How many times have you seen a brand advertise itself aggressively on Instagram and wondered why they don’t do the same on Google+?
Have you ever come across a bank advertising itself on Pinterest? Or a jewelry store on Twitter? Or silk scarf stores on LinkedIn? Have you ever looked at any ad on Facebook and wondered if that was the right forum to advertise your business on? What about those e-commerce websites ads right before your favourite YouTube videos play?
Who decides which medium to use?
Do you want to know what would be the best channel for your business?
Read on to find a comprehensive guide on deciding which social media channel should get most of your attention.
Who are the social media behemoths?
Social media is the all-powerful tool now. It is perfect in every way – widespread reach at negligible costs at lightning fast speed. It, therefore, makes perfect sense to use that resource for one’s business. One of the most relevant parameters to judge the popularity and effectiveness of a social media platform is the number of monthly active users on it.
Who should use it: Every type of business, big or small, local or multinational
If Facebook was a country, it would be the most populated in the world, ahead of China. As of December 2015, there were 1.4 billion active monthly mobile users. No doubt Facebook is the king of social media platforms. It is the most popular in terms of number of users as well as name recognition.
What to share: All types of online content, promotion, events, ads, updates
Post frequency: Once or twice a day
Useful tools: Bitly not only shortens links but also offers statistics of clicks generated from a link each time that specific link is converted. This helps know how much Facebook contributes to the online footfall.
As a country, YouTube would be the third most populous country, only behind China and India, ahead of the US. It is the second biggest search engine after Google. Around 1/3 of all internet users use YouTube. A staggering 6 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube monthly.
Who should use it: Any business that requires videos, tutorials or explanation (Think cosmetics, education, debates etc.)
What to share: Precise video content, preferably of less than 120 seconds
Post frequency: Once or twice a week
Useful tools: YouTube links make it to near the top of Google search results. An apt name and description of videos can ensure the target audience finds your page easily. A subscription widget or link to your website can help convert single views into a long-term alliance.
Despite the declining engagement rates, Instagram is still a powerful marketing tool. In its short lifetime, it has already garnered more monthly active advertisers than Twitter. A user can follow accounts to be constantly updated with the brand.
Who should use it: Fashion, food, travel, lifestyle, luxury brands, personalities – any product/brand that requires visual description
What to share: Visually catchy content, short videos of up to 15-20 seconds
Post frequency: Twice or thrice a day
Useful tools: The integrated sharing functions for Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter enable you to repurpose your Instagram posts. Make sure to include appropriate hashtags to increase discover-ability on Instagram and to track engagement across sites where the content is shared.
Despite its active base, only around 6.6 million users have made 50 posts or more on Google+. Over 90% profiles have never posted anything at all. This level of inactivity reflects the struggle of Google+ and often leaves it being simply another platform rather than the platform of choice for any marketer.
Who should use it: Any business already existing on other platforms, mainly B2B
What to share: Content much similar to Facebook except more professionally formatted, optimal usage of hashtags to promote search, mainly to direct traffic back to own website
Post frequency: Once or twice a day
Useful tools: Google Authorship can help bloggers ensure their Google+ profile are displayed in their content across the internet in search results.
An impressive 79% of the ‘Twitter ati’ is based outside of the US. That is the global appeal it has. It is also available in 35 languages. It is the platform of choice when it is important to know the happenings around the world in real time.
Who should use it: Everyone
What to share: Any content that can encourage direct interaction with the customers as long as it is brief and relevant, start discussions, post polls, invite feedback, post short updates
Post frequency: Multiple times per day
Useful tools: You can schedule content in advance using Buffer. This way you can post 24X7 without actually manually doing it at all times. This will engage followers in different time zones across the world.
Fast gaining prominent, Pinterest is predominantly a woman’s domain with a vast majority of its members being females. 93% of the ‘Pinners’ make purchases or plan to make purchases after seeing something on Pinterest. This fact is increasingly enticing brands to join the form with 1 million businesses already a member.
Who should use it: Fashion, food, travel, lifestyle, luxury brands, personalities – any product/brand that requires visual description (much like Instagram), DIYs
What to share: Visually appealing content
Post frequency: Multiple times per day
Useful tools: Pinterest relies heavily on recent content. So to promote your business, make sure you constantly pin and re-pin your content.
LinkedIn has around 400 million members but only 25% of those log into their accounts each month. This channel is mainly restricted to job openings, offerings and company updates. It is more like an employment portal or an online version of one’s resume than a marketing domain.
Who should use it: Recruiters, those looking for new employment opportunities, B2B
What to share: Job vacancies, company descriptions (highly formal content)
Post frequency: Twice a week
Useful tools: LinkedIn allows premium users to check who has visited their profiles. If you are visiting a page of a potential new employer (and obviously would want to hide it from your current boss!), do a Google search instead.
Snapchat is becoming so popular that internally they measure daily and hourly active users. Snapchat has a daily active user base of 100 million. Such is its popularity that in the UK, Vodafone has announced that 75% of the upload bandwidth of its customers is on Snapchat.
Who should use it: Those brands that exist on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest
What to share: 10-second videos (or teasers of upcoming products)
Post frequency: Multiple times a day
Useful tools: Snapchat mainly targets youth under the age of 25. If your target group is not the young demographic, consider limiting yourself to more far-reaching domains.
How should I know which channel is for me?
Answer the following three questions to understand the right platform for marketing your business:
Any other special tips?
Of course all this is all and above ensuring that your posts are to the point and suitable to the medium you choose. It would not make sense to try and put a lengthy description of your business on Twitter by breaking it down into 3-4 tweets. (No one has that long an attention span!)
If you are facing a paucity of time, remember, social media clout can be bought too.
No points for guessing that a conversation relevant to your industry or business is occurring on Twitter at this moment or similar business pages are being started on Facebook.
Are you a part of it yet?