Social media is bigger than ever. It seems like everyone has an account on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook nowadays. Twitter alone counts The Pope and The Queen among their active users.
So, if you want your business to succeed, it’s time to get socially savvy.
In Part 1 we had a whistle-stop tour of social media - looking at the history, evolution and uses of the most popular platforms. We had a heavy whiff of 90s nostalgia, with throwbacks to Angelfire and Myspace, before looking at how to build an active and engaged following.
If you missed it, you can catch up with Part 1 here: Choosing The Right Social Media Channel—Part 1.
In this article we’re going to delve deeper into the nuances of each of the popular platforms and break them down into quick pros and cons to help you choose the best partner for your business.
The Nuances Of Each Social Channel
It’s highly important to choose the channel or channels that best suit and benefit your brand.
Are you offering a physical product? Instagram and Facebook are excellent ways to showcase photographs and videos of your merchandise.
Instagram takes advantage of your visual aesthetic, ideal to show off a physical product.
We recently explored the new features Instagram is offering and wrote an article about how they can really benefit your business here; New Instagram Features For Brand Marketing.
Are you offering a service? Take to Medium or LinkedIn to let your knowledge and words be the focus.
Each channel has its own culture and personality, and understanding this can help you boost your brand in a crowded market.
We’ve boiled the essentials of good social media down to 7 key do’s and don’ts, which you can catch up with here:
A Quick Overview Of The Top Social Media Channels
The platform where you can review people like they are Amazon purchases.
LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that allows you to create and maintain an online CV that can be used to network, or browse job opportunities.
It also allows users to write and share blog articles around their area of interest. It’s a great way to build a network of people with similar interests who may evolve to become collaborators or customers.
- Easy to find, communicate and connect with professionals.
- Offers participation in professional groups - simple way to find connections.
- Allows people to endorse or review the skills of those in their network.
- May be seen as too corporate for disruptive industries or young professionals.
- Not very image friendly - text posts are much more common.
- Competition - it can be hard to get noticed without high engagement.
The platform where you can find everyone from your boss to your college sweetheart.
Facebook is a social networking service that allows you to create a personal profile and add ‘friends’. You can also add community pages or business pages.
Facebook has evolved a long way from owning a simple page and ‘poking’ your friends. You can now host a business page that lets your customers rate, review and recommend your business. Groups are a particularly effective way to engage your audience. Facebook also allows for shopping pages and targeted ad campaigns.
- It’s easy to navigate and most people have a profile and know how to use Facebook.
- It’s massive. Facebook is #1 in the world of social media. That’s a big audience.
- Targeted adverts. It’s incredibly simple to create and launch campaigns.
- Lack of hashtag use. While you can hashtag on Facebook, it’s not commonly utilised by a large audience, so building a fanbase relies on outside engagement or adverts.
- The big audience. While on the whole a large user base is a plus point - it also leaves you wide open to trolls or comment wars. It can be time-consuming to manage this.
The platform that spawns unintentionally hilarious hashtag fails.
Twitter is a microblogging platform where you can connect with people in your sphere of interest. Clever hashtag use can get your post out to an audience of billions, with no fees to pay. But, be wary of the hashtags you use - there have been some spectacular fails that got attention for all the wrong reasons. Overall, it’s a platform popular in the spheres of tech, media, and startups.
- #Hashtag power. It’s easy to increase your reach and improve brand awareness.
- Free and simple analytics - you can see exactly what works, and what doesn’t.
- Brevity. The character limit keeps things quick and concise.
- Spam. Twitter is full of spam accounts who will rabidly follow and unfollow you to gain your attention. #follow4follow babes?
- Twitter is busy. Your carefully planned tweet could sink into oblivion under endless cat pictures and motivational quote retweets.
- The character limit can be… Well, limiting. If you have a lot to say, this may not be the best platform for you.
The platform designed to inspire #FOMO.
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing (and streaming) social networking service. It’s a great way to share product images or allow a more visual look at your business.
If your business is more focused on words - it may not be right for you as you can’t create a post without a picture. (However, clever typography can take you far.)
- Instagram is ever-evolving. They’re making it easier than ever to just focus on one social media platform with the introduction of new and innovative features.
- Highly visual - it’s a great way to show off your products in an informal setting.
- It’s a big audience that you can hit with hashtags. The new topic channels make it easier than ever to have your content reach people in your sphere.
- The non-chronological timeline. It’s a bugbear for most users that posts now work on a new algorithm that relies on engagement to deliver your post to your followers.
- Images either have to be uploaded via mobile device or via a third-party tool on your computer - there’s no simple way to transfer your image from your PC to the platform.
- There isn’t much room for additional content - you can only link to one website in your profile and every post needs an image. This means if you don’t have a suitable image prepped - you can’t post.
The platform where you can hoard ideas instead of working on them.
Pinterest is an image-collecting site, and is easily the most visual platform of all of the popular social media channels. Most images have little to no description, relying instead on the picture to speak for them. Hence the trend for content headers to be vertical and include the blog title. It’s a Pinterest thing.
- Pinboard images are hyperlinked to their source - that means no matter how many people the image is filtered through, you’ll always get the traffic.
- It’s incredibly simple to use - you just pin and go.
- The half-life of a pin is 3.5 months. Compared to Twitter’s 24 minutes and Facebook’s 90 minutes. Every post you make gets long-term engagement so it’s very time-budget friendly.
- You need incredibly high-quality images.
- It’s heavily image-focused. Your audience may be too busy looking at your image to read any text.
- Competition is fierce. The speed and ease of use can work against you. People are pinning so quickly, your post can easily get swamped.
As social media becomes more ingrained in our society, new platforms are beginning to appear and thrive. Some of these platforms are uniquely favoured by niche communities.
This can be a great opportunity to utilise an audience that is tailored to your interest sphere.
Telegram is making huge waves in the crypto community. The crypto world moves fast, so Telegram fulfils a need to deliver news and innovation quickly to an engaged and niche community. It also allows for friendly communication between a business and consumers, which is a great way to develop brand loyalty.
The key is knowing your target audience and looking for a combination of major social media platforms and more niche ones to reach the maximum audience.
Social media marketing is a case of quality over quantity. It’s better to have a small, active following than a mass of bots, follow4follows and sham accounts. You need to build your community, and then engage them.
One follower at a time.
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