Marketing

Beyond Facebook and Twitter: A Breakdown of Social Sharing Websites

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Written by Jodie Pride
14th July 2014 • 13 min read

We all know of and use Facebook and Twitter for our businesses. Some of us get a little more adventurous and experiment with Pinterest and Google+, even if we don’t necessarily know how to use them effectively (admit it: the buttons look cool on our websites and make us feel important). In this post we’re going to give you a breakdown of the major social news, sharing and bookmarking sites, and how they can be best utilised for your business.

The Other Guys

Okay, here’s where we’re going to look at some of the sites you may not know how to use – or might not have heard of:

Digg

Their slogan is “What the internet is talking about now” – so it’s full of viral articles and videos which are voted for by the Digg community; popular posts are “Dugg” (voted for) and unpopular ones are “Buried” (voted against).

Benefits
– It’s free (as are all of these sites…)
– There’s a variety of “Tags”, so you can categorize posts

Drawbacks
– Fast-paced nature, so your content has to be really good to get noticed.
– Kind of a poor user interface. Posts are tagged with words such as “business”, “art”, “animals” and so on, but there’s no obvious way to browse the tags on the homepage – you have to either click on the linked tag of some content displayed or Google the tag.

Tips
– Don’t use automated content. It’s spam, and will be looked at as so. That’s a great way to get a bad reputation and lose followers.
– Users can only see the titles of the post, so try to be unique, catchy and descriptive.
– Great for submitting your own content – blog posts, infographics etc., especially your best quality stuff.

Reddit

Like Digg, Reddit serves as a platform to share the best content on the web, billing itself as “The Front Page of the Internet”. But it’s actually so much more than that: the site is composed of a front page, which contains the most popular content curated from all its “Subreddits”, which are essentially categories of interests.

There variety of “Subreddits” is so diverse, it would be impossible to list them all (okay, not “impossible”, but incredibly time consuming and the list would be very long).

I’ll provide some examples of the categories are: r/Ecommerce is where you can go to talk about startups and channels and everything related to online commerce; r/Startups is where you can post about your new business (there’s also one that’s UK specific); r/Business is a good all-rounder. As a testament to how diverse (and downright bizarre) the Subreddits can be, there’s one called r/Birdswitharms, which is entirely dedicated to posting pictures of birds with human arms. Yeah. That actually exists. (We recommend you stick to the more business-oriented ones.)

 

Benefits
– There are so many Subreddits that there’s bound to be a place for you to talk about whatever it is you do.
– Having a share button could be great for that really interesting piece of content. Hit the front page of Reddit and you’ve struck gold.
– It has a massive user base with over 100 million uniques every month

Drawbacks
– It’s very discussion based. This could also be an advantage, but is more likely to be a hinderance.
– You need to know the community. It’s not like Twitter where you can just shamelessly plug your business; you need to actively interact with the community, which can be time consuming and may not even be worth the effort.
– Related to the above, the voting system could be your downfall. Anything too spammy/obviously plugging your business is most likely to get downvoted and face the wrath of the Reddit community. – The best example is Woody Harrleson’s AMA (that’s “Ask Me Anything”) post, where all he did was relate questions to his new movie. Predictably, the community was enraged, and the whole debacle is widely regarded as a massive PR fail.

Tip
Great for customer service. You can interact easily with your customers thanks to the lack of character count on posts.

Goolge+

Google+ is pretty handy, especially if you’re already a user of Google’s other services such as Gmail and Maps, as you can link these together. You can create networks – or “Circles” – of people you know or want to follow, and allows you to categorize these (“Friends”, “Family” etc.) and also makes suggestions of people who you might know or want to follow.

Benefits
– Users can join communities of people with shared interests, which is great because there could be a community dedicated to whatever your product or service is. This is great for interacting with potential customers, and creating networks.
– If you add the +1 share button to your site, people can click this to share your brand. They are recommending you to their “Circles”, where there could be potential customers.

Drawbacks
– The number of users is incredibly misleading. The site claims to have over 500million users, but this includes many unused accounts just floating around, because if you set up a Gmail or Youtube account, you automatically create a Google+ account.
– It’s not as popular as a lot of the other sites, and not a lot of companies have it.

Tip
Great for adding in depth descriptions and other information about your business including details such as phone number, opening times etc.

Delicious

This is used to discover and organise internet content. Think of it as a cloud storage for your bookmarks that you can share with other users.

Benefits
– It’s a lot simpler than Digg and Reddit
– Never lose your bookmarks
– You can use it as a company-wide sharing

Drawbacks
– Relatively small user base
– You should really spend some time getting to know the community and understanding how it works. Might be too time consuming with not enough payoff to warrant the effort.
– Perhaps better for personal use rather than corporate (but still worth adding a social share button)

Tip
It’s worth having the social media button so that your customers can bookmark you page and share it with their contacts, but I wouldn’t really say it’s worth setting up a company account.

Pinterest

Pinterest is getting more and more popular at the moment, with around 70million users. The concept is that you “pin” pictures onto online “boards”. It’s great for personal use, but can be great for businesses, especially those who are involved with either food, clothes, homeware or animals – anything pretty, really. But it can also be great for busiess

Benefits
– People don’t need to follow you to see your content – they simply search “pasta” or “red dress” and your pictures could come up. Then if they pin them, they can share with their followers and so on.
– If used correctly, businesses can thrive and gain plenty of new followers (and potential customers)

Here are some examples of companies that have nailed Pinterest:

H&M have done this brilliantly. They’ve used the board system to their advantage and created separate boards for different collections, or pieces that compliment each other, with pictures of individual items and whole outfits, for example “Pretty Pastels”, “Dive Into Swimwear” “Shoe Obsession” and “It’s All in the Details” (that last one is for accessories – excellent copy all round).

Here’s an example of how you can use Pinterest for things other than pretty clothes and tasty looking food: Econsultancy have used it really well, with boards for infographics, stats and charts, web design and more.

Drawbacks
– You have to be careful with the sources you link back to, especially in terms of site reliability. You don’t want to link visitors to anything dodgy.
– Only good for visual content, so if your stuff is mostly text based then it might not be worth pursuing.
– You’ll need to have really great photographs of your products if you want your content to get pinned, which could be time consuming and expensive.

Tip
Although it’s mostly used for visual content, some text-based posts can work, such as lists and how-to’s, providing they are relatively short and have some snazzy images too.

Our old friends, Twitter and Facebook

Yes, yes, you know all about Twitter and Facebook, you’ve been using them for years and know what works best for you. And that’s great. But this post wouldn’t be complete without the two major players, would it? So we’re going to be really brief with these and give a few pointers to optimise your presence on both platforms.

Twitter

– Twitter moves at lightning speed which makes it a great tool for agile marketing and jumping on trends.
It’s also useful for getting more reach – so make the most of those hashtags to expose yourself to more potential customers!

– Arguably more effective than Facebook as of recent developments (Facebook is losing credibility and users almost as quickly as Twitter jumps on the latest trending topic)

– It’s essential for marketing, really – if you’re not on Twitter, stop reading this and get on it now.

Tip: a great way to get more followers is to retweet/follow other major players, such as big companies or influential bloggers.

Facebook

– Great for communicating with your customers on a more in-depth basis (due to the less restrictive character count that certain sites have – Twitter, we’re looking at you!).

– Good for judging your reach (you can count the likes and comments) and encourages interactions, discussion and comments from your “followers”.

– Better for visual content, especially for businesses like restaurants and hairdressers so customers can access a gallery of your best work.

Tip: Great for adding valuable business information (contact numbers, web links, Google Map location etc.

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Written by Jodie Pride

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