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Five Unconventional Social Media Sites Your Business Should Use

Marla Keene is a tech writer with AX Control, Inc, an industrial automation supplier located in North Carolina.

Introduction

Social media can help businesses in a number of ways.

Social media can help businesses in a number of ways.

You’re probably already using social media platforms as part of your business marketing plan. After all, 45% of the world’s population uses at least one social media channel on a regular basis, so it’s unlikely you’ve missed out on this effective way to reach your target customers.

Social media is quick, inexpensive, and easy to use. If you’ve been doing marketing for any time, you’re likely well-versed in the advantages of using the most popular channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. These are all great options that can help with lead generation, increasing traffic to your website, and establishing your brand as a thought leader. But what about some of the lesser-known social channels? Should you be using those, too?

The answer is yes. Here’s a list of five social media channels you’re probably not using to promote your business and the reasons why you should start.

TikTok

TikTok has been around for only a few years, but they have more active users than older platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn. While the platform focuses primarily on Gen Z, with 1.5 billion users and growing, you ignore it at your own peril, especially if your customer base is in the 16- to 24-year age bracket.

The great thing about TikTok is videos are supposed to be short and fun, which means you don’t have to invest a lot of time in creating content. But short doesn’t mean sloppy. You should still purposefully curate content for the site. Videos don’t have to be polished; they do have to be fun. TikTok uses hashtags much in the same way that Twitter does, giving you an ‘in’ to trending searches that will introduce your brand to the TikTok community.

This suggestion comes with a caveat: TikTok may be on the verge of a ban due to privacy concerns. Definitely weigh the benefit of the risks before jumping onto the platform.

Medium

While not social media per se, Medium is a popular blogging platform with 60 million active users. But don’t imagine an early-2000s blogging site where everyone is talking about their cat, their breakfast, and their latest relationship woes. While some of that exists on the site, Medium regularly offers posts from notables like Elizabeth Warren, Biz Stone, and William Shatner. Stories are published in a number of individual ‘magazines’ and run the gamut from AI and machine learning to spirituality, to gun control.

Why use Medium for business? It’s a great way to establish yourself or your company as a thought leader. It also allows you to republish your company’s blog content to get more eyes on that work.

It’s best to wait about two weeks from the time you’ve published the original piece on your website. This gives Google time to crawl and index your original content. When you import the story onto Medium it won’t supersede the original content in Google rankings. Even better, you’ll have a link back to your original content, driving traffic--and customers--to your site.

This is also a great way to immediately increase your reader base. For example, our company blog started from scratch about a year ago. While we publish a number of interesting articles on AI, green technology, and manufacturing, our readership is still in its infancy. By publishing to Medium we have a chance to get those articles onto a platform where people are actively reading about those subjects.

Marketers don't often think of SnapChat as a business platform.  But if that's where your customers hang out, it can become one.

Marketers don't often think of SnapChat as a business platform. But if that's where your customers hang out, it can become one.

Snapchat

While Snapchat was originally known as another Gen Z hangout, its 300 million users have slowly been trending older. If your current market falls anywhere between 13 to 34, Snapchat is a viable option for you.

One of the great things Snapchat lets you do is create a Snapcode for your business. This can be added to any marketing campaign run on Snapchat and helps your audience find your associated channels (like your website) to find out more about your business.

Much like TikTok, Snapchat content is supposed to be fun and creative. But it’s also time-sensitive, and you can decide just how quickly your ‘snap’ will disappear after it’s been viewed. This disappearing act creates a sense of urgency that can be beneficial. You can also set no time limit so users have unlimited time to view your snaps, but you may want to play with this option to see which drives more traffic.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp allows users to text other WhatsApp users without SMS text messaging charges. The platform also supports voice and video calls and allows users to share files. The platform is used on a regular basis in 55% of the world’s countries.

The main benefit of WhatsApp is the capability to send direct text messages to your customers. But there’s a catch: you can only send group messages to 256 users at one time, which means it’s not good for large-scale marketing. But it can be a great tool for targeted messaging, especially when you consider 90% of mobile messages get opened and read within three seconds of their send time. If you have a small customer base or a group of premier customers this could work well for you.

WeChat

WeChat is the largest social network in China and is gaining popularity elsewhere in the world. As of mid-2019, there were 1.1 billion active monthly users on the platform, with over 90% living in China. And while many of these users were in the 26- to 35-year age range, there were over 50 million active senior users on the platform as of 2017.

WeChat allows businesses to create subscription or service accounts. Subscription accounts allow you to push content more frequently--up to once per day--but a service account gives the flexibility to add custom menus, a store platform, and will support payments. Most businesses that use WeChat write content in standard Mandarin to better reach their customers.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Marla Keene

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