I confess that I generally find social media confusing, despite being a millennial and all. Heck, out of all the social media platforms out there, I’m only signed up on one of them. One. As compared to several of my peers who have Instagram usernames, Twitter handles, and I dunno, Snapchat whatevers. I’m just rather iffy about the idea of sharing too many mundane things going on in my life, I suppose.
But that’s me. I’m neither a Kardashian nor one of those Victoria’s Secret Angels, so I can afford to lie low. It’s not quite the same for businesses in the 21st century, however.
With over 70% of the population estimated to have one active social media account, and at least half of that statistic possessing two or more of the same, businesses without an online presence really miss out on engaging their target audience.
Here’s the thing, though, with so many different platforms out there, which one should you promote your business on first? Would you even need to do cross-platform promotions?
Read on and find out, mate.
One Social Media Platform or Two?
If you’re a newbie looking to dip your toes into social media marketing, Facebook is a great place to begin. It’s got over 2 billion (!) active users all over the world, so having an FB page for your business gives you great potential for connecting with a vast market.
Another plus is that Facebook arguably offers the most options for customizing your page. Organizations can share videos, photos, articles, important company updates, and other things besides, all at the touch of a button, whether on a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile phone.
Facebook’s algorithm also doesn’t discriminate between pages that post updates several times a day or a few times a week, so it’s relatively low-maintenance. This would then give you more time to attend to other business concerns, such as tweaking your products or services based on customer feedback or exploring your logistics options.
Once you’ve gotten the hang of promoting your brand on Facebook, you can then check out other kinds of social media to further widen your reach.
Different Platforms and Their Uses
We discussed Facebook’s basic workings in the previous paragraph, so now, let’s take a look at the other forms of social media out there:
Like the social media giant that is Facebook, Twitter also has a wide reach and is one of the top ten websites in the United States.
Its premise is quite simple. Anyone with a Twitter account can share short text updates (140 characters or fewer, though I hear the company has since doubled that allocation), which are referred to as “tweets.” Twitter users can also interact with others by simply mentioning their usernames or handles on their posts.
Thus, Twitter is a great channel for businesses sending out teasers for upcoming products or providing speedy feedback for customer concerns and inquiries. Hashtags also help boost posts if they’re catchy enough (i.e., #WalangForever, etc.), and if a user with a lot of followers retweets your content or your promo, it could go viral very quickly.
Think of it as a virtual bulletin board that you can share with others. Pinterest allows users to save and display content like photos or videos of things they’re interested in. These posts can be organized by category, so Pinterest users can have boards assigned solely to recipes, photographs, and even exercise routines.
Because it’s an incredibly visual platform, Pinterest is great for businesses in the fields of art, food, fashion, and photography, although that’s not to say that other industries can’t make use of it. For instance, DIY projects are very popular among Pinteresters, and they present a good opportunity for businesses like hardware stores to showcase their goods.
Keeping a Pinterest account is also fairly low-maintenance, but keeping your mood boards organized and search-friendly can be time-consuming.
Like Pinterest, Instagram is also a visual-heavy application and its 700 million-strong user base gravitates towards subjects like art, beauty, fashion, food, and travel. Instagram feeds typically consist almost entirely of photos and videos, with the odd inspirational quote thrown in, making it ideal for artistic niches. Makeup brands, clothing lines, and five-star food practically reign over this platform, thanks to Instagram’s unique filters making their products look absolutely eye-catching.
Clearly, this form of social media isn’t for all industries, but businesses who can post intriguing photos and use the right hashtags while keeping them all in relation to their product or service can certainly generate interest here.
If you choose to promote your brand on Instagram, whoever’s responsible for your account should have a good eye for detail and basic photography skills in order to ensure the high quality of photos and videos on your account. Also, this platform relies heavily on mobile usage; you can’t use the desktop version to create or upload new photos.
What makes Snapchat different from other visual social media forms is the temporary nature of its content. Users can send videos or photos to one another, and these are available for up to 10 seconds at a time.
There’s also the Stories feature, which has content that disappears after 24 hours. Because posts are often temporary, there’s far less pressure to create refined content on Snapchat, as compared to, say, Instagram.
One drawback of using Snapchat to engage with your clients, however, is that your range is initially limited; The only ones who can see your content are users that you have added. Thus, small businesses would do well to turn to Snapchat only when they have a fairly solid following on another social media platform.
Take note, however, that there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all social media strategy. The businesses that have been the most successful at promoting their brands this way went through a considerable bit of trial and error before arriving at an approach that appears tailor-fitted to their respective audiences.
So, don’t get discouraged if things seem confusing at first. If you keep at it for long enough and take time to observe the sort of content your target market reacts to, you’ll literally have genuine engagement at your fingertips.