What social media platforms are there and how do I decide which is the best for my business? A common question asked by many small and medium business owners every single day! Let’s take a look and see if we can’t clear things up for you…
Now, we all know that Social Media can be an incredibly important tool for businesses, charities and organisations of all shapes and sizes… But, with so many options out there, how do we decide which platforms to use? Firstly, we need to understand what the choices are and what each platform does that differs from the others. Let us take a quick look at some of the top social media platforms in use today.
What social media platforms are out there?
- Facebook – Facebook is one of the most widely used Social Media platforms out there, with 1.6 billion users connected with local business Facebook page’s. Facebook business pages are normally the first stop for most businesses, free to set up and easy to use. With built in scheduling systems and links to cross post into Instagram, Facebook pages are very user friendly. Also, check out Facebook Groups, used by brands as a ‘members’ area or for advertising/community type groups which are great for promoting your business in.
- Twitter – Twitter was the LinkedIn ‘professional’ platform of the day, still widely used but with restrictions on word count in your post. This creates a more – Instant, short, news headline type of newsfeed. Short punchy messages work well on Twitter and it can also be a great platform to connect with large corporate chains.
- Instagram – The photo and video loving generations out there love Instagram! With its sleek layout and built-in photo capture and editing software, it’s ideal for brands, products or services that are pleasing to the eye. (Instagram is a must for foodie, destination or product type businesses to show off their beauty.)
- LinkedIn – The new, ‘go-to’ business professionals platform with its built-in job search capabilities has become a favourite for business owners around the World. LinkedIn is a powerful tool, especially if you are a B2B brand who would benefit with connected to other businesses easily.
- Google Business – SEO Wizard and forgotten gem… Link your website, social media platforms and social feeds / reviews into Google, the Number one search engine with powerful, unbelievable reach! Don’t let this one be forgotten by your business plans folks!
- WhatsApp – Not considered a social media platform by some, but actually an incredible business tool for staying in touch with potential clients. Owned by Facebook, it allows you to connect your messaging option on your FB business page direct to your WhatsApp. Talk to your clients, talk to business contacts all in a more professional setting than general messaging platforms.
- Tic Tok – Not just for the young-uns… Some of the Worlds biggest businesses and professional brands are growing their followings using Tic Tok. Have you got the time, dedication and creativity to utilise this powerful tool?
- YouTube – The second most used search engine out there, videos are an incredibly useful tool for promoting your business or brand. Do you share video content for your business? Is your brand or product visually pleasing? Are you a creative person? Then get on YouTube and make the most of it!
Now, some of these platforms mentioned above might not have even occurred to you as being ‘Social Media’ platforms… But, quite simply, any online/digital platform where ‘social’ communication in one form or another happens, that is social media! An online medium where people can communicate, promote, share or learn.
So now you know the key platforms out there, how do you decide which is right for you and your brand?
Which social media platforms are best for different aspects of business?
Facebook, a great all-rounder – Great for pretty much all industries, services, brands, events, charities and so much more. With Facebook being the most used social media platform, it is certainly a platform that you business should be using within your marketing & brand management.
Twitter – Great for quick, short, snappy, news flash type posts. Twitter is used for sharing a quick, short message. An update or notification on a new service, new blog or some kind of news for your business. Used more for professional businesses and news based organisations. So, if you’re a news agency, large corporation, or a blog writing wiz then Twitter is for you… If not, then head elsewhere.
Instagram, the photo based platform that’s simply awesome for visual, impactful brands such as events, arts, food, photographers or travellers… The uses are endless, as long as you have something pretty to share, from graphics to great photos then you should be using Instagram. If you are a bookkeeper, in finance or something that isn’t really that pretty to look at, then go for a different platform.
LinkedIn – The more ‘refined’ & professional platform, taking a lot from what Twitter used to portray. LinkedIn is an absolute must for any B2B businesses, professional or financial services, marketing and so on… With a built-in job search software, LinkedIn is great for any professionals who are also looking for a new job, the profile section is set up as if it were an online CV for each user.
Google, the online giant that is the Worlds biggest search engine… So, why wouldn’t you be on Google? Basically, we are firm believers that every business owner should do some work on their Google presence, no matter what you do – Make the most of the SEO enhancing, awesome platform! (Other search engines are available 😉 )
Join Google Workspace today -> Click here.
WhatsApp, not what you think of when it comes to social media. However, if you are looking for a more professional way of communicating with your clients or your staff that is quicker than email. Then WhatsApp is your platform! (Hint – You can also tie-in your WhatsApp with your Business Facebook page.)
Tic Tok – Not just for the kids as we mentioned before. Tic Tok has the huge potential to reach millions of people, yes… Millions! If you have a great product or service that can be portrayed in video form or your target audience are the younger generations then Tic Tok is the place for you! Music artists, dancers and travel bloggers are making huge waves on Tic Tok and are growing their following to unimaginable numbers
YouTube, the second most commonly used search engine under Google… If you’re a creative type of person, artist, video maker, photographer, traveller, teacher… You need to be on YouTube! Sharing video content of your products or services is a great way to grow your brand.
Let’s mix things up now…
Ok, so we have the ‘what’ and the ‘why’…. But, in practice what does this all mean? Lets give you some examples and then you will be able to compare with your own business.
Firstly, let us pretend that we are a restaurant selling beautifully made food and maybe even the odd cocktail. What social media platforms should we be using? Ok, the main choice of course would be Facebook. Create yourself a great looking Facebook business page with a beautiful cover and display image, maybe a nice logo for the display image, something that will catch the eye. Then, we should look at Instagram, it links well with Facebook so makes for an easy set-up, even better is the visual nature of Instagram will work well with photos of stunning food and drinks!
Going a little further into our marketing as a restaurant though, we want people to find us easily and enjoy our food while on holiday or visiting our area. Facebook and Instagram might be good to keep people interested, but how do they find you in the first place? Google business of course… As we mentioned before, in our opinion EVERY business should have their Google account set up! It will help to bring in those customers!
Now, lets say we are an accounting firm. Without a doubt, Facebook and Google of course need to be toward the top of your social media marketing plan. But, we would also (strongly) recommend LinkedIn. You have a service that is aimed at other businesses, so the most professional social platform out there should be a no brainer… Connect with other business owners, all potential customers of yours! Now, Twitter might also be considered for this kind of business. Twitter could be where you share top tips, news, updates in the financial world and so on.
The decision on what social media platforms to use for your business do not only come down to their uses however. It also comes down to your own knowledge and capability to create clear and concise content that will portray your business in the best light. Furthermore, one key aspect in this decision must always be TIME… If you don’t have time to manage 3 or 4 platforms yourself, then don’t! Do a good job on the planforms you have time to use and the ones you know how to use well.
If you don’t have the know how or time to manage your social media, you could of course get someone to help with that… Urm, hint hint… Get in touch!
There is a lot more to social media than simply choosing a platform for your business, from the content you share to where and when you share it… Check out some of our other blogs to find out more. Thank you for reading, we hope it helps.