There are so many social media platforms these days it is downright confusing to learn them all and master the tricks to using them successfully for your business. In fact, it may take so much time to try and do this, that it becomes counterproductive. You will no doubt try various platforms before deciding on the ones that seem to give you the most visitors, clicks, likes, or followers depending on which one you are talking about.
Testing the Waters
You can decide to start off with some of the popular sites and take it from there. Most businesses seem to get some traction from using Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. However, depending on your business you can also choose others such as Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and YouTube. When you select one or two of these platforms and start using them for your business, you will get an appreciation of how they work and what to expect. The following are great ways to decide which social media platform is best suited to your type of business.
Do Your Research
If you are serious and do not have the time for experimenting, you should research to find the top 3 platforms and learn which types of companies get the most mileage from each. Your research will also reveal the number of users on each platform. So let’s look at the following social media platforms in terms of numbers and usage:
Pinterest: According to Statista, in April 2016 there were 100 million users on this platform. This content sharing site is ideal for businesses that have mostly visual content, video or photographs. Businesses that use Pinterest heavily are those having to do with photography, travel or fashion-focused operations. It is interesting to note that the site is more popular with females. Whether or not this has to do with the heavy visual appeal is anyone’s guess.
Facebook: With over 1.59 billion users in April 2016 based on Statista’s data, Facebook is the one to beat. With the number of users, you can be almost sure that a large number of the customers or clients you want to reach are on this platform. Another good thing about Facebook is that it allows you to build a relationship with your community as well as talk to them via Facebook Messenger or even by audio.
This platform makes it easy for you to communicate with your community right there on your fan page. Facebook also gives you the opportunity to target your customers based on location, age, gender and even income. This is one platform that just about every business can benefit from to grow their customer base and increase visibility.
Twitter: Statista places the number of Twitter users at 320 million in April 2016. This is much like a text message platform, allowing almost instant communication. Users post tweets that are topical and will quickly garner the attention of other users. It is a good way to provide updates or news to your followers. If you frequently have something to say to your followers or customers, Twitter is the ideal vehicle for this. Best of all, you can link your twitter account to your Facebook account so all your Facebook posts are automatically tweeted as well. Another good use of Twitter for businesses is that there are always trending topics which can be great fodder for blog topics.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn may just have about 100 million users according to April 2016 data from Statista, but that is still a pretty big number. This site is great for networking purposes. It allows members to connect to other people in the same business or career so that they can post questions, ask for advice or recommendations and just share information of interest to a particular group. While businesses in manufacturing and retail have a presence on LinkedIn, it is most popular with service providers. Freelance service providers make up a significant portion of LinkedIn’s members.
Take Chances and Make Mistakes
Of course, you will make mistakes, so give yourself permission to do so while you navigate the intriguing world of social media. Even if you pay someone to handle your social media strategy it makes sense to know something about the different platforms and the value they bring to your business.
Some lesser known social media platforms that you can check out include:
- CouchSurfing: Primarily for travel related sites
- Flickr: For photo sharing and commenting
- Tumblr: For social networking and micro blogging
- Yelp: A site for posting business reviews
While I did not mention YouTube above, it is important to know that this site has over one billion unique visitors per month according to eBizMBA. This is another site where the visuals drive the popularity of businesses. If you are in a business where video, such as music videos or movies are the main offerings, YouTube is a great way to reach new customers. If your video on YouTube goes viral, you can quickly get millions of new viewers or subscribers in a very short time.
The best way to know which social media platform to use is to determine what type of business you are in and which platform is best suited to that business. There is a lot of information available online to help you learn the basics, or you can outsource to a company that knows how to get the best mileage from social media.