Which social media platform is right for you?

Social media offers easy access to billions of potential customers, but which of the platforms work best for you and your business.

While each can help you to reach out to consumers in your home country and abroad, there’s little to be gained from spending time and resources on a social network that does not represent your target audience.

Some key things to think about are the demographics of the users on a particular social media platform and how that correlates with your products and services. Of course, all the major networks have millions of users, but it’s important to know who those users are, where they are based and how frequently they are active. Furthermore, find out which brands are successful on those sites and look at how they use social media to their benefit.

Whether you’re selling socks, flogging flowers or banging on about B2B business needs, there are people out there that want to know about what you can do for them.

Here we look at what each social media platform offers, and offer some handy tips on achieving success with each:

Twitter

With over 1bn registered users globally and over 500m tweets being sent each day, Twitter offers a great opportunity for businesses to reach a global audience of new and existing customers. In order to achieve success through Twitter, you will need to find or create valuable content in your niche, post consistently, engage with your followers and build relationships.

Always include at least one hashtag in each tweet and aim for variety – GIFs, videos, collages, info, offers and humour. Furthermore, regular interaction such as retweets and replies with followers means building relationships.

General Electric is one company that has brought its brand to life and reached a new audience on Twitter. The electrics multinational has found a perfect balance of thought leadership and authenticity, and successfully breaks down complex concepts and terminology they work with into simple language. Its 500,000 followers will also appreciate the fact it pushes its expertise rather than trying to flog products.

Facebook

With 32m Britons signed up already, Facebook is a great platform for promoting virtually any brand. Facebook features images, videos and posts, and can also be used to link to other sites, including blogs.

Companies such as Disney have attracted scores of millions of followers who can each enjoy content from these major brands’ resources. Microsoft, perhaps considered to be less fun than Disney, is another large firm that has been successful. Its marketing drive #5to9 focussed on what its followers did away from the office, thus promoting work-life balance.

Instagram

A favourite for brands that rely heavily on images, such as clothing companies and retailers. 70% of brands are expected to be on Instagram by the end of 2017, which is no surprise as engagement with companies is 10 times higher than Facebook and 84 times higher than Twitter. 50% of Instagrammers follow brands, making them the social networkers who are most likely to do so. Instagram usage has doubled in the last two years, while research shows that 90% of members are younger than 35 years old.

National Geographic, with nearly 50m followers, is considered one of the most successful users of Instagram, which is hardly surprising as it has access to amazing photography. However, there are plenty of other companies not necessarily associated with imagery that are achieving great things on the platform. Stationary retailer Staples posts wacky photos of its products, while engaging users with its use of call-to-action captions.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a visual bookmarking tool that helps users discover and save creative ideas. Brands and individual users can pin an image they have created themselves or found elsewhere to their board. They can also repin an image already posted on Pinterest or share pins by posting them on their boards.

With a userbase that is 71% female, the sharing site is seen as a major player for brands selling items primarily for women, such as fashion. Three million things are pinned in the UK each day and users in the UK grew by 50% over the past year. Three quarters of pinned content comes from businesses or brands, with 25% from publishers/bloggers.

Amazon takes a no-nonsense approach to naming its pin boards, using simple, literal phrases such as ‘Kitchen Gadgets’ or ‘Lawn and Garden’. They use Pinterest as an opportunity to offer ideas to users.

A less product-focused company, Bank of America, used Pinterest to reach Millennials by creating boards that fitted in with its Better Money Habits (BMH) programme. They created boards for different life moments, like ‘Buying a Home’ and ‘Travel Plans’, and populated each with relevant pins that pointed to deeper educational content on their site. With the help of Promoted Pins, BMH content reached nearly six million people in less than five months and generated more than 29,000 saves.

LinkedIn

If you operate a B2B company, the platform is a strong choice for promoting business-related content and connecting with other corporate influencers. Converse and interact with connections, build up a network and share your blogs and achievements for all to see. LinkedIn has around 450m members worldwide, and is an important network for brands looking to recruit top talent, generate leads, or shore up brand awareness.

LinkedIn is the most popular social media network for content marketing among B2B marketers, a recent study from the Content Marketing Institute found. Some 94% of those surveyed said they use the platform to distribute content.

Coca-Cola is one company that uses LinkedIn to its advantage, using the platform to highlight its business strategy and impact. Its content reaches out to investors and business leaders, rather than the average consumer that might follow it on Facebook. As well as sharing its latest innovations, financial health and organisational changes, it posts articles offering business advice and highlights employee contributions.

Snapchat

Snapchat has become an established social media platform — recently valued at over $16 billion — for brands to engage 100m daily users in unique and creative ways. It allows users to create quick, light-hearted, and even educational video content without using valuable production resources. For brands, this means a new opportunity to informally show off their culture, share knowledge, and connect with their audience in a new and exciting way.

While more associated with sexy brands, such as Starbucks, it can be employed to more serious ends. AOL recently used Snapchat to recruit talent and promote diversity. For one week, the media company ran two 10-second videos in Snapchat’s Discover section and Live Stories. The first spot promoted #BuiltbyGirls, a programme that features women startups and productions, and the second spot featured people working at AOL.

GrubHub.com, an online food ordering company, used Snapchat to look for an intern with ‘Snapchat Skillz’. Using the Snapchat Stories feature, GrubHub posted a six-image photo slideshow explaining how interested candidates can apply with a snap of their best doodle.

If you’re looking to build you audience though social media and could use some help, drop GrowthMinds a line. We’re here to guide you through the steps and build an audience.