There’s no denying we’re living in a digital age, and this doesn’t just apply to our business practices. We can check our bank statements, stream TV, shop and order food online.
The opportunities are endless.
It’s becoming more vital than ever for a business to have an online presence. Customers are checking ratings, reviews and recommendations. If they can’t find your business online, then they’re less likely to give you their business.
Social media is a huge part of this. In fact, people are more likely to give their trust, and custom to brands who use social media.
But with so many social media platforms out there, how can you choose which one best benefits your business? Over the next two weeks, we’re going to be offering insight into making social media work for you and delving into the pros and cons of the top social media platforms to help you choose which one is right for you.
Think of it like social media speed dating!
While the ideal might be to have a visible presence across all of them, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to maintain an active and engaged following on every channel.
If you struggle to find the time to manage any of your social media, then we have a few tips to help you out:
Choosing the right platform to fit your business doesn’t have to be daunting and overwhelming. Let’s take a closer look.
How Has Social Media Changed?
MySpace was one of the very first social networks in the early noughties and was the very height of teen cool. If you weren’t best buddies with MySpace Tom, you were a nobody.
Blogging platforms and free website builders also gained popularity, with platforms like Angelfire and Geocities allowing an online space to anyone with a voice and a bit of html knowledge.
For the more business-minded LinkedIn arrived onto the scene, allowing you to browse and share CVs and build up a business network.
But the social media revolution really started in 2005 and 2006, when YouTube, Facebook and Twitter launched to the general public (we’re ignoring Facebook’s slightly dubious history as FaceMash). These new platforms changed how people interacted, behaved and engaged with the internet.
As the world has gained more steady and affordable access to the internet, social media has skyrocketed. In fact, social networking is so widespread now that the number of social media users worldwide in 2018 is 3.196 billion.
That’s over a third of Earth’s entire population.
The key to the success of social media is constant evolution. The most popular platforms are constantly looking for new ways to expand and offer new innovation to their user base.
A perfect example of this is Instagram. The platform was launched in 2010, allowing users to take perfectly square images, throw on a vintage-style filter and share them.
Times have changed.
Instagram have always strived to be a one-stop shop when it comes to social media. Over the years they have looked at what competitors offer and developed an in-house version, including 15-second video sharing, stories and direct messaging.
Their latest innovations include IGTV, a video-streaming service that’s set to rival YouTube, and topic channels allowing easier browsing of personal interests, similar to Pinterest.
We’ve done a round-up of the new Instagram features and how they can offer big benefits to your business, here:
It’s clear their strategy is working. Instagram now boasts a global community of 1 billion users.
That’s around a third of all social media users.
What’s more, Instagram doesn’t even hold the crown for the highest user stats. That honour goes to Facebook, with an eye-watering 2.19 billion monthly active users.
Why Do I Have To Choose?
While it might be tempting to try and build a presence over every available network, if we’re brutally honest, you just won’t have the time.
Think of it as quality over quantity. While stretching yourself across multiple platforms may look good in numbers, by spreading yourself thin you’re not giving yourself time to engage with the community that you’re building.
It’s far better to have a small, engaged community who put their care and trust into your business rather than a large, silent following.
It’s also important to think about what content you’re releasing to the world. In a time where the internet offers a voice and platform to anyone with WiFi and a computer, you need to stand out.
Are You Serving Your Community?
When it comes to choosing which platform is worth investing your time into, you need to consider the following: your target demographic, the ability and nuances of the platform and finally, what you want to achieve from it. Are you looking to build a database of potential customers? Or maybe you want to offer rewards for loyalty?
Whatever your goal, we have one hugely important tip for you.
Don’t rely on social media to only serve as a help desk. If that’s the case, you’ll soon notice that all of your mentions are complaints or negative comments.
The strength of social media is the community it gives you access to, and like any community it needs care and attention to thrive.
We’ve shared a few tips here on how to make the most of your community, and how to avoid any social media meltdowns:
An engaged and cherished community is a loyal one and in the digital age, trust is your most valuable commodity.
In Part 2, we’ll be exploring the all-important nuances of social media and breaking down some of the pros and cons of the most popular platforms.
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