Before 2007-ish, every business in the world marketed themselves without using social media. Fast forward just over a decade, and it’s unthinkable for any company not to have some presence on each and every platform. But that pressure to be “on there” means many companies aren’t using the channels in the best way. They post blindly, eagerly hoping that their news will send customers their way.
I say STOP.
You don’t have to be on every platform. You probably don’t even need to be on more than one.
Each platform should be used differently to attract different audiences so here’s a guide on each one to help you decide which social media platform is best for business growth. (And then if you need a bit more help, we’re here.)
Twitter is a fast-moving platform with a crazily high volume of posts. Recent reports suggested 6,000 tweets are posted every second, or 500 million per day. That’s a lot of content to compete with.
Businesses tend to engage with Twitter in a couple of different ways.
Due to the brevity of posts, many companies tend to use Twitter for quick updates or quirky, offbeat and funny posts which are designed to be retweeted by their followers to gain a bigger reach.
Another function of Twitter is for customers to voice complaints therefore it is vital for any business to constantly check their feed and mentions to ensure they respond to issues promptly.
Best uses: community engagement; customer relations; driving traffic to the news section of your website; direct engagement with consumers and influencers; competitor snooping; monitoring news. More can be found on our full twitter guide.
Considered the most well-known and widely used social media platform, Facebook has over 2 billion users worldwide. That is a phenomenally large marketplace for any brand and it’s no surprise that many of the world’s biggest brands use it to promote their products.
The best way to engage and attract your target audience as a company is to create a business page and invite people to like or follow it. This allows those interested to view and comment on content posted by the business. From a brand’s point of view this can throw up problems of negative comments and create a dilemma between engaging with health debate and censoring negative comments. But it can also provide you with valuable candidates for focus groups, brand ambassadors, case studies and other good things too!
Facebook actively encourages business to spend on the platform to drive page likes, boost posts and convert leads but the technology is so advanced that it should only cost you pennies for each conversion so it’s worth it.
To get the most out of Facebook, businesses should post a few times a day and make sure content is engaging and creates a positive view of your brand.
Best uses: community engagement; customer relations; sourcing ambassadors and case studies; sourcing user generated content; discussion and debate. But mainly just for consumer facing businesses!
Seen as the business-to-business social media platform, LinkedIn is a great tool for startups to network and attract investors, mentors and talent to your organisation.
Like Facebook, you can have a business page as well as personal pages but the latter are far more effective for growing your business than the former. Why? Because you can do so much more on a personal profile. You can like and share posts of a lead or potential contact (thereby putting yourself on their radar), invite people to connect (turn prospect into a lead and start a relationship – which is much easier if they’ve liked your content rather than a business page’s content as it’s not a cold connection) and do private messaging (build that relationship). So whenever you produce some killer content, don’t just post it on the company page; get your sales/leadership team to share it with their networks and let the relationship building begin!
And if you want to do really well on LinkedIn, read how I won three new clients from one post.
Best uses: building one-to-one relationships with targets; building your profile as a thought leader; sharing business news and personal successes; building a network of contacts.
Instagram is very much image-driven and so any business using it needs to make sure they post eye-catching pictures. There is a text element to it as well, but the primary way to hook people in is with image. Users can also add stickies and tags to images and can construct stories.
Instagram have also recently launched IGTV – Instagram TV – which allows users to post videos. Now owned by Facebook, Instagram has around 800 million around the world. Great for businesses which sell physical products as you can showcase them, but it can also be used for more service-driven firms who can post funny, interesting or striking images as a way to build followers.
Best uses: Attracting and engaging consumer audiences; showing off visual products like furniture, makeup and hair care.
YouTube, which is now owned by Google, is a search engine and social media platform all rolled into one which gives users the chance to make, edit and post their own videos and comment and share others.
With video continuing to be an important tool for attracting and engaging new audiences, it’s worthwhile building up a library on a dedicated business page on there featuring demos, tutorials, interviews with leadership team, case studies, behind the scenes, team videos and more. You can then embed them into your social media posts and website to see traffic skyrocket.
Best uses: a home for your video content that you’ll be creating to engage your audience and to send them to your own website.
In short, Snapchat is to Instagram what Twitter is to Facebook. This platform allows people to send very short images or videos which only last for around 20 seconds or so.
While still a fast-growing platform with just under 200 million users, its demographic is very much young users in their teens and 20s. Also with Instagram now offering Stories, we can’t see this platform being one to invest much time in.
Best uses: Showing you’re “down with the kids”.
In conclusion, they all serve different purposes and, as a result, host different audiences. Think about who you’re trying to engage with and, what you’re trying to tell them and it should be fairly straightforward to identify the best social media platform for you. That being said, if you do need help and would like a strategy for making the most of your efforts, get in touch with us.