17 Jan Which platform is right for my business?
In this digital age where a social media presence is a must, knowing which platform is right for your business is crucial. There is a no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Each social media network varies in its style, functions and audience. But how do you know which one is right for your business? We highlight some of the top social networks to help you find the right fit.
Overview: Founded over 10 years ago, this social media website has become a global phenomenon. What began as a small player against MySpace and Bebo, the once little known network now has 2.2 billion active monthly users! Wowsers, now that’s some audience! *Millennials (28-36 year olds) form a massive majority of this, followed by 45-54 year olds. At its core, Facebook (on a personal level) enables you to find friends and connect with them through photos and videos. You can ‘like’, share or comment on posts. Business wise, it makes sense to connect with your customers in a mutual place where they are morning, noon and night.
Features: Facebook Live, Stories (short visual posts – this will continue to be a big trend this year), Groups (ideal for reaching new audiences and networking with like-minded businesses), Watch (new feature where Facebook’s algorithm selects videos you’d like based on your interests), and as we speak there are more features on their way… We couldn’t forget Facebook Messenger which continues to be a popular way for people to speak with businesses at a more personal level. You can also create advertising campaigns around this feature including re-targeting.
Use it for: Businesses whose customer base is B2C (consumer based). People use primarily use Facebook for their own leisure, however with the rise of Groups, it can be a great place to connect with other professionals, share ideas and network. Facebook is fantastic for generating brand awareness and developing brand loyalty. Building a strong following does take time, but it is all about quality, not quantity. Make your posts stand out by always sharing a photo or video, and if you’re feeling brave, experiment with Facebook Live. Share your story! Facebook’s advertising feature is perfect for targeting audiences based on their age, location and interests. You can also target people who have previously engaged with your page and run campaigns across your Instagram page.
Overview: Instagram has steadily become a major player, focusing on image led content. Photos are king on here. Bought by Facebook in 2012, the network now has over 700 million monthly users. Aimed primarily at younger audiences, with 18-34 year olds forming 61%** of its users, Instagram is a great place to engage with a younger demographic.
Features: Instagram Stories has taken off in the past year – this tool lets you take a photo and add text, stickers, hashtags and much more. Stories both on Instagram and Facebook will continue to play a massive role in engagement and how well your profile is found. Share your view of the day, your products and your news with this highly visual tool! Instagram continue to add new features such as Live Video, IGTV (video sharing), Shopping (allowing you to direct shoppers to your website and buy your product directly) and even making a restaurant reservation!
Use it for: Instagram is perfect for any businesses whose audience is B2C and potentially B2B if you are a business consultant. Great for creative businesses – whether you operate within the wedding industry, clothing, handmade products, tourism or accommodation, I believe that all businesses have a visual story to share. Share a photo or video at a networking event and tag in peers, your view (I live in Cornwall, so there are plenty!), a new product or even an achievement. Don’t forget to add in your hashtags to increase your post reach and engage with new followers. Again, here you can ‘boost’ your post and advertise your brand to thousands of new people based on age, interests and location. Don’t forget to add in a new Story from time to time. Stories appear for 24 hours and are a great way to share short snippets of your day, an event for example?
Overview: Twitter uses tweets instead of ‘posts’ with content traditionally much shorter. Unlike Facebook, you really can just keep tweeting as this network is much faster paced. Did you know that over 13 million people*** in the UK use Twitter? Popular across all spectrums including news and entertainment as well as networking. Heard of hashtag hours? Definitely worth doing!
Features: Since extending its 140 characters up to 280, you can say a little more in your content. But be careful not to say too much, be short and sweet. Twitter content is much more to the point and the use of hashtags is essential. Why? You can follow hashtag’s on Twitter and it acts in a similar way to keywords and SEO (search engine optimisation), meaning your tweets are more discoverable across Twitter and search engines. TOP TIP: Make sure the hashtags you use are relevant to what you’re saying, being used (no use in using a word that no-one is using), and even trending. Video is king and a relatively new feature on Twitter. Share where you are, what you’re doing and behind the scenes of your brand. Following other profiles is key to growing your own Twitter page, so make sure you follow influencers and businesses that are of interest to you. Hashtag hours: Most big cities, towns and specific industries (e.g. #WeddingHour) have these set up. They are a community group of sorts where for one hour (usually each week), you use #CornwallHour for example in your tweets and share what news you have. It’s amazing to see what goes on in everyone’s worlds, and it’s a great place to share your successes or just generally stop by and say hello!
Use it for: B2C and B2B. Share short messages using keywords and make sure you tag in any profiles relevant to your tweet.
The average Twitter user in the UK are 59% men and 41% women and aged under 34 years****. The insights area of Twitter is quite detailed in showing what your followers are interested in, location, age and gender. Facebook has the edge in terms of a higher engagement rate, however the fast-paced nature of Twitter makes it an ideal network for businesses who want to stay ahead of the game. The hashtag hours are a fantastic place to network with nationwide and local businesses and great for brand awareness. Keep an eye out for more Twitter features coming this year… They are considering removing the heart (like) button, adding in an edit tweet feature as well as new layouts for easy navigation.
Overview: Pinterest has over 250 million monthly active users* with the average user aged 30 to 49-years-old. The majority of users are female, however the number of male users that signed up in 2018 rapidly grew. According to Hootsuite, Pinterest users are more likely to be well educated, have a higher than average income and live in the suburbs – an interesting tool if you have customers that fall within these demographics. So what is Pinterest all about and what is ‘pinning’? Pinterest is essentially a inspirational or ‘mood’ board for all your interests. You can create your own pins around a topic, adding it to a board (album/collection) or share other pins that interest you. You can also collaborate with influencers and bloggers so that you can share your own content on their own boards (enabling you to reach even more people). Every day, ****2 million people post pins globally, showing how massive an impact this platform has on the world. Pinterest allows people to plan life moments, from weddings and parties to crafting and travelling. It is a virtual planner designed to inspire you.
Features: Pins and boards. As with most social media networks, you can advertise your business on Pinterest. Pinterest lets you choose your initial interests when you first sign up and it will show trending pins that match your selection in the home section. Each pin can include a link, making this platform great for sharing blogs. Images that tend to do well are those that are portrait, set to a specific set of dimensions (keep an eye out for our next blog on the best photo dimensions to use for each social media).
Did you know? According to marketing research by UMass, Pinterest is the number one shopping platform among millennials.
Their research also showed that 47% of millennials on Pinterest have purchased something they’ve pinned (9 percent more than millennials on Facebook and 14 percent more than millennials on Twitter). 55% of Pinterest users shop on the site, more than 4 times the rate of other digital platforms. 61% of Pinners have made a purchase after seeing branded content on Pinterest.
Use it for: Great for highly visual businesses. Creative businesses who have a visual product or message to say will do well. Photographers, wedding venues, make up artists, marketing professionals, life coaches…. you name it, as long as you have an interesting image and message to share, Pinterest is for you. Don’t forget to share your blogs here!
Overview: LinkedIn does what it says on the tin. It links you in with business professionals. The beauty of this platform is that you know what kind of person you are talking to, i.e. people with their business ‘hats’ on. Everyone is on LinkedIn to specific share business news and connect with peers. When I’m networking, I always make an effort to follow up any people I’ve met with a connect request on LinkedIn and often a personal message. If you’re like me, connection requests from people you don’t know, followed by an impersonal private message selling their service can really put you off. No-one likes cold calling. By all means, if you’re looking to connect with a person you’d like to work with or help, send them a private personalised message introducing yourself first. First and foremost, be yourself, be polite, professional and get connecting!
Features: The newsfeed shows posts from your connections as well as posts that include hashtags you’ve chosen to follow. You can advertise your products, services and job vacancies on LinkedIn in two main ways; a sponsored post (newsfeed) and InMail ads (straight into your message inbox). As with Facebook, you can join Groups based on industry interests and for networking. These places are a great way to connect and share ideas with peers, potential clients and local businesses you may have met.
Use it for: B2B – purely for connecting with business professionals. Businesses have the option to create a company page with information about you and links to your website, however I would recommend using your own profile account more as people want to do business with, and chat to people. LinkedIn tends to be the most forgotten about social media network and quite undervalued. Trends indicate that LinkedIn will grow even further in 2019. It really is the network for all.
There is of course lots we haven’t covered including SnapChat, WhatsApp and more! If you haven’t got much time on your hands and you really want to see the benefits of social media, just focus on one or two social media networks. Do these well, build up your confidence and then try out a new network. You will know from the number of leads generated or engagement from people what works best for your business. Like with any marketing activity, if it isn’t right or achieving your goals, move on. I’ll leave you with these four words for your content strategy; plan, post, review, repeat.
Got any questions, ask away by emailing me or booking a free consultation.