A very important question with a not-so-easy answer.
When getting started with marketing your business via social media, it’s critical to consider these points:
You can’t sign up for every social media platform. It takes considerable time and energy to market well on each platform.
There are many big and growing platforms out there and if you were to have a presence on each one, you would just be spreading yourself too thin.
It’s better to dedicate your time and energy to crush it on one to three platforms rather than having a mediocre presence on five or six.
Each social media platform is different. They each have their own character and types of content they use best.
With this in mind, it’s important to consider which of these platforms will work best for your business.
Consider the products or services you offer. What do you sell and how would it be best presented to your target market?
Consider your human resources. Do you have someone who can dedicate their time and energy to making social media work best for your business?
Consider your financial resources. Yes, social media may be free, but it takes time for someone develop a social media plan, implement that plan, and follow up. And there is also a cost for ads on social media.
You must be able to develop a plan for whatever social media platform you choose, and you must stick with it.
It’s easy to get caught up in the “liveness” of social media, but a plan will keep your marketing efforts focused and consistent.Plus, social media marketing takes time. Results are not instant. You have to be willing to commit to whatever platform you choose. Social media marketing may be a longer-term investment, but the results really do pay it off over time.
While you consider these key points, here’s a breakdown of the most popular and effective social media platforms:
The social media giant. Facebook has 2.2 billion active users monthly (Statista, 2017)— that means that 30% of the human race logged into Facebook within the past 30 days. Facebook is undeniably a great resource for connecting your business with the world. It’s basically the social home base for business online.
With Facebook, users can easily get all the same important information that they would find on your website, they can send your business a message like they would a friend on Facebook, and they can browse and shop products.
At present, there’s a lot of controversy surrounding Facebook after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. While the fallout of Facebook with the government and with the public is resulting in the depreciation of the API— which affects strategic users of both Facebook and Instagram —Facebook will still remain one of the most powerful social marketing tools.
There is such a vast potential for targeted customers on Facebook that having a business Facebook page is really a must. If you are going to dedicate your business’s presence on any single social media platform, Facebook should still be one to strongly consider.
Instagram is all about the visuals. As a photo and video sharing platform, this is great social media for products and services that are best marketed in images. As the fastest growing social media platform out there, Instagram is becoming the “it” social marketing platform.
With 800 million active monthly users (Statista, 2017) and a historically guarded API, Instagram has been one of the most honest and is the fastest growing social media platform out there. It is, however, owned by Facebook so its API will also depreciate effective pretty much immediately. This is all in an effort to be more considerate of user data privacy and to earn back the good graces of the public.
As a marketer that makes your job a little more difficult because you have less access to data that helps you make strategic decisions, but as a civilian, it makes you less vulnerable to propaganda. That’s the tradeoff.
None of this really changes the fact that Instagram has been growing at a rate of about 100 million new active users every 6 months for the past three years. There’s so much potential for growth on Instagram when you actually interact with followers and post engaging content frequently.
Instagram ads are becoming a great ROI. eMarketer estimates that Instagram will bring in $6.84 billion in global mobile ad revenue in 2018. A lot of people have figured out how to get targeted results from Instagram on the cheap too.
I personally focus my own energies on Instagram and Facebook. That’s where my audiences are.
Twitter has 330 million monthly active users (Statista, 2017). Up until fall of 2017, you could only use 140 characters per tweet, but now they’ve bumped it up to 270 characters. Although this platform limits you to 140 characters per tweet, it has proven to be great for connecting with customers.
Because of the necessity for brevity on Twitter, it has become a great platform for headlines and one-liners which can quickly go viral— whether good or bad.
This is a decent platform for customer feedback. So if you want to connect with your customers and level with them, this is a great platform to link into.
I’ll be honest… Twitter isn’t a platform I like to use anymore. Twitter is more of a headliner platform. It doesn’t allow for much depth. Plus with about 15% of Twitter users being bots (that’s about 48 million), there’s a significantly large barrier to connecting with people in a genuine way. But hey, for some business models, that’s okay. It really depends on what you’re trying to achieve.
For most businesses, connecting with people is central to the success of the business. So with that in mind, Twitter should most likely not be your priority platform.
This is the largest social network for businesspeople and professionals. There are 250 million monthly active users on LinkedIn (Omnicore, 2018).
This platform is more professional than any of the other social media platforms. It’s great for connecting with other people in your industry, finding and posting jobs, and making networking connections. You can also post content and establish yourself as an industry expert.
It’s worth mentioning that 70% of all users on LinkedIn are outside of the US (Omnicore, 2018). So if you’re interested in marketing to a global audience, LinkedIn is a good place to maintain a presence.
The most popular video oriented site with over 1.57 billion active users monthly (Omnicore, 2018).
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and is owned by Google! So if you have a need for marketing through video, YouTube is a great place to have a presence and will also help your SEO on Google.
Google+ has 395 million active users (Raka Creative, 2018). However, this platform is less of a social network than it is… well, a checkbox for SEO. We all know Google is the king of search engines and pretty much the gatekeeper to everything you could ever want on the Internet. But does it really serve you to prioritize Google+ as a social network just because it’s got Google’s name on it?
Yes and no.
Because Google+ is Google, having a profile and activity on Google+ does help you in your search engine rankings. So when someone searches for your business, all the information they need plus your most recent posts on Google+ will come up. So not having a Google+ account is actually a detriment to your online presence.
However, as of 2016, 91% of Google+ were empty— meaning they were either created as spam accounts or as stepping stones to access other Google services. So as an interactive social platform, Google+ has almost no substance.
So it’s a no-brainer to have at least a Google My Business listing and post some updates on your Google+ account to keep it active, but to spend any of your time or resources beyond that would be— in my honest opinion —a total waste.
(The irony of writing this article in Google Docs while criticizing a Google product is certainly not lost on me).
Consider the marketing needs of your business, educate yourself on the major social media platforms, and pick between one and three to dedicate your focus of social media marketing.
If you need any help, give me a shout. I’m happy to work with you to determine which platforms best serve your needs and create crafted content for those platforms.