By now almost everyone is an expert in at least a few social media networks.
They might not know about some of the lingo used or exactly how to use every aspect of them, but almost everyone has heard of and tried YouTube at some point.
Facebook and Twitter are now regular tools for communicating and connecting with others for many. Google+ has quickly caught up. And their number of users only continues to grow for all three both domestically and internationally.
How big could social networks become? Twitter announced this week that they have reached a massive agreement to stream up to 10 NFL games this coming fall with the potential for their partnership to grow in the future.
Networks are now looking for ways to go from something some people use to sources that everyone will use daily. Think of where Google has a company has gone in the last 15 years.
So most businesses know that to grow their brand in the new marketplace they must join the social media world and find avenues to provide better customer service. But joining the popular networks at this point is a necessity and something almost every business big or small knows about.
But often in competitive markets one of the keys to gaining an advantage is not just following the trends but finding ways to be at the front of them.
New social media outlets are being created constantly as many dream of creating the next Facebook or Twitter that will catch on and change how we connect online.
Yet not all of them will last past a year or two and even some current ones are far more focused on being the next thing teenagers use, not the next tool your brand could be using. So, here are three growing social networks that your brand should jump on to.
What is Periscope? How about a popular live video streaming app that has already gained attention to the point that Twitter purchased Periscope last year. Periscope gives users the ability to share stories, presentations, conversations, and ideas via streaming video. Could your company benefit from using Periscope? Definitely.
Your competition is probably not leveraging Periscope yet. So, how can you? Try using it to invite your brand's Twitter followers to see live product demonstrations. Or maybe using it to broadcast Q&A sessions where you can answer customer questions and provide articulate responses to your followers instead of relying on faceless answers through Twitter and Facebook that feel lacking.
Periscope can simply give business professionals another way to give how-to videos quickly instead of relying on something like YouTube that can not do it on the spot.
This could lead to possible customer service assistance depending on the product. Another popular idea early on has been to provide viewers behind the scenes content. Show them a glimpse of how your company works or who the people are that help run their new favorite brand.
Periscope is really catching on and people are quickly finding ways to turn it from a simple streaming breakthrough to a promising tool for growing brands.
Quora is an interesting social network that has been making news lately. If you haven't already heard of it, Quora is an online resource in that it has been around for a few years. While it has not exploded to the level of Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, it has gained a following and it provides a mix that of some things regular online users know.
Your competition does not realize the potential here, but now you can. Think about the possible outcome if you mixed Wikipedia, Twitter, and Reddit together. An outlet that aims to be an easy place to write new content, share great answers from other places around the web, and organize information about almost anything. Think crowd-sourced questions and answers.
One part of interacting on Quora is writing new posts that ask questions or bring up topics for people to discuss, the other half being responding to topics and providing insightful or honest answers. Users then up-vote things that gain their interest and users that try to input quality responses to topics.
How can Quora help your brand crush the competition? One easy way is to create a profile for your company and link it to other sources like your website, Facebook, Twitter, and more. This provides a profile that can be edited and used to help users learn about the company.
But then you can use the company profile to start topics about what people may want from companies like yours, what interests them, or even directly answer questions about topics that are within your realm of expertise. Seeing the owner, CEO, or even general manager of a company discuss the exact products a company sells or their company gives your company an advantage.
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Now stay with me here for a moment. To many people that know a little bit about social networks, Pinterest conjures up the image of women sharing cooking, clothing, and decorating photos like crazy. To many men or men targeting businesses this does not sound like a popular choice for branching out their brand online. And your competitors probably believes these lies as well. But upon looking a little closer you might find Pinterest as promising source to utilize.
Pinterest reportedly had the highest revenue per click of any social sharing network in 2014. And at its core it is a source for social photo sharing and using images to connect with users as they pin their interests to their boards (thus the name) with a special button.
Users may follow anyone or any brand freely, posting or re-pinning items that they want to share or express interest in. Photos can cycle through and hit thousands of boards within a day. For businesses that provide visually appealing products this cane become a powerful source for gaining new followers.
Social media is not simply a trend that businesses should consider learning. It quickly has become an everyday reality for people when they go online. So finding ways to grow your brand through social media should be a focus.
There are even more choices than these three but all three should provide businesses more exposure and online growth after beginning to use the cornerstone networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Take the jump and try one or two new networks, and do not settle on your company having an online presence. Find avenues to continue to expand it.