The Future Of Social Media For Small Businesses, Part 1.

A recent study found that the number one problem most small businesses have is attracting new clients.

Traditional methods of advertising can quickly get out of hand, especially when you are on a tight advertising budget. Cue the use of social media as a cost saving, yet highly effective strategy for business growth.

With over 50 different social media platforms available catering to every market possible, there are a ton of opportunities to use them to grow. The problems facing their use are knowing where your target audience prefers to be, knowing which ones will be here tomorrow (remember Ryze and Qapacity) and how to provide the best value.

Of the social media platforms ever launched, many peaked and quickly went downhill.

Yet for those that have stayed, constant tweaking and testing led to fine tuning their processes. This ensures excellent results for their user, thus guaranteeing their longevity. The following is a look at the current climate for the top social media platforms, what is in stock for their users today and in the near future.

Facebook.

With over one million small & medium businesses advertising on Facebook, and serving ads to a daily audience of over one billion, it still remains the largest platform in the world. Advertisers realise this as one of the best ways to reach custom audiences.

The recent acquisition of companies such as WhatsApp, Branch, Onavo and Jibbigo, Facebook is intent on improving user experience. Two of these purchases present interesting possibilities for the end user.

Jibbigo is a speech recognition and translation app. With over 20 languages in its database, it opens up endless possibilities for voice search and speech to text translation. Just imagine being able to sell your services across ANY language barrier.

Branch is a link-sharing service that allows users to “connect around their interests”. It’s a service that allows conversations, news and content to be easily shared. This allows connections not only between people you already know but also among people you might know or should know.

These acquisitions will allow advertisers to cast a wider net and attract even more prospects. With their increasing ability to target custom audiences and deliver highly relevant ads (going as far as facial recognition), Facebook is still the go-to platform for building a large customer base quickly.

Twitter.

Twitter, which many regard as Facebooks’ smaller ‘cousin’, has had a recent redesign. This was prompted, in part, by the ongoing issue of user retention, the somewhat confusing language of hashtags & retweets and having to deliver a message in only 140 characters.

Part of this redesign is aesthetic to mimic its more successful ‘sibling’. You can now display a cover photo and profile picture, just like Facebook. You can also show off your best tweets at the top of your profile. This allows you to show your followers exactly what you want them to see (marketing messages, anyone?).

Despite the fact that Twitter has a much smaller audience, Facebook has 1.2 billion users versus Twitter’s 241 million monthly users, a recent poll discovered that Twitter ads deliver better results. This is largely due to two factors:

1. Ads on Twitter generate clicks at a much higher rate as advertisers integrate them tightly with trends and conversations. This allows them to be serving up “straightforward messaging and content directly into relevant conversation streams.” Twitter also generates more clicks on its ads.

2. Another is that Twitter sells far less ad inventory than Facebook. This allows the ads to be shown in a much less cluttered environment, compared to Facebook ads.

Part 2 here

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