There are thousands and thousands of social media platforms out there. Most of them are very targeted and answer to the needs of very specific niche. Others are just pointless. For the purpose of this post, we will consider the 6 main social media platforms nowadays and see what each of them has to offer to help you decide whether you should establish a presence on them, or not.
Now have a look at this nice inforgaphic by Leverage, which offers a very nice way to resume all this information:
You May Also Like: A Beginner’s Guide: Content Curation
To begin, frame your evaluation of each platform with the following questions:
- What is the unique purpose of this platform?
- Do its attributes relate to my business’s needs?
- Which target audience does this platform serve?
- How much time on this network is necessary to have the best impact?
Evaluating Purpose and Unique Attributes
There’s no shortage of social-driven platforms so spend time exploring once you’ve gotten your feet wet. You’ll find that Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are more than likely the places with the highest concentration of your key demographics. In examining the purpose and unique attributes of each, you’ll find that though they are all ‘social’, they have different strengths and selling points.
Narrow Down Your Choices
Now take a deep breath; your business doesn’t have to use all of the networks listed above. The following chart outlines how B2B and B2C marketers are using different social media sites.
Based on the above chart, it is clear to see that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most popular social media networks used by B2B and B2C marketers. However, it’s important to realize that, although YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat appear to have a lower usage percentage, research indicates that these image and video-based platforms are on the rise.
Start with a few, or even just one that makes the most sense for your business based on how your target market aligns with the demographics of each network.
A few tips:
Tip #1: Look into each social media channel and determine which will work best for your business. Consider the following important factors with each: The product or service you are offering and the available human and financial resources at your disposal. Social media may be free, but think about the value of your time!
Tip #2: Don’t sign up for EVERY social media channel because they are new or popular kid on the block. Determine which is MOST relevant to your business. Rather be excellent with one or two channels than mediocre at five or six.
Tip #3: Before deciding which social media channel to be active on, work out a clear and implementable plan. Many people lose their business focus while becoming social. It has a negative effective on the business due to the time lost trying to come to terms with social media. A plan really helps you to stay focused.
Tip #4: Don’t get frustrated. Stick with it. Social media takes time and an investment of your time over a sustained period in order to achieve results.
Recommended For You: Remarketing or Retargeting Website Visitors on Facebook Advertising
Here is a list of the most popular and effective social media channels:
Pinterest is the “visual” platform by excellence. It is all about discovery through images and it is one of the leading platform for traffic referrals.
The audience is mostly women (68%) but its 70 million active users can be a great communication opportunity for your business, especially if your core activity is built around Home Decoration, Fashion, DIY, or Cooking.
Twitter is an ongoing conversation that, like text messaging, has become widely popular. Unlike Facebook and other social media platforms, where people can choose what to look at on your site, or respond later, Twitter is more “in the moment.” The fact is that almost 6,000 tweets are posted every minute!
With 560 million active users, Twitter cannot be ignored and your business could greatly benefit from its presence on the micro-blogging platform, especially if your business is located or turned towards the US!
Facebook is one of the most powerful social platforms in the world. It’s size alone is a positive for any business, because you can assume most people are on it. Indeed, Facebook is the largest networking site and counts over 1 billion active users.
Unlike Twitter, you can choose what to look at and what to share. This gives businesses more opportunities to represent themselves in various ways. Facebook is about a long-term commitment and building relationships, although there’s some immediacy as you can reply directly to people’s comments or questions.
Facebook counts over 2,5 billion updates shared on its platform every day and this is a chance you do not want to let go. Where else on the web can you get so much exposure?
Check out this tips to boost engagement on your Facebook posts: 10 Tips to Write Engaging Facebook Posts [infographic]
Its 150 million active users represent the largest image-oriented community on the Internet and brands have been largely taking their spot on the platform, especially thanks to good hashtag strategies. If your business has some great photos to share that can broadcast your products and services, then you ought to consider Instagram.
Google+ is the social network built by Google, and just this might make you want to consider it. Why? Because Google will always support and give the advantage to its own products. This way everything you put on Google+ will help your business get more visibility on Google, you know, the number 1 search engine.
Google+ may only have 400 million active users now, but it is the fastest growing social platform at the moment. So since one cannot predict the future, not joining Google+ may be a decision you will regret later.
For a head start on Google+, we have some great tips: 3 Tips to Boost your Google+ Presence
LinkedIn is the consummate networking site. Even before the term “social media” became fashionable, we had social networking, and that clearly defines LinkedIn. It’s a way of growing connections in the business world and utilizing them as necessary.
Linkedin offers the stronger penetration among people aged 35+ and its 240 million active users are a great pool of partners and consumers to spread a serious image and a lot of awareness for your business.
Respond to results
At the end of the day, you should acknowledge that, despite reading all the best practice, your approach may need to be changed.
Only by monitoring your social networks’ in-built analytics tools – and checking for the desired effect in your business – can you understand the real impact of any given channel.
Learn about the user base of a new network to see if it’s relevant for your business in the first place. If your experience is positive, dip your toe in the water by claiming your brand name and replicating content from your existing channels, so as to not waste effort. However, if results are strong from your existing social channels, why abandon ship?