Which Social Media Platforms Should My Business Use?
The Upfront, Honest Truth About
Social Media Platforms
If you aren’t using the right social media platforms for your industry, you’re missing out on a huge marketing opportunity. A lot of business owners have preconceived notions about different social media platforms. Since we offer social media management services, we often get questions about the different platforms. “What social media platform is right for me?” The answer isn’t as clear-cut as you’d think.
We can talk numbers all day, but when it really comes down to it, not every platform is right for every type of business. That’s why it’s crucial to define your social media goals before you invest any time and money into a strategy. We’re here to talk about the good, the bad, and the downright questionable parts of social media platforms.
When in doubt, Facebook. If you’re looking to get your company on social media but don’t know where to start, we recommend Facebook. This is by far the largest platform, with over 2 billion monthly active users worldwide. 61 percent of those users are Americans between the ages of 25 and 54. This means you have a lot of opportunities to organically connect with potential customers and reach people in paid advertising, no matter what type of business you own.
Facebook is home to a robust set of options for business owners. Outside of your website, it’s the most comprehensive way to connect with your customers online. You can share a variety of organic content and Facebook is making it easier to connect with users with in-house video editing and enhanced post options. If you want to reach a larger group, you can go with a paid advertisement via Ads Manager. Although it’s a little confusing for business owners to use, social media coordinators can create a successful ad that achieves your goals.
We’ll address the controversy here. Within the last year, Facebook has received a lot of flak for the way its mishandled personal information, proliferated fake news and taken foreign governments’ money. Since Pesola Media Group offers social media services, we get asked what we think of the storm. Of course, it’s not good for their brand but they’re definitely taking strides to right their wrongs. Lawsuits aside, Facebook is where your audience is. It’s how your customers connect with friends and family. It’s an easy way to get up close and personal with your customers on several different fronts.
Instagram is the natural second-step in social media marketing. It has a billion users and 59 percent of them are under the age of 30. This means it’s a great spot to connect with a young audience and advertise to millennials. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 and as of the last couple years, they’ve implemented Facebook’s strategy to analytics and targeted advertising. If you’re familiar with Facebook, you’ll easily make the transition to Instagram. Although it’s a part of the Facebook family, Instagram is less complex.
It’s essentially a place to share photos. While it’s important to have an engaging caption, it’s more so about the visuals. If your business doesn’t have photo-worthy products or services, you may need to get a little creative with it. Truly, any company can be photo-worthy. For example, your industry is a little dull but you have an interesting office culture. This gives people a behind-the-scenes look at your company.
General Electric certainly isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think of cool Instagram pages, yet their account is flawless. We don’t know the first thing about electricity or engineering but their feed is interesting to look at. Honestly, we have no idea what we’re looking at but the photographs make this stereotypically boring industry look exciting. Any type of business can adopt this Instagram approach.
Say it with us—LinkedIn isn’t for everyone. Just because your competitor is on LinkedIn doesn’t mean it’s right for your business or your industry. The platform works best for B2B companies and doesn’t make much sense for B2C companies unless you’re looking for potential hires. LinkedIn is a great option for hiring qualified staff members, no matter what type of business you run. Everyone from small retail businesses to Fortune 500 companies use LinkedIn to find new hires.
People tend to argue whether or not LinkedIn is actually a social media platform. LinkedIn experts are in favor of the terms “social network” or “professional network.” At this point, they’re splitting hairs. Anymore, the lines are blurred on what’s actually a social media platform and what’s a social network. Essentially, LinkedIn has transformed into a social media platform because you’re able to share a variety of content. As with most social media outlets, it’s a whole package platform because of its ability to share and engage.
In the B2B world, it’s an ideal spot for sharing editorial content and building your brand authority. The demographic on LinkedIn is different than other social media platforms. It has over 260 million users coming to the platform every month and 40 percent of those users are logging in daily. 61 percent of users are between the ages of 30 and 64 so it’s the perfect place to share industry-focused content for the working world.
Many female-focused companies have found Pinterest to be useful due to its expansive audience. 42 percent of online women use Pinterest. 34 percent of Pinterest users are between 18 and 29 years old; 28 percent are between the ages of 30 and 49. That’s a huge demographic of women that can be reached on this platform. The wide age range means companies of all types can can attract qualified buyers, whether they’re selling affordable clothing or couture gowns.
Even better, Pinterest is perfect for targeting specific interests. It’s an excellent way to drive targeted traffic to your website. Pinterest is a prime location for people who are looking to make purchases. The average order value of sales coming from Pinterest is higher than any other social media outlet. Simply put, users want to buy things. With the Pinterest buy button, users can purchase your products quickly through a streamlined process via pins.
If your products include home décor, food, art, fashion or cosmetics, Pinterest is definitely worth your time. Even the service industry can get in on the Pinterest party. Wedding venues, hair stylists, nail salons, tattoo artists, jewelry designers or interior designers will feel right at home with Pinterest. 93 percent of Pinterest users are planning on making purchases, whether that’s on a product or service.
Some of 2018’s Top Pins
Snapchat is a polarizing social media platform. On one hand, it has gained worldwide popularity with young people. On the other hand, few small businesses have found a successful way to use the app in an ongoing marketing strategy. 60 percent of American Snapchat users are under the age of 24. This means the app is a potential goldmine for businesses looking to target young millennials and Gen. Z buyers. On the flipside, this age group commonly has little to no purchasing power. For example, it’s the most popular app among 13 to 17-year-olds and these teens certainly aren’t making any big purchases.
Which industries should use Snapchat?
Snapchat may work for casual restaurants, bars and retail chains. What do these businesses have in common? Their price point is affordable for a young audience. People under the age of 24 can afford dinner with friends or a new outfit. They typically don’t have a need for premium services and items. In other words, Snapchat may not work for companies who focus on big purchases like home remodeling, traveling or luxury handbags.
Young people as a whole are also focused on education. If your business sells products for students like backpacks, used textbooks or study materials, Snapchat may be beneficial to your digital marketing strategy. Typically, the biggest purchase a young adult will make is their tuition. Snapchat may be a prime space for colleges to advertise because they’re ultimately reaching their target audience—young people around college age.
This app really requires businesses to have a hands-on approach. People want to see photos and videos of your products, your store and your employees. This means it’s difficult to have third-party social media coordinators involved. In most cases, someone on your staff has to carve time out of their schedule to successfully use Snapchat to its fullest potential.
Let’s get it out of the way. Is Twitter dead? Well, sort of. All of us adults think Twitter is over with, dead and buried. In the professional social media world, Twitter rarely comes up in conversation because typical consumers are nowhere to be seen. So yes, Grown Up Twitter is dead. On the contrary, Twitter is gaining momentum with teenagers and college students across the country.
A vast majority of active Twitter users are under the age of 30. Gen. Z has gravitated toward Twitter as a means of non-linear communication. That means you can interact with multiple users at once and interact with old tweets, making it easy for young people to connect with friends. Again, like the dilemma with Snapchat, this age group doesn’t necessarily have purchasing power. This is something to take into consideration before creating a Twitter account.
Looking at the profiles of countless companies, both big and small, Twitter isn’t that useful for brand awareness or selling products or services. Business accounts are plagued with low engagement. Companies with hundreds of thousands of followers will see a couple retweets if they’re lucky. That being said, Twitter isn’t something that we recommend traditional businesses spending a bunch of time on.
Honestly, very few types of businesses can truly utilize Twitter with success. Recently, we’ve seen various political and humanitarian movements take to the platform. Twitter has transformed into a niche-based social media outlet. While the average consumer may not be thriving on Twitter, different communities like “Black Twitter,” “Feminist Twitter,” “Asian-American Twitter,” are utilizing the platform, creating hashtags and discussing social-political issues that affect their communities. If your business aligns with a niche-specific group, your company may find the platform useful.
Some Quick Social Media Tips
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Use multiple social media platforms.
- If you realize a platform isn’t working for you, it’s okay to say goodbye to move on to something new.
- Don’t be discourage by numbers. Sometimes likes and follows aren’t telling the full story.
- You’re there for your customers. Customer service applies on social media just like it does in your store, restaurant or office.
- It’s not all fun and games. Successful social media takes research, planning and time.
- Experienced social media coordinators have an understanding of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulations and make sure you’re compliant with platform rules and federal laws.