What social media channels should I use for my business?
Social media is essential for business these days, it has become the new ‘word of mouth’ and can be a very powerful tool. But where do you begin? Which social channel do you invest your time in? Which site for your business will provide the most return on investment? This is a really tricky question to answer, because really, there is no single answer. The best social media platform to use will vary from business to business depending on the products or services. Each platform is specialised for different functions, content and groups of people.
Below we will discuss a variety of platforms, and even if you only pick one of them, it will bring a level of authenticity to your brand and product that mainstream marketing used to bring. Now days, people will check to see if you have a website or a Facebook page to make sure that you are an authentic business and not a hoax. They will also use reviews in these places to make judgements about your brand and product, in a similar way to word of mouth.
It should come as no surprise that Facebook is one of the biggest social platforms on the planet. Now entering its 13th year, it is a mature brand and a strong commercial platform. With over 2.4 billion active users per day, it is the most widely used social media site. Facebook advertising allows you to target customers by age, gender, employment, interests, relationship status and so much more. It is a platform that you will benefit from paying to advertise, but it is best to be targeted in how you do this. For further information on using Facebook for business, keep an eye on our Events page as the Polaris Centre regularly has social media workshops throughout the year.
The fastest growing demographic using Facebook is aged 50+, while younger groups (<18) are tending to not use it at all. If your market is looking at younger demographics, you would look to get involved with other social platforms.
With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram is a large and active social media platform. Being a very visual platform (it is all about the images you post!), this platform is great for businesses that have a strong visual element, such as food and creative businesses, where capturing great shots, especially product shots, shows the experience a customer might have. This can work to a business’s advantage, as people remember more about images they see as opposed to what they read or hear.
In addition, you can grow your following more organically on Instagram, which means you don’t necessarily need to allocate a budget to this platform, just time and a good creative eye. However, Instagram has a similar advertising platform similar to Facebook, so you can pay to get further reach and grow your following.
YouTube is a video platform with over 30 million daily users who are likely to watch content. Streaming content is not a new phenomenon, but more users are being attracted to this very mobile way of watching programming. YouTube can work well for your business if you regularly use it to upload content that has been thoughtfully put together. If you are a food business, this might be some footage of making a cake, or the manufacturing process of a particular part.
Google owns YouTube, which means that it is partnered with Google search and you can optimise the search of your company’s videos through clever use of keywords.
Without having to spend extra money on advertising dollars, you can make your YouTube videos have higher search rankings by including the searched keywords in your title, video description, and actual list of keywords in the keywords tool.
LinkedIn is generally a business/professional platform. Here you will find businesses listed in a more structured way. In addition, people on the platform are often linked with other likeminded business professionals and their profiles look a lot more like a resume (than you might find on other social media platforms). LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if you are looking for Business to Business interactions (B2B) and it may also be an interesting recruitment tool if you are looking for new employees.
LinkedIn has around 300 million monthly active users, mainly in the working world.
Pinterest is another very visual social platform, so again, if your business is in the food or creative industries, then this might be the place for your business. In addition, there are more female users on Pinterest than most other platforms, so this may help with your segmentation. There are some paid options for advertising on Pinterest, however its organic capabilities give businesses a chance to strategically plan their content to include keywords that have a high search volume, without having to pay extra advertising dollars.
Summary of other platforms
New social media platforms are being developed all the time. Not all will be successful, others will look to surpass traditional platforms, and these include:
- Snapchat (mostly younger users, allows you to send videos and photos)
- Twitter (short form posting, with limited characters, a very fast moving newsfeed)
- TikTok (users create their own 15 second video clip, used for capturing the attention of younger users)
- WeChat (a Chinese multipurpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app. Essential if you are exporting to Chinese markets)