What social media platform should I be using for my industry?

By now, regardless of industry, your company should probably have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. These profiles serve as reference points that anyone can use to find out valuable information about your business and for customer service. But as more and more businesses turn to social media for other purposes, from sales to hiring, they may need to look beyond Facebook and Twitter to connect with their core audiences.

Every business is different and even companies in the same industry might need to take a different approach on social media. But we’ve taken a broad look at major industry verticals, their audiences and goals, and have identified one social network organizations in each industry should be investing time and effort into this year.


Retailers already love Instagram. The visual social network offers them an opportunity to showcase their products in a place where shots of clothing, electronics and other retail items are the norm. Retailers did not have to fight to fit in on Instagram quite as much as they did on Twitter or Facebook; their focus on products made the photo sharing app a much more natural fit. The mobile nature of Instagram also made the social network a much easier option for smaller retailers. People on Instagram are more ready to accept photos taken from a phone or taken on the fly than they are when they’re looking at your website for example. The acceptance of lower quality means there’s a lower barrier of entry of small brands.


Manufacturing is generally not a public-facing industry, which raises questions as to why these businesses should be on social media at all. Obviously being on B2B networks like LinkedIn can help them find and connect with prospects or clients, but should manufacturers really be on other social networks. We believe the answer to that is yes, and for one main reason: transparency.


To say that the media and entertainment industry is undergoing major shifts might be an understatement. People are slowly but surely rejecting cable. The film industry had a terrible 2014. And every time they take down the Pirate Bay, hundreds of clones pop up. Businesses in the media and entertainment industry need to think outside of the box, because the status quo just isn’t working. And there are very few social networks more out of the box than Snapchat.


With that in mind, more and more social networks are emerging that are specifically catered to the needs of regulated industries, and the regular people that interact with them. In healthcare, for example, seniors can join Connected Living, a private social network available through seniors homes and assisted living institutions. Breast cancer patients can join CureDiva in order to connect with other patients and survivors and shop for products that meet their needs. Meanwhile, health care professionals can use a service like Doximity to network and connect with colleagues and also send secure faxes and reports.


The CIA joined Twitter. So far they’ve even done a good job of it, posting interesting imagery and using humor where appropriate. If the CIA is on Twitter, there’s no longer any denying the place of government bodies on social media. And many bodies have recognized the power of social, especially in using Facebook and Twitter to broadcast important information to the public.


This might seem like a cop out, but hear me out. Unlike other verticals, in tech there’s an expectation among tech-savvy consumers that these businesses will be on top of tech trends, and consequently social media trends. If you work in technology, you should be on top of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, even Instagram and Pinterest, because this is where your main consumer groups are active.


“You can use Facebook to create highly targeted advertisements, or simply ask friends to share properties on their profiles. This is an easy way to get people talking about your listings,” a Houston-based property management company points out. “Facebook is currently the most conducive social media platform for marketing rentals, but Instagram could also be leveraged in some markets.”


In essence, everything a brand does on social media to connect with users is a form of marketing or advertising. Therefore, it logically follows that the marketing industry would be proficient at using social media. According to the 2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (in which more than 3,700 marketers were surveyed) social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn were critical components of their overall strategies.


One of the most surprising industries on this list is education. Social networking sites like Facebook allow students, educators, and institutions to connect with one another in ways that were never possible in the past. Universities and colleges, in particular, have mastered the use of social media. Many use organic and paid advertising on these sites to bolster application numbers and encourage campus visits. Once on campus, these same universities use social networking sites as platforms for advertising on-going events, new curriculum, and more.


Social media is an incredibly valuable asset to the fashion industry because of the lightening-fast speed at which content travels on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. New styles can be shared with millions of people in a matter of seconds. The most successful fashion brands on social media are the ones that have mastered the task of creating visually stimulating images that produce an emotional response in the user. From another point of view, fashion brands find social media to be a very powerful research tool. They use it to find out what styles followers enjoy and what they’re wearing.

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