you choose to use. Know where your target audience is and think of ways to engage them in that space. You don’t want to stretch your resources too thin or be labelled a spammer!

Which social media channels have you tried?


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