Many small business owners have ventured into creating at least a Facebook page or Twitter page or both. And very often these social platforms haven’t gained the traction they would have liked them to.
As a result, they neglect exploring other important, fast-growing platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram.
For small business owners, maintaining even one social network platform (never mind a few) seems an impossibility when there are the day-to-day concerns of the business to deal with.
The key is to have a workable content plan and use social media management tools. But first, you need to know which social networks you want to be on.
This is the 3-step plan to get going and keep going on social media:
Know which social media platforms you want to be on
Create a workable content plan
Use social media management tools
In this, part 1 of the 3-step plan to get going and keep going on social media, we look at the major players in social media and what they’re about. Once you know a bit more about each platform, you can decide which of the platforms are right for your small business – it might be some or all of the platforms.
According to the 2015 World Wide Worx/Fuseware South African Social Media Landscape Report, the top five growing platforms in South Africa (excluding instant messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat) were (in order of number of users): Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Platforms with the biggest growth in that period included Instagram (up 65%), YouTube (up 53%) and LinkedIn (up 40%).
The 2016 World Wide Worx/Fuseware South African Social Media Landscape Report shows growth for Facebook (up 8%), Twitter (up 12%) and YouTube (up 15%), with colossal growth for Instagram (up 133%), which has more than doubled its user base.
2014 Stats for South Africa
- Facebook (11,8 million)
- YouTube (7,2 million)
- Twitter (6,6 million)
- LinkedIn (3,8 million)
- Instagram (1,1 million)
- Pinterest (840 00) DECLINING USERS
2015 Stats for South Africa
- Facebook (13 million)
- YouTube (8,28 million)
- Twitter (7,4 million)
- LinkedIn (4,6 million)
- Instagram (2,68 million) BIGGEST GROWTH
FACEBOOK is still the leading social network, in South Africa and around the world. It allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and videos, send messages and keep in touch with friends, families, colleagues and their favourite brands.
Hootsuite’s blog on Essential Social Media Statistics reports that nearly one third of the 1.65 billion active monthly Facebook users engage with brands regularly. In September 2015, more than 1,5 million small and medium businesses shared videos on Facebook.
YOUTUBE is a video-sharing website that allows people to discover, watch and share videos. Users can create their own channels and use it as a distribution platform for original content. Hootsuite reports that almost one third of all people on the internet are YouTube users. It is the second most popular social network platform in South Africa – evidence of the rise of video here.
The most subscribed South African channel belongs to Caspar Lee, a South African teenager who started his self-titled YouTube channel in 2011. His main YouTube channel “Caspar” has over 6,6 million subscribers and his second channel “morecaspar” has over 1,9 million subscribers.
TWITTER is for news junkies who want real-time information about the world. This online social networking service allows users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”. According to the Hootsuite report, over 100 million GIFs were shared on Twitter in 2015 and almost half of Twitter users follow brands or companies.
LINKEDIN is a place to connect with colleagues and professional contacts and is popular for businesses in the B2B sector. The platform leaped in usage in South Africa, with World Wide Worx reporting a 40% increase in South African members for its 2015 report.
LinkedIn is internationally represented across 200 countries and territories, and nearly half of users are key decision makers. The main activities of members include connecting, publishing content and joining groups.
INSTAGRAM is a photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking platform. It was bought by Facebook in 2012 and has been growing in features and users. More than 70 million photos and videos are posted to Instagram every day. Users can use the new “explore” function to follow trending stories and real-time events as told through Instagramers, opening up more opportunities for brands to communicate with customers.
Instagram is gaining recognition as “the” engagement platform for brands who want to engage with their communities. Instagram has also introduced a host of new tools for business users, including business profiles, analytics and the ability to turn Instagram posts into ads.
According to this BizCommunity article, the most popular South African Instagramers include media personalities (like Minnie Dlamini) and photographers (like Gareth Pon).
PINTEREST distinguishes itself as the ‘world’s catalogue of ideas’. It’s a community of creativity and the platform of choice for people who like to plan. Instagramers use their ‘pinboards’ to plan holidays, special events, parties, birthdays, travel, mealtimes, DIY projects and more. There are about 50 billion pins across 1 billion boards and 75% of pins saved come from businesses.
Although subscriber growth for Pinterest flattened in the last few years, keep your eye on this platform. Pinterest brand studies show that it is more effective at driving sales than any other form of social media. The platform has recently introduced a “Buy Now” button and according to this Global Web Index article, is now among the fastest growing social networks.
The ongoing trend in multi-networking means users are continuing to shift towards and adopt alternative platforms. Facebook may be the number one platform, but users will also post photos to Instagram, for example.
If users are multi-networking, businesses should be multi-networking too. This means developing and managing content and engaging with your market across multiple platforms. This sounds like a lot of work, but with a bit of planning and a little help, you can make multi-networking a multi-marketing success for your small business.
Read more on building content for your platforms in Part 2 and using tools to manage multiple social media platforms in Part 3.
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KEY TAKE-OUT: Don’t just stop at Facebook and Twitter. Other growing social network platforms you need to consider for your small business include Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn. Users are “multi-networking” and small business needs to follow suit.
Author: Nicky Grandin