Social media is so integrated with marketing that it's somewhat of a requirement for every business to keep up with the latest trends. If you have no social media presence, you're already putting your business behind competitors who use it wisely. You don't need to be present on every social media platform, but you should sign up and use at least one to keep your marketing relevant in the digital age.
Facebook is almost a given when it comes to what platform to choose from. Even if you have no social media presence, you should at least look into Facebook as your sole outlet. Facebook pages let you promote your business, so you can keep your business and personal accounts separated.
Facebook is also popular for customer service queries. Users post Facebook messages asking questions, and a rep can respond with information. It's a social media platform that personalizes your customer service, and lets you have more personalized communication with your users.
Twitter is the second most common way to keep in contact with your customers. Usually, business have a Facebook account to share posts and receive likes from other users. These likes are then seen by the user's friends. Twitter is a micro-blogging platform with character restrictions, so it's a bit different than Facebook.
Twitter is used to make announcements, but it's also a tool for users to communicate with you. Both Twitter and Facebook are useful for users to send you feedback and ask questions. Twitter gives you the same personalized communication as Facebook.
LinkedIn is a bit different than the previous two platforms. LinkedIn is focused on professional networking. If you offer a service, it helps to network with other professionals and customers. You post a resume and join communities and circles where other professionals can recommend you.
You won't find posts and communication the same as with Twitter and Facebook, but many professionals will ask you for your LinkedIn account as a way to link you with other networks. Some professionals find better work through LinkedIn networks rather than standard interviews and job searches.
YouTube is a video sharing site, but it can also be used as a way to market your business. Many businesses are moving from content to video as a way to advertise product and services. You can use video to create your manuals or DIY instructions.
YouTube also lets users subscribe to your channel and share videos. You can integrate Facebook and Twitter with YouTube. After you create a new video, share it on Facebook or Twitter to start the view count and get users to share videos on their own social media accounts.
Pinterest is one of the newest social media platforms, and it became extremely popular after only 6 years from its launch. Pinterest was introduced in 2010, and it became the social media platform for users to share their favorite sites, videos and images.
Instead of posting links, Pinterest lets users "pin" their favorites to a board that is then shown to other users. For business owners, it's a networking tool. You can pin affiliates, partners, and other professional content to show interest in your industry. In return, many of these professionals will pin your content in return.
Instagram is another newcomer to the social media arena. It was also launched in 2010 with Pinterest. It's much more common and popular, but this could be because Facebook bought it out and uses it to integrate images on its own platform.
If you have a business that requires visual representation for marketing, Instagram is the social media platform for you. It lets users follow you, and you can follow them back. It's similar to Twitter in that respect. If your business requires images, and you need to take images often, users will look for you on Instgram even before Facebook and Twitter.
Tumblr is really a blogging platform, but the way bloggers interact with each other has turned it into a popular social media platform. Most blogs offer content for readers, but Tumblr lets you publish content and then users can "reblog" your content.
Tumblr is similar to Twitter. When someone sends a tweet, the user can retweet the information. With Tumblr, instead of retweeting, the user reblogs your content, which then shows it to their own followers.
Reddit is a bit different than forums or blogging. It's a place to share interesting stories and images, and users can make topic-specific subreddits. Redditors (users) can upvote or downvote your topics, so spam stays under control with user-generated ratings.
If you have an interesting story on your blog or think your images are interesting for Reddit users, share them and see what happens. If you get enough upvotes, your shared content could make the front page of the site.
Quora is setup similarly to Reddit, but it's business model is a bit different. Instead of posting things of interest, you ask questions on topics that pique your curiosity. It's mostly personal questions, but you can market your company a bit on the platform.
Suppose someone asks a question about a certain product or service in your industry. You can answer the question and leave your business as reference. If your answer is upvoted several times, it's shown as the main answer when users browse the question and review answers.
WhatsApp isn't so much for marketing, but it is for communication between employees, contractors and even customers. WhatsApp is a communication tool similar to text messaging or IMing, but instead it limits use of data plans and uses wifi connections instead. Similar to Instagram, it was also purchased by Facebook. Facebook integrated it into its messaging, so you can make calls and chat with users without costing you a fortune in cell phone data plan charges.