Which social media platform is right for my business?

Even if your business has been around a while, it’s never too late to get involved in social media and help your company become more accessible online. Building a community on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can help with brand recognition and marketing campaigns, or even simple details like ensuring customers can find phone numbers and address information for your business.

But figuring out exactly what services to use can be a problem. With a metric ton of social media platforms out there (we know, we weighed them) figuring out where to put your advertising dollars and energy can be even more daunting than actually coming up with advertisements. With that in mind, we’ve put together a short list of the biggest names that are going to be most effective for your business as you get involved with social media marketing:

Twitter

The bird is the word when it comes to up-to-the-minute updates, making it a natural choice for announcing sales, deals and pressing news. Twitter’s limit to 140 characters per message lends it to being used as a news ticker, which naturally fits news organizations, but also restaurants with daily specials, shops with frequent sales and any other business that frequently has announcements to make. The service has improved over the last few years, bringing in easy-to-share images, videos and integration with other services that do both, like Instagram and Vine. There’s also no algorithm that makes your tweets any more or less likely to be seen by consumers, unlike Facebook; instead, readers will see tweets in the order they’re sent out. This is great for fair play (with options for sponsored tweets to really drive messages home) but also means that you’ll be playing a volume game: with all other things equal, you’ll have to be more active on this social network to get viewers to notice what you’re doing, even if they’re already following you. Also, even though Twitter is very well known to the public, it’s ranked 5th out of all social networks.

Pinterest

Pinterest is the online equivalent of a bulletin board, where each user posts pictures and links to things they find compelling. Pinterest’s model can be a boon to businesses that can translate their service or products into good-looking imagery, which means that clothing, furniture and antique businesses would want to hop on immediately. Given that the service is integrating buying options into the pins themselves in the near future, it’s a perfect match for selling products online.

LinkedIn

While it’s not impossible to pick up customers from your LinkedIn profile, the service focuses on networking between professionals over content sharing (though the feature exists). LinkedIn also has a typically low level of user interaction from day to day, with 300 million registered users according to a 2014 press release (compare to Facebook’s 1.44 billion active users per month). If your business caters to professionals and other businesses, LinkedIn represents your demographic beautifully and can be used effectively with a bit of strategy. If not, though, you may want to consider another platform.

YouTube

If you’re able to provide a regular stream of content, YouTube can be a great way to connect with your audience in a long-form fashion. Restaurants can upload videos of cooking classes, for instance, and virtually any product can be well-served by a good commercial (especially if it goes viral). YouTube is most useful as a brand-recognition and familiarity tool, and may be too time and cost intensive to produce quality video content regularly.

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest social media platform worldwide, with more than a billion users regularly checking in to see their newsfeed and share content from all over the web. Users and businesses can communicate directly, and everything from specific products to major sales can be advertised effectively. If we’re making it sound like a crazy marketing wonderland, it’s because it is – or at least it can be. With effective management and the occasional paid boost for your most important posts (which makes them much more visible to customers), Facebook can work for virtually any company and most every major brand is already heavily involved in the platform. The catch: Facebook wants to make money with paid advertising, and the algorithms that determine what shows up on a user’s newsfeed are punishing to content that doesn’t fit a variety of criteria.

So, to sum up: if you’ve got a specific niche that fits a platform like Pinterest or Instagram, get involved there. If your business doesn’t fit those molds (or you’re not sure) Facebook and Twitter are excellent catch-alls that will work for nearly any marketing campaign on any level.

As always, if you’d like more guidance for your business from professionals who know how to make social media work for you, give BizBuzz a call at 256-310-7973 for a free consultation.

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