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Social Media Platforms You Aren't UsingIt’s 2016. We all get the basic idea that social media is important for businesses to market and engage with their customer base. At this point, everyone knows they need a Facebook and a Twitter and a Google+ page and a LinkedIn. These are basics of doing business, as fundamental as putting a sign out front to let people know you’re open for business.

But social media doesn’t begin and end with Twitter, and depending on your business, they may even be a better fit for you and your customers than one of the more mainstream default channels. These non-traditional avenues can prove very fruitful for the right business with the right strategy.

Instagram

Instagram may have started out as a simple photo-sharing app, but it’s grown into a lot more, and behind its newsfeed-style photo stream, there are powerful marketing potentials. Instagram has over 400 million users and over 80 million posts a day. That means that it has a potential reach comparable to Twitter. Instagram’s demographics tend to skew a little younger, and it’s a great way for you to humanize your company and make your overall brand more relatable – and because it’s photo-centric, it’s a fantastic place to introduce and showcase new products that might get more easily lost on Twitter.

Remember, on Instagram, people are there to see pictures of things they like; you can use that fact to drum up support and enthusiasm.

The key thing is to develop a strategy for the platform that aligns with your business goals. There are tons of guides out there to help you figure out exactly the right strategy for you, but this platform is massive, and shouldn’t be ignored; less stuffy than Facebook and less of a fire hose than Twitter, it’s the perfect place to connect with your clients in a more personal way.

Pinterest

Another photo-centric social platform, Pinterest takes a wildly different approach than Instagram. Rather than focusing on sharing personal photos, it’s a place for building collections of things. People pin items from all over the internet, and can then repin other people’s images to their own boards. From a customer perspective, it’s a place to collect inspirations. But from a business perspective, its an opportunity to get your stuff out in front of people who are in a buying mood.

Businesses have an amazing opportunity on Pinterest to build a no-frills online catalog that’s easy to interact with and save items from. That means your product offerings themselves (complete with buy links) start to propagate through a network of like-minded people who are totally picking up what you’re putting down. The people who would share and pin your items are people who are definitely at least mid-funnel; they have a desire, they know what they want to do about it, and they’re out there looking for solutions. And a lot of them will be much closer to a buying decision than some Twitter rando who happens to see a coupon.

If you’re running a business that makes photogenic products, it’s time to invest in some professional photography and get that stuff out there on the boards.

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Snapchat

With over 100 million daily active users, Snapchat has long overcome perceptions of being a fad. And it’s become the primary social network for people under twenty, which means it’s getting really close to being the primary social network of a massive chunk of the buying public, and nearly a third of millennials use Snapchat on a daily basis.

But it’s just a mobile photo messenger program, right?

Well, not really. Not anymore.

A lot of major companies are using it in a wide variety of ways, building a subscribable feed that serves as a direct content channel, and using it to share special photo and video content – in an exclusive way. By focusing on easy-to-consume short-form content, you can take advantage of the casual nature of the network, while also providing people an avenue to go more in-depth if they so choose. News organizations like CNN have used Snapchat to promote content regarding major trending events, like the presidential election, while other companies use it to do everything from introduce new employees to showcasing new products to giving people a sneak peak into their corporate culture.

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