Which Social Media Platforms Should I Be Using - A Guide
From Facebook to TikTok, it can be difficult for brands new and old to decipher what each platform is good for and which they should have a presence on. Many clients, past and previous, have faced the struggle of either feeling the platforms they use are not working for them, or simply that they're spending too much time updating their profiles as they've got one on every single social media platform going. Not every social media platform will work for you, your customers and your brand itself, but that's okay. Read on for more information on each of the main social media platforms to decide which select few fit your brand the best.
Best for: paid social
Facebook is the king of social media for a reason, 2.4 billion people worldwide use the platform daily, meaning your target audience will be on there somewhere. The platform is by far the best in terms of the tools and capabilities offered to business owners to promote themselves, but they come at a cost. Due to the high saturation of brands and pages on Facebook, it has widely become a pay-to-play service, and you are unlikely to get very far if you are not willing to spend any money on ads to build an audience. Regardless of building an audience, however, it is suggested every brand has a Facebook page in order to boost their Google ranking and to easily display key business information like opening times, reviews and contact information.
Best for: customer service
Although limited to 280 characters, Twitter is incredible for quick customer services exchanges (just check out @ASOSHereToHelp for proof). It's fast pace allows you to reply to a number of queries quickly without spamming loyal followers. On top of customer service, Twitter is amazing for organic reach through the use of hashtags and trends. Getting involved with trending topics can be a huge pay off for brands, especially if they align with branding and your ethics, for example, McDonald's getting involved on deep Brexit talks would be rather odd and could easily alienate customers. Sticking to what you know and lighthearted topics may even lead to viral content, as Twitter is known to be the platform where many long lasting memes and other viral content starts.
Best for: visual content
On Instagram, it's very easy for brands to not only post stunning content showcasing their wares, but also to capitalise on growing an audience through the use of hashtags, especially now the platform has introduced the ability to follow hashtags just like you would follow an ordinary profile. As well as this, Instagram's Story capability allows brands to showcase a personality with behind-the-scenes clips, GIF adorned images and the ability to share posts from other profiles - perfect for showing how products look or can be used, or to repost influencers' images. IGTV has been introduced as a potential rival to YouTube, and whilst it may not be as popular as the video based platform, it allows brands to post long-form video content with an already established audience, and will provide you with a channel as well as the ability to post clips to your main feed. Instagram is the easiest of all the platforms to master and has a very wide range of audiences using the platform daily.
Best for: driving website traffic
Pinterest is not as versatile as the previously mentioned platforms, but works particularly well for food, craft, DIY and fashion brands. The visual link sharing capabilities are amazing for sharing recipes, new apparel and DIY projects, which are then shared to boards full of similar content for other users to explore. Boards are a great way to reach new customers and to potentially even interact with other similar brands who may share the same audience as your brand. It is worth noting that the majority of the users of Pinterest are women, however, this shouldn't stop DIY brands finding their niche on the platform.
Best for: B2B marketing
Whilst LinkedIn has always been the forgotten social platform, recent added capabilities (reactions, groups, video content etc.) have allowed it to catch up to others and become more of a professional Facebook than ever before, and the platform seems to improve almost daily. LinkedIn, even if unused, is a core necessity for 99% of brands in order to attract business and provide key details of what is it that you do. The majority of the site will be business to business marketing for stockists and suppliers, however, there is a growing community of B2C companies using LinkedIn to target their ideal professional audience with disposable income; in an arena with little consumer marketing, this seems to working well for those utilising it.
Best for: video content
YouTube is widely becoming a replacement to traditional TV; it has been estimated that by 2025, half of viewers under 32 will not be subscribed to a traditional TV service, with YouTube being one of the top pull factors for online video content viewing. Most brands will be able to find their target audience within at least one area of YouTube, and whilst not every brand will be able to create content to a high enough quality to compete with media brands and content creators, it is worth looking at sponsoring videos, much like what happens on TV currently (more on that here). However, if you are looking at creating your own content, there are many features you can make use of, including video tags, which act like hashtags on Instagram, and even embedding on your own website in order to provide more information on your business and increase video views.
Best for: brand personality
Snapchat is the place to be if you're looking to target younger Millennial and Gen Z with snappy content. Unlike other platforms, the quality of your content on Snapchat doesn't need to be to a professional standard, and more often than not, it's the authentic-looking, phone-shot content that harnesses the most attention. Whilst paid options on the platform are probably the most expensive of the lot, creating your own filter for a day may be worth the money for larger scale brands as this can act as residual marketing once the images are shared across various platforms. However, for most, the best option is to create an account sharing snippets of what life is like in your business. If you run a small fashion label, share video clips from on the set of your latest product shoot, or if you work within the food and drink sector, show your fans part of the production process. Using this type of content can help potential customers relate to the brand and see more of a personality rather than the usual glossy shots that end up on other platforms.
Best for: targeting Gen Z
TikTok may be the baby of the bunch but it's not one to be forgotten. The most rapidly growing social media platform of 2019, TikTok has become one of the native platforms for Gen Z, with teenagers lipsyncing, dancing and creating comedy sketches for masses of fans. Due to the lack of businesses taking TikTok seriously, it's currently possible to build a followership up quite quickly, providing you are relatable to teenagers in this day and age. The platform, whilst mostly video, is fantastic for influencer marketing and showcasing products in a new and edgy way, whilst still keeping to the essentials of online marketing. Like Snapchat, content doesn't necessarily need to be the highest quality - the focus on TikTok lies within the entertainment value for the audience.
Going into 2020, there are a number of social media platforms to choose from, and at least one will be suitable for your brand to utilise for brand awareness and sales. Who knows what the new decade will hold for social media - there may be a new platform to suit your brand better than any other, however, for now, it's best to perfect what you have.
If you're still in the dark about which social media platforms to use for your business, or need assistance with your content, get in touch to discuss your digital strategy.