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On the way to work this week, with people from all walks of life. I’d start a conversation about popular social media platforms The aim of the topic being to educate about the advantage of social media.


A taxi in South Africa has about 15 passengers, and everyone is having their own conversation about TV programmes, supper they ate last night, or ‘stokvels’ etc. This was a fairly different, in fact, a random conversation to start, but I did it anyway. The easier way to begin was to ask the guy next to me about what Facebook is to him. He explained, a network to keep track with his friends. Immediately a lady behind us answered too, Facebook is a network for young kids seeking attention online. Then another person added, Twitter is a platform for celebrities by celebrities.

And so, I got into the figures about social media…

Facebook

The biggest social media network in the world. South Africa is one of many countries to be part of this medium. Small businesses now have an advantage against the bigger corporates. Small business can tackle a market without having to worry about the barrier of entry or exclusion etc. So, you have a global chance to take your ‘Spaza’ from ‘nada’ to ‘ching-ching’. They giggled interestingly.

Twitter

One of the biggest markets, just after Facebook. Twitter is a one, two, ready, done and let’s talk network. They’d use Twitter to update soccer scores, so, I’d use that as an example – Twitter is live, happening as we speak. More and more people are turning to Twitter for news and the latest industry trends. Twitter helps you deliver bite-sized content (140 characters) that’s straight to the point. The more interesting content you produce, the more followers you gain, and the more your Twitter community increases. Another example, if you’re a science fiction writer, your first option will be to market to a science fiction community, futuristic thinkers or Star Wars enthusiasts, right? Now, Twitter can help you find that audience and connect with them online.

LinkedIn 

This network is your online office. It’s a description of who you are, what you do and where you’re doing it – it’s your online portfolio. Keep it neat, professional, savvy and updated with your latest projects.

One of the gentlemen at the back of the taxi asked, “How do people recruit on LinkedIn?”
Well trained LinkedIn users understand that, unlike Facebook, LinkedIn is a serious network because a lot of CEOs, COOs and various top-notch industry players use LinkedIn professionally. However, it doesn’t mean you can’t add a bit of humour if you’re a humorous person, bear in mind, and don’t take it over the limit. Through connections, by viewing your profile and analysing your previous projects involved in and various aspects such as content you post, a recruiter may know if you a great candidate for a specific condition or not. When they search, they’ll type in the search bar for “social media strategist” and all the titles with Social Media Strategist will appear – the one with the strongest profile will be listed on top.


YouTube 

Most of us are familiar with the power of videos… Well, except for one grandfather in the taxi who wasn’t familiar with YouTube (he does, however, like Facebook). I made an example of how an unknown musician can be discovered through YouTube by a music company, and years later, they become a worldwide superstar singer. YouTube gets over 1 billion hours of video watched per day, and around 6 billion hours of video every month. 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube every minute, so you can image how powerful this platform is for marketing your brand.

Pinterest

I’ve used Pinterest several times in the past and I’ve found it very useful for marketing. It’s a fun platform for selling. It’s one of the good networks in terms of advertising your brand by using images. Pinterest has about 70% of users as women and 30% of users as males.


Instagram

Speaking of images, Instagram is fast becoming the boss of visual marketing. It has about 300 million active users and keeps on increasing daily.
“But how do I just share my picture and people start liking my brand on Instagram?”
Instagram is a very useful visual marketing network. A lot of people spend more time on their smartphones than they do on their computers 

– Instagram is a mobile-based platform. Post rich media (creative images) about your brand; add a little text into the image and include hashtags in your post. Other users worldwide and nearby will fast recognise your brand and what it is that you’re delivering. Include hashtags related to your market and link a link that relates to a website (assuming you already have a website).

But what are hashtags?

Hashtags are keywords that summarise a topic. Hashtags are used to connect people online, to generate a trend and to boost interesting topics. For instance, a hashtag for this article would be #Marketing, #SocialMedia or #OnlineMedia etc.

Social Media is the answer to a small businesses success. A platform such as Skype is crucial for communication, nowadays, you don’t have to save for a meeting that’s outside your city, video calling is accessible.

The key with social media is to do it right and get the perfect Return on Investment (ROI).