Social media is undeniably more prevalent than ever around the globe. In 2019, there will be an estimated 2.77 billion social network users and in 2021, 3.02 billion users. These numbers cut across many demographics and prove that social media is generally straightforward for the average mobile phone owner.
It is a different ball game, however, when it comes to utilising social media for businesses. Brands, therefore, have to be more deliberate when choosing a social media platform because each social media platform is fashioned to suit specific audiences and are more suitable for some industries than others. You wouldn’t want to be investing your marketing efforts on Facebook if the majority of people you’re targeting don’ use it. As a service/content provider, it is important that you understand the different social media channels and their relevance to business.
According to an adage, if Facebook were a country it would be the largest on earth. Facebook currently has over 2 billion users which makes it the social media channel with the largest number of users in the world. It is the primary platform for millions of companies around the globe to share their content, engage with customers and run highly-targeted marketing campaigns. Facebook has two types of pages namely, namely the personal page and the business page. The personal page has been known to promote better organic reach than a business page but there are several reasons why the latter would be more suitable for businesses:
Facebook has a policy that businesses make use of the business page. It can shut down businesses that don’t comply.
A business page can accommodate millions of followers whereas a personal page has a 5,000 friend limit.
On a business page, users have access to analytics.
The Facebook business page is also a very good platform to curate well-targeted ads to reach your audience better.
Among all marketing content, video performs best generating the highest conversion rates. This is perhaps, why Youtube, the biggest video sharing website is also the second largest search engine and has the highest referral rates of all the social media platforms. This shows that a lot of people prefer video to text-based content and this is something the average marketer can leverage on. Aside from its appeal as a video sharing website, Youtube is also one of the best platforms to carry out paid advertising. Syndicated advertising can also be carried out on the platform which is an effective way to generate viral content and reach new audiences.
Instagram is owned by Facebook and is presently the largest and fastest growing social network. It is visited by people mostly below the age of 35 years. Hence, most content posted on Instagram is content targeted towards millennials. Some of the features that make Instagram ideal for marketers include Instagram Stories which lets users post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, Snapchat filters, 60-second long videos, live video (a fantastic way to promote higher engagement), and the newly introduced Instagram TV (IGTV) which is an app within the platform that lets users share videos that are up to an hour long. Instagram has been shown to drive:
Ten times more engagement than Facebook
Fifty-four times more engagement than Pinterest and,
Eighty-four times more engagement than Twitter.
In essence, Instagram is the most engaging platform for brands.
Twitter is where everything trendy happens. The platform allows the sharing of tweets which are messages of up to 280 characters. Tweets can include photos, video links, and animated gifs. According to Twitter, 1.6 billion unique visitors per month see tweets on third-party properties, which corresponds to 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year. This makes it the best platform to grow your business as a brand and deliver public instant messages to your target audience, thereby promoting reach. Twitter also owns periscope making it another social media channel that encourages video marketing. As a brand, Twitter gives you the license to carry out several forms of advertising including paid ads, trending topics, and promoted profiles amongst others.
Most times, it is not just about who you know but where your existing connections can get you; this is where LinkedIn comes in. LinkedIn is the ideal platform for most business to business (B2B) marketers. It gives brands a platform to sell themselves and connect with other brands in their industry or with similar interests. LinkedIn is also a great platform to join like-minded people via “LinkedIn Groups” – platforms where professionals can share ideas and insights, seek guidance, and make valuable connections. By selecting the right targeting options on LinkedIn, you can easily get your ads seen by those who resonate with your business. Business owners who would want to become industry experts someday should definitely be on LinkedIn.
New businesses can easily leverage Pinterest. Why? Because with 200 million monthly users, it has less competition in comparison to the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This makes it an ideal platform for you to market your brand because you want to be where there is less competition. Pinterest is known to be predominantly for women but it actually has a 60:40 female-to-male ratio making it a good platform for businesses focused on men as well.
Users on Pinterest share content by “pinning” images, videos, and links that resonate with them. These pinned contents also known as pins have an average lifespan of three months making Pinterest the only social media channel that lets content stay that long. Although Pinterest also has personal pages and business personal pages which do not differ much in how they appear to users, business pages provide brands with more insights through the added analytic features which personal pages don’t have.