Now that you’ve thought about what you want to achieve with social media and who your target audience is it’s time to start deciding what social media platforms your company should use. Each platform has their own characteristics and their users expect to see different types of content and create different types of relationships depending on the platform. Unless you are huge corporation you must definitely will not want to be present on all social media platforms available: you don’t have the time or money to do so, and you will end up not giving enough attention to any of them.
To decide where you should be you need to consider:
- Each social media platform’s specific characteristics and demographics.
- Your business goals for social media.
- Who your customers are and where they are present.
So let’s take a look at the main social media platforms going around and what they are all about…
Facebook is the de-facto social media platform for personal relationship. Nowadays everyone has a Facebook account used to keep in touch with our family and friends, chatting platform, share images and opinions and so on. Facebook users share and expect to see personal content from their friends. However it does have ads platform designed for businesses wanting to publicise on the platform, which can be targeted geographically, demographically or based on the users’ preferences and activity.
Since this is mainly a personal social media platform it may be suited for B2C companies seeking to reach their customers directly using the targeting tools available. In most cases Facebook won’t fit the objectives of a B2B company’s social media strategies.
LinkedIn can be seen as Facebook for business persons. A LinkedIn user is expected to publish their professional profiles and use the platform to keep in touch with their professional acquaintances. They are also expected to share, and expect to see, professional content, and not personal content which is predominant to Facebook.
If you want to appeal to the professional side of your customers LinkedIn is a platform your company should probably be present on. If you are a B2C company who wants to reach end users then you will have to think carefully whether your target audience will be effectively reached through LinkedIn.
Twitter is a short text social media platform. Users can share any content up to 140 characters (and now also images and other content). It’s an extremely informal social media platform where users can share any type of content – from day to day personal events, to opinions and professional information. Many companies are starting to use Twitter as a way to have quick and direct contact to their customers.
Twitter is easy to use and has a low entry cost, so it may fit in well with the rest of your social media strategy with little efforts. It can also be a good channel to learn about the competition. However it’s not that easy to achieve effective use of this platform.
A blog is a more formal type of social media, which should be hosted on your corporate website and gives the company a chance to communicate to its customers on a more formal way, which more elaborate content. A blog post consists of a publication of usually a few hundred words with images and videos, with well written and well thought content.
The blog content stays available through time and becomes a source of information to your customers, as they can read through all your posts to get you know your company. This makes it a great way to create an image for your company through time.
A blog is a great way to have a one-way communications with users, but not such an effective way to engage on a two-way talk with your customers. Regardless of what you are trying to sell a well elaborated blog will usually fit in well to your social media strategy.
Youtube is a video sharing platform. It’s common to say that a picture is worth a thousand words, so just imagine how many words a well-made video is worth!
Videos and Youtube are a great way to communicate easily with your customers. The problem is that videos require much more elaborate contents, which in turn require much more effort, time and money to produce. Unless you are used to making videos and sharing them, or your company’s products require videos to explain, the use of Youtube probably won’t be included on your initial social media platforms…
Instagram is a social media platform used for sharing images with your friends and contacts. It’s considered artistic and users expect to see visually appealing content they are interested in. If your company and your products fit these descriptions, and your customers will be avid consumers of this type of content, them you may consider using Instagram a good investment for your social media strategy.
There are many others social media platforms going around, each with their specific characteristics and users following. Before embarking in any of them for your business social media strategy make sure it fits with your objectives, that you understand what each platform is all about, if your customers are there, if the content you want to share and publicise will be well accepted on this platform, and most of all if you have the resources to be successful on this platform.