No matter how great the product or service a business offers is, there is no chance of it selling if no one knows about it. This inescapable reality is the driving force behind all marketing methods as businesses push and compete to be seen by consumers. From taking ads out in newspapers and magazines to posters, billboards, car decals, and even T-shirts, businesses have always come up with new and innovative ways to spread the word about what they offer.
In today’s world, where 77% of Americans own a smartphone as well as 76% of people in 18 developed countries, it just makes sense that the race to reach consumers would lead online. For any business serious about expanding their reach, they must have an online presence, which includes being active on social media.
Nonetheless, not all social media platforms work well with every business, and not choosing the right one can even do more harm than good. So, here are a few things to keep in mind for some of the most popular social media platforms to help in determining which one will be the right fit for
Facebook is, by far, is the largest social media outlet with 2.23 billion monthly active users. With that many people, it can easily be the ideal place to grab the interest of customers, spread your branding, and the overall messaging of your company. It also has a large variety of advertising options such as event ads, lead generation forms, video ads, Instagram-specific ads, and more, which allows for a range in budgeting when creating marketing materials.
However, its greatest benefit is also its biggest obstacle. Since there are many people on Facebook, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Facebook does provide efficient data and the ability to target your ideal customer. But, unless you have a pretty hefty marketing budget behind your content, it’s difficult to gain any real traction with new customers.
For smaller businesses that don’t have a large media budget, it might be better to utilize smaller social media outlets to reach new customers, although Facebook is excellent for keeping up with existing consumers.
The next largest social media outlet behind Facebook is YouTube, with 1.9 billion monthly active users. If you are not familiar with YouTube, it is a video sharing platform. Not only is it the largest video sharing site on the web, but it is 2nd behind Google in internet searches.
Of course, the best thing about YouTube is that it revolves around videos. Videos are a more effective delivery system in terms of content because they’re easier for people to digest, remember, and connect with as opposed to reading text. When you include this with YouTube’s sharing-friendly interface, videos can not only more easily reach customers but even go viral.
The downside is that some services, as opposed to products, don’t always lend themselves to videos. For example, if you are a website design company or freelancer, you will have to pull out your creative thinking cap to repeatedly create engaging content that ties back into promoting your business.
Also, any kind of video won’t do. You need to create short, high-quality, interesting videos to capture the easily distracted attention span of viewers. Anything less than high-quality can even reflect negatively on your business. However, if you can overcome these hurdles, investing in a YouTube channel would be beneficial.
Another prominent social media outlet behind a few messaging apps like WhatsApp is Instagram. Instagram has a monthly active user count of 1 billion. It is different from Facebook and YouTube in that it is purely a video and photo-sharing site that can only be updated by a mobile device.
As explained with YouTube, visuals are always better when it comes to capturing the attention of viewers. Creating visuals can sometimes be much faster and easier than writing content, although you do need a mixture of both.
The challenge of utilizing Instagram is the demand to create a mixture of high-quality videos and photos, which again is easier for businesses that are selling physical products instead of services. Those businesses that face a bit of a challenge with videos can have an even harder time with photos. Videos allow for movement, explanations, and demonstrations, pictures don’t. And unless you have a highly visual business, Instagram might be more of a challenge than its worth.
Also, Instagram’s demographics are much different from Facebook and YouTube’s. While Facebook and YouTube appeal to a wide range of audiences, Instagram is primarily used by people between the ages of 18-29. So, if that’s not your target audience, Instagram may not be a good fit for your business.
Twitter, which is further down the list in terms of popularity, has over 335 monthly active users. It is more similar to Facebook in terms of the platform, except it’s known more as a source for real-time information on a plethora of categories (which helps you narrow down your audience), and there is a character cap on posts/tweets.
However, like Facebook, they allow a variety of ad options from pushing a promoted tweet to posting images and videos, which again allows for flexibility with content creation.
The drawback is that because it is real-time, users expect quick responses, which means constant monitoring of your Twitter account. Also, because there is a continuous stream of real-time information, your ad or content can easily be missed.
This faster pace may even prove to be difficult when it comes to growing your customer base even with paid ads, which is one of the highest costs among social media sites. Like Facebook, unless you have a flexible budget for ads, you can struggle to see any real results.
If you’d prefer a slower pace and demand for social media on your time, Twitter is likely not the best option for your business.