Which social media platform is best for my business?

Mike Taylor | 30 July 2016

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious: There’s a lot of social media out there on the internet.

And all of it might be beneficial to your business if you can use it properly. From the ‘Big Five’: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn; to smaller but still popular platforms like Pintrest, Instagram and Snapchat – even Reddit is trying to clean up its act to attract more brands. And you can find some incredibly niche sites if you spend a few minutes looking, like Ravelry (for people who like to knit and crochet), Untappd (for people who like craft beer), or GoodReads (pretty obvious who that’s for.)

 

If you’re not sure which social media site is your golden ticket, it can be tempting to try and build a presence on all of them. But that’s just a way to half-arse your social media interactions. So where should you focus your time and energy? Well, wherever you feel you might get the most benefit.

In 2016:

  • Facebook has 1.1 billion daily active users and six new profiles are added every second.
  • 300 hours of video is uploaded to Youtube every minute.
  • 80 million photos are posted to Instagram every day.
  • 6000 tweets are sent out every second.

 

Facebook

Reasons to be there:

  • Because pretty much everyone else is, including your customers.
  • It’s a fairly easy way to interact with people and have them talk to you while still maintaining control of the conversation.
  • You can easily share multiple kinds of content to your page – links, photos, videos, and competitions.

Reasons not to be there:

  • Because pretty much everyone else is, so it’s hard to get people to pay attention.
  • Advertising can be expensive.
  • Once you get a conversation going on your page you need to monitor it closely in case it gets out of hand, which eats up time.

 

Twitter

Reasons to be there:

  • It’s a good place to show your brand’s personality.
  • You can use it to provide basic customer service quickly and easily.
  • Your brand can make the most of trends and hashtags.

Reasons not to be there:

  • The 140-character limit takes some skill to work with.
  • Growth of the platform is tapering off, and it’s being overtaken by newer sites.
  • While you can see what your customers are saying about you, you can’t delete negative tweets even if they mention your username.

 

Google+

Reasons to be there:

  • It makes your Google search results look better – links directly to location and contact info, opening hours, and reviews.
  • Almost everyone who has ever signed up for any Google service has an account by default.

Reasons not to be there:

  • Just because every user has an account doesn’t mean they ever use them.
  • You can’t share competitions or promotions on your page.

 

LinkedIn

Reasons to be there:

  • It makes you look professional.
  • Allows you to network with people and companies you might like to work with.
  • It’s easy to share and spread long-form content.

Reasons not to be there:

  • If you want to avoid having too much of a “corporate” image.
  • It can be hard to target customers rather than other brands.
  • If your target audience is young – most LinkedIn users are over 35.

 

YouTube

Reasons to be there:

  • You are regularly producing good video content.

Reasons not to be there:

  • You are producing any other kind of content, including bad video content.
  • YouTube commenters are famously terrible.

 

Instagram

Reasons to be there:

  • You have a lot of great visuals to share.
  • It’s a good way of showing your brand’s visual personality.
  • It’s reasonably easy to use and curate.

Reasons not to be there:

  • You don’t have a lot of good pictures.
  • There’s limited interaction between brands and users.

 

Snapchat

Reasons to be there:

  • Your target demographic is young people.
  • You are really creative with short videos and images.
  • Your company does exciting things which people will want to get a glimpse of.

Reasons not to be there:

  • Your target demographic is over 25.
  • You don’t have much of an idea what will make an interesting snap.

 

Pinterest

Reasons to be there:

  • Your target demographic is women.
  • Whatever text or links you have are accompanied by high quality visuals.

Reasons not to be there:

  • You want to reach men.
  • You don’t have high quality images to share.

 

As for the niche social sites, if you find one relevant to your industry, and you want to invest the time – go for it! You may not reach a huge number of people, but there’s potential to build up a loyal and engaged audience.

Really, when deciding which social media sites to be on, the answer is quite logical – go where your customers are!

But, no matter what medium you choose, if you think that social media will instantly be the answer to your marketing prayers, you’re in for a big disappointment. The time it takes to build a following means you will inevitably spend a lot of time shouting into the void. The trick is to not give up until the void starts shouting back.