Which Social Media Suits Your Business Profile Best?

The social media landscape is vast, and it can be tempting to think that you need to be “everywhere,” on every social media platform from LinkedIn to Twitter. The problem with this philosophy is that being everywhere doesn’t connect you with your desired target audience(s), and doesn’t make the most of your time and efforts.

By choosing the best social media channels to connect with your audience, meet people who can help spread your brand and your content. To increase your visibility in the search engines, you need to identify what channels you should be using for your social media marketing efforts.

That leaves just one question – which social media site is best for your needs?

Number of Active Users

When it comes to the number of people actively using the various social media sites, Facebook wins hands down with over 1.2 billion users. The next runner up, Google+, has just over half that with a little over 500 million users. Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn round out the top five in that order.

So just what do these statistics mean? The more people using any particular site, the more chances you have to gather an audience, right? But social media is far from a numbers game. More followers doesn’t necessarily translate into more visitors to your website or help you reach your bigger business objectives.

That’s why choosing the social media network that best suits your business objectives and connects you with the most meaningful social media connections with real people will significantly improve your odds in succeeding in social media marketing.

Facebook

Facebook remains the biggest and most frequently used of all social media sites. The number of younger users has declined in recent years, but overall, Facebook still sees some of the highest levels of engagement of any social networking site. Additionally, the days of posting content and having that content seen by fans (or “Likes”) are gone, and businesses need to pay to play. Boosting posts (often for as little as $3-5) as well as advertising are critical to Facebook marketing success.

It’s also important to note that certain kinds of content, such as videos and plain text status updates, tend to gain more visibility because the reach is greater. However, posts that include photos have lower reach but higher engagement. This means that you have to find a balance between visibility and engagement with your audience when using Facebook. But despite these drawbacks, Facebook can become a leading source of referral traffic to your website.

Google+

Google+ has never quite gained the audience it promised with its first hype, especially in the United States. However, it has become a surprisingly effective tool for B2B marketing, connecting to those in more tech-oriented industries and ultimately connecting to the network’s broad male user base. Another of the big benefits of Google+ is easy video sharing, which makes the site an excellent spot for businesses with a focus on multimedia marketing.

Additionally, since Google+ is part of the Google network, there are direct SEO benefits of using G+ to amplify your visibility within the Google search engine.

Twitter

Twitter is a popular tool for gathering trending news and topics on real-time basis. The ability to use hashtags makes it easy for users to find content that is most meaningful instantly when required.

Among the biggest benefits of Twitter is that it allows for quick and easy communication. Businesses looking to engage with their audience one-on-one would do well to sign up with this ever-popular micro-blogging site. Companies with an interest in Twitter should bear in mind that it tends to cater to newsworthy and trendy topics, which means that those without much to offer in the realm of late breaking news may feel left in the dust.

One of the drawbacks of Twitter is the short time span, or half-life, of a standard tweet. Statistics indicate that the average tweet has a lifetime of about 30 seconds or less, which means that marketers need to consider the spread of messages and may need to select content to repost to leverage the benefits of Twitter.

Additionally, Twitter typically skews towards younger demographics (20-somethings). Users also tend to be urban, minority, have an income of less than $30K, and are typically renters (rather than homeowners). While this may be the ideal audience for some marketers, it may not be the perfect market segment for others.

The biggest benefit of Twitter is its relationship with Google. As of February 2015, tweets are now indexed by Google, which provides businesses using Twitter with greater opportunities to be found in the Google search engine, as well as with significant traffic-generating potential.

YouTube

Businesses may have underutilized the internet’s most prominent video-sharing site in the past, but that is no longer the case. As a matter of fact, YouTube is only expected to grow in importance as a marketing tool from 2015 and beyond. YouTube counts over a billion users.

Among the site’s most prominent user base are millennials (ages 18-32), who by and large prefer to watch content on the site over watching it in any other format – cable television networks included. However, its reach is extensive among other demographic areas as well, with almost half of all senior citizens who regularly use the internet spending time on the site. Other important demographic areas attracted by YouTube include young moms and younger men. Several niche markets already populate YouTube in droves, a fact that makes it easy to enter into the YouTube community with the right content.

YouTube easily integrates with virtually all other social media sites, as you can easily share videos on various platforms. However, there is one significant factor in YouTube’s success as a marketing tool – since Google owns it, YouTube videos, pages, and links have a high potential for visibility in search listings. By making full use of YouTube’s features, including its tagging system and description and category fields, businesses can easily boost their presence online.

Another bonus for businesses who choose to market on the site is access to YouTube’s Creator Platform, which provides instant access to full demographics that reveal who is watching a creator’s content. Are viewers male or female? Where do they connect to the internet? In which age range are they? All this information – and more – is just a click away for business owners.

Pinterest and Instagram

As leaders in visual social media, both Pinterest and Instagram provide users with a fast, easy, and relaxed atmosphere to share photos and videos.

Pinterest, known for its large female demographic, consists of three specific types of users: young families, families with a passion for an active lifestyle, and empty nesters. Additionally, Pinterest users tend to range from 25-60 years old and generally live in suburban areas. The most popular topics range from wedding and fashion/beauty to recipes and cooking to home improvement to DIY and crafting. You can share both photos/images and videos on Pinterest. Brands such as Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Martha Stewart, and Better Homes and Gardens magazine are some of the most popular with Pinterest users.

An added benefit of Pinterest is its tie to Google. Google indexes Pinterest user boards as well as individual pins. This translates to greater visibility in Google for businesses that utilize Pinterest for marketing purposes.

Instagram, while similar to Pinterest, tends to attract a significantly younger audience. Teens and 20-somethings from upper-income homes typically are power users of Instagram. When using Instagram, it is important to note that while the users may be from affluent homes, the average user does not have much disposable income. Additionally, Instagram is a mobile-based platform requiring manual submission of content. This can be a challenge for brands because one cannot schedule or push posts through third-party tools without violating Instagram’s terms of service.

While there may be some technical challenges to using Instagram for businesses, it is important to note that Instagram is part of Facebook’s network. Photos can be shared directly from Instagram into Facebook, which offers many businesses a unique opportunity to reach two markets at one time.

LinkedIn

It goes without saying that LinkedIn is a must for any business who wants to reach audiences in the B2B (business to business) marketing sector.  However, it should not be ruled out for other forms of social media use either. LinkedIn can be an incredible resource for reaching a professional, educated audience and any business that is seeking to expand would do well to maintain a LinkedIn account to make the appropriate connections within their industry, as well as to find quality customers and clients.

While individual users can push content into their profiles, businesses can also share blog content on business listings. This can be very helpful to drive quality traffic back to your website. Much of the focus on LinkedIn for most marketers consists of broadcasting information on the LinkedIn platform. However, LinkedIn can be an especially important tool for sales professionals and business developers.

Smaller niche groups allow businesses to tap into very specific market segments and make personal connections. The key to these connections is to avoid coming across as promotional or pitchy. Instead, businesses (and their individual human representatives) should focus on providing responses to questions asked by other members.

For example, if your business provides equipment geared for the engineering and printing industries, your sales and business teams (and even your marketing people) should be in groups that reach these audiences. Additionally, you should join groups where your competitors are to gain competitive insights, as well as groups where you can network with others in your industry.

Putting It All Together

At the end of the day, you are unlikely to choose just one social media site. Fortunately, many of the most popular sites were designed to work together. One more thing to remember as you start to put it all together – vanity numbers are not always a good indicator of success as you navigate the social media landscape. Bear in mind that a high fan or follower count does not necessarily mean that all of those people engage with your business, or that they pay attention as your posts and updates flit across their screens.

As you get your social media campaigns underway and attempt to determine if the social media you are using actually suits your business profile, pay attention to factors such as engagement. How many shares, repins, and retweets are you seeing on a regular basis? How many new visitors, viewers, and followers are you getting as a result of social referral? Not only that, but also is the content that is being shared the most relevant or important content? Remember that a thousand shares of irrelevant content does not say nearly as much about your business as a hundred shares of content relaying your core message.

Also remember to take the time to examine measurable indicators of your success. Have your social media campaigns done anything to lower the cost of lead acquisition, to increase your overall number of leads, to shorten your sales cycle, to increase your market share/mindshare, etc.? Above all else, have you seen an increase in concrete details such as your number sales, repeat business, or overall satisfaction with your customer service?

The time and effort you put into your social media campaigns should have a directly measurable outcome whether it’s in these concrete factors or in the overall visibility of your brand online. When you make the right decisions about which social media channel you use, you put your company at the doorstep of users who want to listen to what you have to say. Think smarter and make the most of the time that you spend being social.

2018-08-17T11:12:07-05:00