While social media was originally founded to connect individuals with family and friends, it has since evolved into a massive marketing vehicle for both personal brands and corporations. Choosing the right social media platform that best represents your brand is possible by learning more about what each network has to offer and how they fit in with your branding strategy. Before choosing one platform over another, it’s important to consider all the benefits and disadvantages each has to offer.
Consider Your Target Audience
Social networks have a wide range of demographics to target, whether you are looking to target teens who enjoy Instagram and Snapchat, or stay-at-home parents who use Pinterest and Facebook daily. Who is your ideal tribe member? Is your target audience working, going to school, or are they more entrepreneurial? Create an image of the type of user you want to reach before you begin comparing social networks.
Define Your Goals
Not all brands have the same goals when creating an online presence. Define the goals of your brand before choosing the social media platforms that are right for you. Are you looking to boost your brand’s awareness, or do you simply want to increase the number of followers you already have? Is it more important to showcase customer loyalty and transparency, or are you launching campaigns to generate leads and revenue?
Consider each of these in your decision:
- Is it important to conduct market research to gain valuable insight from users and how they respond to marketing strategies?
- What are the pain points of my prospective customers and which medium or platform works best to reach them?
- Is your target audience a visual learner (optimal for Pinterest and Instagram)?
- Is planning with your followers important to you? Take time to review and compare the messaging and comment systems available when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for your brand.
- How can you communicate best to your followers?
- Do you want to use social media to direct followers to your official website or eCommerce store?
- How many clients are you able to properly manage without seeking external assistance?
Compare Usage of Top Social Media Platforms
Today’s top social media platforms appeal to different audiences, especially as technology and smartphone capabilities continue to evolve. Distinguish which social networks are right for your brand by understanding what type of audience is attracted to them and for what reasons.
Facebook is the largest social media platform, with billions of active users from around the world. The most active group of users registered on Facebook range between the ages of 25 and 34. Facebook is also the most appealing to seniors and users over the age of 50. It provides live-streaming and eCommerce solutions, allowing for more flexibility and creativity with brand messaging, marketing, and services to offer.
Facebook’s ad platform is one of the most user-friendly online advertising services. Using Facebook’s platform is a great way to showcase sponsored posts to spread your brand awareness with your preferred audience. On Facebook, you can create image or video-based ads to captivate your audience while pinpointing who is most interested in you.
While Instagram is owned by Facebook, its most active users typically skew much younger in age than the social giant itself. Instagram appeals most to users between 18 and 29, and is a great platform for images, videos, stories, and direct messaging. Using Instagram is optimal for brands with a heavy image-based identity. Differentiating Instagram is its use of hashtags to organize posts with a common identity. Using hashtags effectively can help your brand reach the audiences and industries you are searching for. Instagram is optimal for brands that represent youth, excitement, and attractiveness as the app lends itself to brands with a heavy amount of visual content.
Twitter is often referred to as the “water cooler” of technology, allowing brands and individuals alike to share their thoughts in short-story form. Twitter’s 18 to 29 demographic is it’s most active audience group, though it also appeals to individuals who are 50 and older because of its simplicity. Twitter is optimal for brands to connect with influencers and other professionals whose voice attracts a similar audience to yours. It is also extremely beneficial to boost brand awareness with trending keywords and relevant hashtags. Twitter hashtags change daily, which makes it easy for your brand to latch onto to trending topics and news stories gaining attention on Twitter.
YouTube allows you to create a profile of your own while building a following by utilizing popular keywords and trending topics. Many people prefer YouTube content as it is engaging and oftentimes extremely relevant to everyday life. If you’re going to invest in YouTube, make sure you do it right. YouTube subscribers prefer to have content rolled out on a regular basis – whether that is weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Just like how you’d prefer to know when your favorite TV show airs, YouTube subscribers want to know when to check in with you to watch your videos. If you plan on utilizing YouTube, you’ll want to invest in a bit of professional equipment, depending on how you plan on producing your videos. The basics include a clear HD camera, a crisp microphone, and some video editing software like iMovie or Final Cut Pro.
Pinterest is another fast-growing platform that has tapped into the stay-at-home mom market. Pinterest is perfect for those who want to communicate with their target audience visually. Keep in mind that Pinterest is great for infographics and images that depict how-to and DIY projects. A huge advantage that Pinterest has over its competitors is its extended shelf-life for posts. That means that your Pinterest posts stay on your follower’s timelines for a longer period of time, giving it more time to be exposed to new and existing tribe members.
Launching podcasts is a seamless way to develop content (especially if writing is not your forte) While podcasts may seem outdated to some, they have actually made a significant comeback and are here to stay. Attracting a loyal fanbase, podcasts allow you to open up to your users on a more personal and intimate level. The hard part comes with planning and editing. Before you start recording podcasts, you’ll need to outline what you’re going to cover to ensure that your podcast doesn’t turn into an unorganized rant. Plan recording days out in your schedule and make sure that you’ll stay uninterrupted throughout the duration of your recording. A high-quality microphone is also a necessity when it comes to podcasts. After all, if your audience cannot hear you clearly, how can they listen to you?
Collect Data and Monitor Analytics
Collecting and monitoring data is imperative when you want to maximize the effectiveness of social media campaigns you run. Facebook currently provides some of the most in-depth analytics available on social media platforms. These reports can help your brand identify the types of posts the resonate the most with your tribe.
In your search for the right social media platform, compare and contrast today’s top networks before selecting which platform is right for your brand. Keep in mind that building a following on social media takes a lot of time, planning, and consistency in execution. If your efforts aren’t yielding immediate results, it’s okay! The best social media accounts have been nurtured to reach their top performance in time.