6 social media platforms to consider for your company
Social Media has exploded in popularity in recent years. It can be an incredible tool for businesses of all shapes and sizes, but to succeed, you're going to need a plan.
Creating a social media plan for your business can be a great challenge, and choosing which platform(s) you want to use is an important step in tackling this challenge. There are so many social media platforms out there, but how do you decide which platform suits your business well? And on how many platforms should you be active?
At the beginning of this article I can give you one piece of advice already: Quality over quantity. It’s better to choose one, or a few, platforms that fit your strategy and position your brand really well, instead of dividing your time and attention over lots of platforms and doing a half-ass job.
This article will lay out all the pros and cons of the most popular platforms to help you choose the best platform for your business.
Let’s start with the largest one: Facebook. Facebook has existed since 2004 and has since then built a network of over 2.8 billion active users. To put this in perspective, that’s almost a third of the world population. This makes Facebook by far the platform with the biggest reach. Also, Facebook is popular amongst a very diverse crowd: young and old people, people from both rural and urban areas, all kinds of educational backgrounds, all kinds of income levels, businesses and so on.
Why is that relevant for you to know? There’s a big chance your target audience is active on Facebook. And Facebook’s functionalities allow you to contact this target group (and for them to contact you) in a low-key manner: customers can post questions to your business’s Facebook page, and the business can respond, which makes communication effective.
Another nice functionality of Facebook is their advertising tool. Facebook Ads allows you to create campaigns aimed at a defined target audience for a relatively low price.
Facebook at a glance:
Creating a Facebook page for your business is a way to increase your brand awareness and connect with your customers.
While Facebook has more users, LinkedIn was founded two years earlier than Facebook. LinkedIn is known as the professional social networking site and has almost 740 million members, of which 55 million are businesses. LinkedIn can be used to build and expand your professional network.
It is also a great place to share new developments within your industry and stay up to date with what your competition is doing. You can position yourself as an expert in your field by creating, sharing and interacting with relevant content. Things you may want to avoid sharing on LinkedIn are funny memes, cute pictures of your pet or what you cooked for dinner last night.
A particularly interesting part of LinkedIn is their recruitment functionality. As a business you can post vacancies and as a job seeker you can respond to those vacancies, which makes LinkedIn the ideal platform to use if you’re recruiting new employees.
Linkedin at a glance:
LinkedIn is a social media platform focused on career networking, growing, and sharing.
Instagram is especially popular amongst the younger generation (ages 18 to 29 years). With its 1.2 billion users it is slightly smaller than Facebook, but certainly worth considering for your business. Its focus lies on visual content, including photos, videos and reels.
Instagram can be used to promote your products, but also for less obvious things such as showing your company culture to ‘humanize’ your brand (for example like @lifeatgoogle, @piggy_eu) or positioning yourself as the expert by posting informative content. Instagram allows you to be creative in the way you sell your products: for example, @gopro and @apple don’t show their products on instagram - instead they focus on the product experience.
Another strategy that works well on Instagram is influencer marketing: Paying influencers who have followers that represent your target group to promote your product. Also user-generated content is a popular strategy: companies (re)post content made by their customers. One example of a company that does this well is @happysocks.
Additionally, Instagram also has an advertising functionality for prices comparable to Facebook.
Instagram at a glance:
Instagram is a platform focused on visual content with a variety of opportunities to apply your strategy of preference.
Youtube is a combination between a visual search engine and a social media platform. It counts about 2 billion users per month and has become a platform where people go to be entertained, but also to learn something.
Youtube is great for sharing how-to videos and tutorials explaining your product or service, but also for sharing your brand video, a view behind the scenes or customer testimonials.
Using video for this is very effective, simply because people rather watch videos than read an article. Videos are easy to understand, which is good for your engagement.
Moreover, Youtube is the second largest search engine (following Google) and Google owns Youtube, which makes it no surprise that posting on youtube will help you be more findable on Google.
Youtube at a glance:
If you want to explain your product, service or brand by means of entertaining or informing videos, Youtube is the place to be.
A slightly smaller social media platform is Twitter, with ‘only’ 353 million users.
The main characteristic for Twitter is their character limit of 280 per post or so-called ‘tweet’. This is on one side a challenge, but on the other side forces users to focus on the core message and remove all clutter. A wide audience including businesses, celebrities, journalists and consumers use Twitter to share their opinions, stories, anecdotes, news articles everyday.
For businesses, Twitter can be used to share industry updates, post product releases and promotions, drive sales, respond to customers, expand your network and many other things.
Twitter at a glance:
Twitter is great for efficiently communicating opinions, stories, anecdotes, news articles through short messages.
A relatively new social media platform is TikTok. TikTok was first launched in 2016 and has gained immense popularity over the past few years, resulting in 689 million active users as of January 2021. Around 60% of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 16 and 24 years old, which makes TikTok’s user group very unique compared to other platforms.
TikTok is a video based platform, allowing users to post short videos about a wide range of subjects. Content creators make use of hashtags to reach their target audience. It is wise to acquaint yourself with the trends of the moment in order to create popular and shareable content and increase the chance of going viral. Also, on TikTok there are many influencers active, with sometimes millions of followers, whom you can pay to promote your brand or product.
TikTok at a glance:
TikTok is a relatively new platform and very popular among the youth. Using entertaining videos is the way to promote your product or brand on this platform.
Tips and tricks for all social media platforms
First of all, make use of hashtags and relevant keywords. This will help make you more findable for your target audience.
Secondly, are you a business? Then don’t forget to create a business account instead of a regular account. Business accounts have access to a wider range of functionalities that standard accounts cannot use, such as insight in statistics, the option to advertise and much more.
Also, whatever you do, always start with a strategy. Creating content just to create content will not help you reach your target audience. The more specific your strategy, the easier it will be to measure your performance and see whether or not your strategy is effective. If you can’t create a solid mission statement for a particular platform, it may not be worth it to invest your time in this platform.
Finally, a warning
While all of the platforms we've just mentioned each offer millions of users for you to connect with, it's important to remember that they are all businesses in their own right. In fact, they make money from businesses like yours. That's their model.
Therefore any relationship you have with customers through these platforms can be taken away in an instant if the platform suspends your account. Alternatively, if people start to leave the platform, you will also lose a connection to them. These situations are uncommon, yet certainly increasing in frequency.
The only way to be confident about your relationship with your customers is to ensure you have a direct connection to them. One of the most common ways of achieving this is using a digital loyalty platform that builds a customer database and allows you to email your customers directly. Naturally, we would recommend loyalty software like Piggy for achieving this.
If you're not bothered about any of that and just want to start creating, you can find more information in one of our other blogs about social media, where we provide you with some ideas for creating engaging content for your social media posts.
Congratulations, you now have the required knowledge to put your social media strategy into practice!