Which Social Media platform is the best choice for my business?

The use of different Social Media platforms for different purposes

In my last post I wrote about why your marketing and communication strategy should be Omni-channel. The overall strategy is important but so are the strategies and tactics regarding the different channels. Today there’s no way around it. Your customers and prospects spend a lot of time on social media; therefor your overall Strategy should contain social media.

But how do you choose which platform to use for your business? What platform is good for which purpose? In this post I am going to take a closer look at some of the major social media platforms. Who is using them and why? What are they good for? What are the best/worst practices?

social media users and usage

Before I get into the specifics, there is certain general “guidelines” I would like to point out.

 

General strategic considerations when choosing your social media platform(s)

As I have stated in some of my previous posts, the most important factors, when choosing which social media platforms your business should be present on, are your values, what you want to say and your target group’s preferences. Asking yourself these questions will help you in determining which platforms to choose.

Who are you? What is your brands history, Values and culture?  What kind of image do you have? What are you product portfolio? Are all your employees on board?

What do you want to say? How does social media fit in your overall strategy? What is your purpose with taking on social media? Do you want to create brand awareness? Do you want to market or sell your products? Are you here to build up relationships or create a community? Or are you planning on doing customer care via social media?

Who do you want to say it to? Who are your target group (segmentation)? What are their specific characteristics? What kind of (community) values do they have? What are their preferences within social media? How do they engage with each other? How do they use the different platforms?

How do you want to say it? Once you have answered the prior questions you will have a good idea how you can communicate with your target group. Now it is time to get more content specific and ask questions like: What tone of voice should we communicate in? Would it be a good idea to use visual storytelling or is the target group more into texts? Should we use humor or maybe scientific articles?

Once you have answered these 4 questions you will have a pretty good idea of why you want to be on social media, what your target group likes and expects and what type of content you should create. With all this knowledge you have a good basis for choosing what social media platforms you should use and for what purpose.

 

General best/worst practices when choosing your social media platform(s)

Even though every social media platform is different and should be used for different purposes, there are some general best worst/worst practices that you should be aware of.

Do: Be social and be interesting. But most of all be yourself when you engage with your customers/followers/fans and prospects. Share insights and concentrate on adding value. Share your knowledge and perspective. Care about the community and building up strong and lasting relationships. Listen and be open and honest. Be trustworthy and consistent. Remember to fill out your bio in the social networks that have one and add location for trust and visibility isues.

Don’t: Don’t spam. Spamming people is a really bad idea that will cost you fans and followers. Don’t automate your social media (that isn’t social) and people will see through you very quickly. Don’t go overboard with your scheduled posts, reality can change in an instance on social media and you don’t want to send out really happy messages on a sad day. Don’t just push sales; if you do it right people would want to buy from you.

The #Hashtag A lot of social media platforms let you use hashtags. So here is what you need to know about them. A hashtag is a tag that let’s user find your content by searching on that tag.  A hashtag places your content in a collection with other content tagged with the same hashtag. For instance if I do a hashtag search on #food on Instagram I would be shown all the pictures and videos tagged with #food. Most platforms use hashtags as a way to let you promote your content or find other people that are interested in the same things you are. In Twitter hashtags are also used in chats and debates.

 

The Social Media platforms – what are they good for?

I have purposely chosen only to write about the social media platforms I use myself and therefor know more about. Please note that this post is written in a western perspective and that the social media platforms are used very differently in other parts of the world like for instance Asia. Many of the platforms can be used for the same purpose, like sharing visual content to create brand awareness, but keep in mind that every platform has its own culture, the users use them for different purposes and that the target groups are composed differently within the platforms as well.

 

fb2Facebook

Facebook is still the most used social media platform when it comes to advertising. Facebook has more than 1.15 billion users and as many as 47% of Americans say that Facebook is their number one influencer when it comes to purchases. A bit more women than men, and all age groups are represented on Facebook and the majority of users is above 25 and below 60.

Facebook users is using the platform to stay connected with friends and family through photos/videos and semi personal updates, sharing interesting or funny links and creating their personal brand through chronological storytelling. Facebook updates can be set to private, public or customized.

Facebook has some of the best targeting options and some of the highest numbers regarding impressions (the number of times your post is displayed) and reach (the number of unique users that potentially see your update because it appears in their feed while they are on Facebook). Both impressions and reach can be organic, paid or viral and unless you have a really engaged community you will need to pay to get a good reach. In Facebook you are able create Dark Posts by using Power Editor  this can help you understand your customers and prospect better by enabling you to split test your ads.

 

Facebook is the optimal platform for:

  • Creating brand awareness
  • Social selling
  • Driving leads via content – pictures, text, videos, links, news and more
  • Creating and sharing events
  • Making competitions
  • Reaching your “audience” through advertisement
  • Creating groups and communities
  • Engaging (with) your customers
  • Sharing light weight and popular content
  • Sharing internal insights and behind the scenes about your brand or business
  • Building up personal relationships
  • Listening to your customers and prospects
  • Creating social proof
  • Sending out promoted posts
  • Creating, targeting and split testing ads
  • Reaching your “audience” through Graph Search

Lately there has been a lot of talk about Facebook likes being useless which is not completely true. While a lot of likes from people, that are not your target group or even your demographic group can harm your reach. Likes are still good for social proof, for creating the right targeting and now when Facebook has made graph search available for mobile, I believe they will also be important for the creation of brand awareness. Facebook has just made it possible to preview and edit Dark Posts.

 

twi2Twitter

Twitter is also a major player when it comes to social media platforms. Twitter has more than 550 million registered users and is one of the fastest growing social media networks. Twitter is the most used platform when it comes to events of a specific character like for example sport events. Most of Twitters users are well educated and between the ages of 18-50, with the same gender division as Facebook.

 

Twitter is used mostly for the here and now conversations and for hashtag search! Everything you share on Twitter is public, but you can use direct messages to chat in private. A Twitter post is constricted to 140 characters – it may not sound like a lot, but it is amazing what you can say within those boundaries.

 

Twitter is the optimal platform for:

  • Social selling
  • Instant sales
  • Sharing breaking news
  • Real time engagement
  • Customer service
  • Building up chat communities and relationships
  • One way following
  • Interest based networking and knowledge sharing
  • Creating brand awareness  – sharing pictures, text, videos , links, news and more
  • Driving leads via hashtags and content
  • Listening to the market and your customers and prospects
  • Engaging with your followers, connections and customers
  • Creating PR
  • Sharing market specific articles
  • Sharing personal and professional insights
  • Creating social proof

Twitter has just recently started to send out promoted posts and also recommendations based on how many of the people you follow that have favorite a post. A few days ago Twitter also opened up their analytics tool for all to use, which will make it easier for marketers to use the platform. The common interest is what drives Twitter and therefor marketers’ use of Twitter up till now has mostly been networking and driving leads by using hashtags.

 

ins2Instagram

Instagram is yet another big social media platform with over 200 million monthly active users. As much as 42% of US teens use Instagram and they do this from their mobile device. All age groups are represented on Instagram but the most common user is between the age of 14 and 35. Instagram has a bit more female users than male users.

You use Instagram to share photos, short (15sec.) videos and short texts, using hashtags to spread your content. An Instagram account can be private in which case only followers who is allowed can see your content or it can be public. You can’t share links in Instagram, but you can and should add a link in your profile bio.

 

Instagram is the optimal platform for:

  • Sharing photos
  • Creating visual competitions using hashtags
  • Driving leads via hashtag and visual content
  • Creating brand awareness
  • Social selling
  • Creating social proof
  • One way following
  • Engaging with your followers
  • Creating visual storytelling
  • Sharing behind the scene insights
  • Building up relationships

Instagram has just integrated a Hyperlapse feature on their platform that lets you make mobile Hyperlapse while moving around. This allows you to capture an entire event, like for instance a dinner party and share it in a hyperlapsed form via Instagram.

 

li2LinkedIn

LinkedIn is first and foremost a professional network. Both people and companies use it as online portfolios, for recruiting and for professional networking. In 2012 LinkedIn members did over 5.7 billion professionally-related platform searches. The platform has over 313 million users from across the globe and 39 million of these are students and recent college graduates. There’s almost no filtering of stories in LinkedIn which means that you should be extra careful not to spam people with updates, but also that updates posted in LinkedIn has a high visibility.

 

LinkedIn is the optimal platform for:

  • Professional branding and storytelling
  • Publishing articles
  • Sharing projects and portfolios
  • Recruiting
  • Recommendations and endorsements
  • Sharing business related posts and articles
  • Creating brand awareness through business related conversations
  • Creating groups and communities based on interests
  • Sharing professional insights
  • Building up professional relationships

LinkedIn is all about business. So if you want to promote or market your business using this platform, you have to be sure that you add value to your network. LinkedIn users don’t want their feed cluttered with small talk. 45% of the users on LinkedIn are browsing from their mobile which is a little lower than most social networks, which possibly has to do with the heavy weight nature of the content shared on this platform.

 

yt2YouTube

YouTube is one of the largest social media networks for sharing videos. It has more than 1 billion unique visits every month and over 100 hours of video uploaded every minute. Mobile use make up for about 40% of YouTube’s watch time and the platform reaches more US adults between the ages of 18-34 than any cable network. People of all ages use YouTube and many young people consider YouTube to be there favorite platform.

 

 

YouTube is the optimal platform for:

  • Making your own channel
  • Sharing high quality videos
  • Sharing video tutorials
  • Building a fan base of video subscribers
  • Creating brand awareness through video content
  • Sharing video advertisement
  • Social selling
  • Sharing behind the scenes
  • Engaging your audience through content
  • Building up relationships

YouTube is mostly used for entertainment and all though you can engage via the comments section a lot of businesses choose not to, because of the amount of irrelevant comments they might get. However if you are trying to or already have created an engaged fan base the comments section can be really giving. YouTube is a Google product and to use it properly you need to link it up with your G+ account.

 

g+2Google+

G+ is growing. It has now reached over 359 million monthly active users and some think it will become larger than Facebook.  G+ has combined many of the features from Facebook and Twitter in its own way and therefor offers a lot of options. But G+ is more than a social media it is also an important platform for your business because you can use it to better your search rank in Google for instance by sharing content that links to your website. Unlike the other social media platforms G+ has more male users than female users approximately in the ratio of 68/32. Marketers use G+ a lot and the fastest growing age demographic in 2012-2013 was people between 45 and 54 years old. Being a part of Google, G+ of course also has some great analytics tools for their platform.

 

G+ is the optimal platform for:

  • Building relationships – both personal and professional
  • Engaging
  • Creating interest based groups, communities and hangouts
  • Sharing articles
  • Social selling
  • Creating webinars
  • Strengthening your SEO
  • Creating brand awareness
  • Driving leads via content – pictures, text, videos, links, news and more
  • Sharing internal insights about your brand or business
  • Building up personal relationships
  • Listening to your customers and prospects
  • Creating social proof
  • One way following

G+ has made it easy for you to customize who sees your content using circles and hangouts. The use of the platform is there for also divided in to circles; the same user can have different circles for different purposes. I for instance have a friend circle that is kind of like a little Facebook, a professional circle that is more like LinkedIn and Twitter and a family circle (+ some more).

 

snap2Snapchat

Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks amongst the young more than 71% of Snapchat users are under 25 years old. Today there are more than 100 million active monthly users that send out about 400 million snaps per day. Snapchat has more female than male users. Snapchat is a mobile social media platform that differs from the others by deleting your message after it is viewed. It is a visual media that allows you to send pictures and videos to your followers or in private messages. You can also draw on your snaps or add a little text.

 

Snapchat is the optimal platform for:

  • Visual storytelling
  • Real time engagement
  • Send out temporary content
  • Sharing breaking news
  • Creating brand awareness by being creative and/or funny
  • Sharing behind the scenes and exclusives
  • Creating competitions
  • Creating social proof
  • Creating personal relationships
  • One way following
  • Real time geo targeting

The majority of Snapchat users use the platform to send out funny content and often in the form of a selfie which is the most popular form of snap.

 

pin2Pinterest

Pinterest has over 70 million users most of them are women and most are from the US. Pinterest is a visual social media where users (including companies) share their own as well as other user’s images. Pinterest is a great platform for inspiring others with beautiful content, for discovery and for selling.

 

 

Pinterest is the optimal platform for:

  • Visual marketing and storytelling
  • Creating brand awareness by being creative and/or esthetic
  • Social selling
  • Creating social proof
  • Creating personal relationships
  • Sharing behind the scenes
  • Building up communities
  • Project collaboration
  • One way following

Boards (albums) on Pinterest can be either public or secret which means you can share with a selected group of people. Since Pinterest is based on the sharing of images it is important that you remember to give credit where credit is due. You can use images from Pinterest as long as you give credit to the image provider and don’t use them for commercial purposes.

 

vin2Vine

Vine let’s its users create and share 6 second videos. It is one of the largest social media platforms when it comes to short, funny and informational video clips. The vine app was one of the most downloaded apps in 2013 and have well over 40 million users. Teenagers love Vine and over 25% of teenagers in the US use vine. A majority of Vine users are most active in the weekends and 57% of them are women.

 

 

Vine is the optimal platform for:

  • Real time engagement
  • Visual storytelling
  • Creating social proof
  • Send out temporary content
  • Sharing breaking news
  • Creating brand awareness by being creative and/or funny
  • Sharing behind the scenes and exclusives
  • Creating social proof
  • Creating personal relationships and communities
  • One way following
  • Creating (product) teasers

 

 

red2Reddit

Reddit is a big open source community with over 135 million unique monthly visitors (aug. 2014). The prevalent user group in Reddit is the 18-29 year old males. Reddit has over 328 million users and consists of several communities called subreddits. In Reddit users shares, discuss and up-vote content which makes Reddit an excellent platform for real time engagement and news. The Reddit communities are often the first to know what is happening online.

 

 

Reddit is the optimal platform for:

  • Market listening
  • Real time engaging
  • Collaborating
  • Building up communities
  • Sharing thoughts, ideas, information and content
  • Product and idea development
  • Creating brand and content awareness
  • Creating PR
  • Sharing market specific articles
  • Sharing personal and professional insights
  • Sharing and getting breaking news
  • Creating relationships

On Reddit you shouldn’t try to push your content or do shameless self-promotion.  Reddit is a social sharing network, which means that you have to engage and share to be accepted by the community.

 

 

jel2Jelly

Jelly is a social media where you ask user to user questions based on images, text or place. Jelly is a fairly new social media platform with an active community. There still isn’t much statistic to find about Jelly. Jelly connections are tied to your current networks (Twitter and Facebook), which means that you can’t be followed or added in Jelly without a prior connection. Even though Jelly isn’t made for marketing and you shouldn’t say if you are doing it, it still has a lot of great opportunities. Many people are using Jelly to ask for advice about brands or where to buy the best bike, donut etc. They also ask for advice on what kind of brand a certain shirt/cap/car is and where they can get it.

 

Jelly is the optimal platform for:

  • Listening to the market
  • Engaging with customers
  • Creating brand awareness
  • Visual marketing
  • Product development
  • Social selling
  • Creating personal relationships

 

 

stel2Steller

Steller is a new social media platform that combines images, videos and text into a powerful visual storytelling format. There’s still no statistics on Steller. But it does have many active users and I am convinced that it will grow.

 

 

 

Steller is the optimal platform for:

    • Visual marketing and storytelling
    • Creating brand awareness by being creative, funny and/or esthetic
    • Social selling
    • Creating social proof
    • Creating personal relationships
    • Sharing behind the scenes
    • Building up communities
    • Project collaboration
    • Creating visual online portfolios
    • Creating online stories and magazines
    • Creating cook books, travel guides and the like
    • One way following

 

 

whis2Whisper

Whisper is a platform where you can share your thoughts and confessions anonymously. It is mostly used by young people, an estimated 90% of the users are between the age of 18-24 years old. In Whisper the users share images with small text confessions. It has about 3.5 billion viewed messages per month. Whisper were not build for marketing, but it still has some possibilities especially regarding visual marketing and listening. You just need to make some catching or beautiful confessions.

 

 

Whisper is the optimal platform for:

  • Creating visual brand awareness
  • Listening
  • Engaging
  • Testing out product ideas

 

 

tumb2Tumblr

Tumblr is a microblogging service and a social media platform with over 194 million blogs in 13 different languages. More than 199 million people visit Tumblr every month to read blogs and blogposts. A Tumblr blogpost doesn’t have to be only text, but can contain images, videos, links and audio as well.

 

 

Tumblr is the optimal platform for:

  • Sharing blogposts
  • Building up reputation
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Creating brand awareness
  • Sharing job postings
  • Engaging
  • Creating interest based relationships

 

 

tracesTraces

Traces is a new networking app that lets you leave digital messages on physical spots. In that way you get your message within the context. This, I think, will be a big deal for many markets (including shops and retailers) in the near future. I haven’t been able to find any statistics on Traces. For now you can only get the app in the UK App store.

 

 

Traces is the optimal platform for:

    • Real time Geo targeting
    • Context driven messaging and marketing

 

 

Other platforms

As I stated in the beginning of the post I have chosen to write only about the social media platforms I use and know more about. Of course there are many other popular platforms out there and you should look into them as well.

 

Remember to use manager and listening tools

Regardless of which platforms you choose to use for your business, managing tools are essential if you want to measure and test the impact your work has. The different platforms have different tools, so check them out, once you know which platforms that best serves your business needs. You can also hire a social media manager company, which specializes in listening, testing and targeting on social media.

 

Please note that the statistics in this post comes from several different sources and that I can’t guarantee 100% accuracy.

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