It is common knowledge right now that every business needs to have their own social media accounts.
Unfortunately, not all businesses are big enough to make social media platforms at the same time. So, businesses often have to choose between platforms that would work for them. They need to know which one would make money for them and which ones they need to invest in.
There are certain steps in determining which social media platform would do the trick for the business. The following are the steps that one must follow.
First, determine your purpose and your goal. You should always know what you want to achieve. So is a guide to help you with this step.
- Do you want to reach your market with photos of the product that you offer? Instagram and Facebook are the best choices.
- Do you want to reach a more professional setting of business to business transactions? You should probably go to LinkedIn.
- Do you want to share posts without any limits on the photos? Twitter has a steady set of rules when it comes to censorship and you should probably check it out.
Once you have set your purpose and your goal, can now identify your target audience. This actually goes hand in hand with the first step. You need to know the market so you know the goals and the purpose of each step that you take.
After being able to set up the business strategies and your business market, you should know how much budget you can actually put in on social media. Some platforms have a higher price of advertising business accounts than others. You better do your research and find out which ones would fit your budget.
You should also know about the kind of content that would work for your business. Twitter has a 280-character limit. For some businesses, this is enough but for others, it may not be. Instagram has limits on the word count as well and requires photos to comes with their posts.
It is important to know the kind of content that you can produce. This fact would help you choose the right social media platform for your business.
Different Social Media Platforms in 2018
There are many social media platforms available worldwide. Promoting your business, products and overall brand online is a given in this day and age. However, some social media platforms are better suited for different businesses and their target audiences. Which social media platform(s) should your business be on in 2018?
There are several factors that should be considered when deciding on which social media platform your business will use. These include:
- Whether your business strategy is B2B or B2C. Do you sell your products or services to other businesses or consumers?
- Who your target audience is. Who is your target customer? Which social media platforms are they most likely to be using?
- What you want to achieve through social media. What is your overall goal?
- Which type of content you’d like to share. Do you want to be sharing images, videos or articles and editorial content most? Which type of content do you think your business or brand suits best?
- How many different channels you can handle at once?
What it is:
Instagram is ultimately a free photo and video sharing app. People can share their content with ‘followers’ or a select number of friends. You have the ability to have a private (content is only visible to approved followers) or public account(content is visible to the public/world). Users must be 13 years or older to use the application.
Instagram is now owned by Facebook. The social media network is estimated to be worth over $100 Billion as of June 2018.
Check out Instagram’s Business page here: https://business.instagram.com
B2C companies, especially those who have a physical or visual product to sell.
Of the 800 million plus users, the majority of people who use Instagram are aged between 13 and 30. The population using the app is skewed towards females. However, this is steadily changing with more males joining and using the platform also.
Instagram’s Unique features:
- Carousel styled posts. both photos and videos. Have a higher view rate. Share multiple photos or videos in a single post. Users can swipe left or right on the one post to view different content.
- Polls in Stories. Use interactive stickers in your business stories, including polls. Ask your followers basic questions and get results in near real-time.
- Save Stories with ‘Highlight’. In recent history, the stories that you post would disappear in 24 hours. Now you can permanently save and categorise your stories to your profile using Instagram Story Highlights. You can even add a cover photo to each Highlight’s folder.
- Follow Hashtags. Stay up-to-date with Instagram communities that have the same interests as you. You can ‘follow” hashtags that relate to your business, products, customers or location.
- Gives your customers a visual picture of your business offers.
- It is an easy way to control and share your brands’ message, visually.
- The millennial segment is growing, fast.
- Users are more likely to engage with brands on Instagram, compared to Facebook.
What Instagram is not so great for:
- Reaching the older (30 years plus) population. Your target customers may not be using the platform.
- Not great for B2B
- You can’t have clickable URL’s in your post captions.
Fun Instagram Enhancement Apps
- Boomerang: Mini videos that bounce back and forth
- Hyperlapse: Polished time-lapse videos using Instagram’s in-house stabilisation
- Layout: A creative app that allows you to combine, flip or mirror multiple photos in the one image.
Instagram Advertising Options:
There are many ways that you can advertise your business on Instagram. Instagram has Photo ads, video ads, carousel ads and stories ads. Keep in mind that you must have a facebook business page to be able to advertise on Instagram.
See more about Business Advertising on Instagram: https://business.instagram.com/advertising/
What is it?
Facebook is the leading social media network in the world. Launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, there are over 1 billion Facebook users across the globe in 2018. Users can post comments, photos and videos on their profile. They can also share links to any articles or websites that they want their friends to see.
Facebook Messenger is the personal communication part of the platform. In Messenger, you can contact your friends and followers. Furthermore, you can create group chats where 2 or more people share an ongoing conversation. You can filter or delete messages as you wish. Facebook Messenger is a great way to communicate with your customers.
Check out Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com
Both B2C and B2B companies can benefit from using Facebook.
Anyone over the age of 13 years old can create an online account with Facebook. The most active users are aged between 25 and 34 years old.
Facebook’s Unique features:
- Like another Page as your brand. You can show support of other brands on Facebook not only on your personal page but on your business page too.
- “Save for Later” allows you to save and bookmark some of the things you see on Facebook. You can come back and view them later at a time that suits you.
- You can send money through the platform. This feature allows users to purchase products on the social network.
- Facebook Product Shops. You can sell your products directly from your Facebook Page.
- Opportunity for exposure to millions of people. There is a wide range of users on Facebook, varying in age, gender, location and interests.
- Customising your facebook page design is easy. You can choose how you want to showcase your business.
- Great for engagement. There are many ways that users can engage with your posts, such as ‘liking’, ‘commenting’ and ‘sharing’ your posts with their friends. This leads to more exposure for your business.
- Excellent analytics and insights.
- You can promote posts to reach a larger audience without using Facebook Ads.
- You can drive traffic to your website. Increase online visits by posting links to your website on your Facebook business page.
- Receive positive customer review and use them across all your marketing channels.
Disadvantages of Facebook:
- Audience and engagement competition. Facebook is the most used social media platform by business. There is a high level of competition when trying to attract users to your posts and page.
- Negative Feedback from customers. Facebook allows for 2-way communication in most circumstances. As a result, unhappy customers can leave a public review that voices their complaints about your business, products or service.
- It’s not as effective for B2B business. Gaining followers and likes quickly on a business page can be a slow burn if your target audience is not the everyday consumer.
Facebook is a great platform to advertise your business, services and products on. The different advertising methods include Canvas ads, Carousel ads, Page post engagement ads, video ads, GIF ads and Lead Ads.
You can find out more about using Facebook for business here: https://business.facebook.com/
What it is:
Snapchat is a mobile phone app where people can share pictures or short videos with their friends. Founded in 2011 by Evan Spiegel, Snapchat has become widely known amongst the younger population. As of 2018, there are 181 Million users worldwide.
Originally created for private, person-to-person sharing, Snapchat is now used for a range of different things. This includes sending short videos, chatting via live videos, messaging friends and browsing ‘Discovery’.
Many businesses use Snapchat to creatively market to their consumers. Users use the app to get a real-time view of their favourite celebrities, shows and brands. It’s a great marketing tool to interact with your loyal consumers.
If you’re deciding which social media platform to use, Snapchat may be a great option for your business in 2018. Especially if your target audience is younger.
- 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old.
- Roughly 3/4 of SnapChat users are female.
Unique Snapchat features:
A unique feature of Snapchat is that users can choose how long they want their snap to be visible for by the recipient. The Snap you send will “self-destruct” after the time limit you placed on it. Similarly, Snapchat Memories self-destruct after 24 hours.
Other features of this social media platform include:
- Geofilter – a filter to decorate snaps that is specific to your location or an event you’re attending.
- Snapcash – transfer money to friends while in the Chat section of the application.
- Discover – This is specifically meant for brands and publishers. You can create stories for the world to see.
- Snap Map – an interactive map where you can share your location with your friends and followers.
- Snapcode – a scannable code which allows you to ad new friends instantly. Simply hover your Snapchat camera over your friends Snapcode and ad them as a friend, without having to search for them in the app.
Pros of SnapChat:
- Large exposure to a young audience. If you’re a business with a younger target audience, Snapchat is a great social media platform to share your brand on.
- You can give followers VIP and ‘Behind the Scenes’ access to your brand. Share exclusive information and stories with your loyal followers.
- Market to your consumers in real-time. You can keep your fans up-to-date and share your marketing message with them live.
- Low competition – for now! Snapchat is not as popular of a choice to businesses compared to Facebook and Instagram. Make the most of the low competition.
Cons of SnapChat:
- Time constraints. With 10 seconds per snap, you have to be time-savvy to get your message across. You are able to post several 10-second snaps in a row, however, keeping your audience engaged can be challenging.
- No re-share options. Unlike Instagram and Facebook, SnapChat does not allow you to re-share posts to your friends and followers. The only way users can re-share a Snap is by taking a screenshot and reposting the image through their account.
- There is no way to insert a URL or Clickable Call to Action.
Snapchat allows you to advertise in unique ways, in comparison to Facebook and Instagram. The advertising options on Snapchat include:
- Snap ads
- Sponsored geo-filters
- Sponsored lenses
- Snapchat discover
Learn more about Snapchat ads on their website: https://forbusiness.snapchat.com/
LinkedIn is a social network, specifically for connecting professionals. There are more than 546 millions users on LinkedIn as of May 2018. LinkedIn is all about building up strategic relationships to cultivate your career and business. Anyone who wants to take their career more seriously can use LinkedIn to grow as a professional. It’s a bit like a traditional networking event, but online. Rather than ‘friends’ or ‘followers’, you make ‘connections’ on this business network.
It is becoming increasingly important to have a personal LinkedIn account. Your profile, which can list your work experience and skill set, is seen as your personal online resume. However, having a Business LinkedIn Page is even more important. Keep your page updated to get the attention of potential clients and customers, joint-venture partners and social media influencers.
Business-2-Business companies will benefit most from using LinkedIn. However, B2C businesses can find LinkedIn helpful for employing new staff.
The main population of users on LinkedIn are aged between 25 and 25 years old. Both men and women use the networking platform, with the number of male users slightly higher.
Unique LinkedIn Features
- Showcase Pages – act like subdomains of your Company Page. You can highlight specific areas of your business in Showcase Pages.
- find and apply for jobs
- LinkedIn Groups – hubs for professionals that are in the same industry or have similar interests.
- Endorsements and Recommendations – get your connections to leave comments about your professional skills and experience and your overall character.
- Advanced Search Option – you can filter your search by location, industry, previous company, school, profile language and non-profit interest. The ability to search extensively means you can find exactly who, or what, you’re looking for.
Pros of LinkedIn:
- Connect with potential clients. You can find your target customer companies and connect with them. Let them know who you are and they may turn into a client!
- Connect with potential business partners. LinkedIn can allow you to find and contact other professionals who may be interested in collaborating with you.
- Hire new employees. With detailed filters, LinkedIn is a great way to find new employees that meet the criteria you need.
- Communicate with your audience. Share your businesses latest news and keep your connections up-to-date.
- LinkedIn can give your business increased search visibility. If you use LinkedIn properly and optimise your Company Page, your Google Search ranking will improve.
Cons of LinkedIn:
- There are multiple subscription types. To gain access to the advanced features of LinkedIn, you must have the Premium subscription and pay a monthly fee.
- Low-level of engaged users on LinkedIn, in comparison to Facebook.
Advertising on LinkedIn:
- Sponsored Content – promote a piece of content that is posted on your Company Page
- Sponsored InMail – send a form or email message to any of LinkedIn’s 500 million users.
- Text Ads – short ads that are listed along the side of LinkedIn pages.
- Dynamic Ads – purchase dynamically generated ads that are already personalised to your target audience, based on their behaviour on LinkedIn.
To discover more about LinkedIn advertising, visit their website here: https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/ads
Social Media Pro tips:
- All social media platforms offer free accounts. You can start with these accounts first so you can create accounts on all of them. Then you must decide which ones would help you towards your goal. The trick is to always have an account on all platforms. That way, when the audience is available on that platform, you no longer have to direct him towards another platform.
- You only need to focus on the one platform that would get you closer to your target audience. Having said that, you should not miss out on the others just because of that.
- There are businesses that handle social media for everyone. You should check out if they would be able to help you with your social media woes.
When choosing which social media platform is best for your business, ask yourself:
- What is the unique purpose of this social media platform and how does it make my business stand out?
- Will this platform help me get to the audience?
- Will I seem more professional having this platform over the others?
- Do I have an audience on this platform?
- Does my logo adjust to this platform?
The last question is more of a question for your graphic designer but it is important nonetheless.
Once you have done your research and have answered these questions, you should be well on your way towards getting the best platform that works for you and your business.
If you are a new business or an old one looking for some new sense of action, then Aston Social has the best deal for you. With Aston Social, you can get an account on all platforms and just focus on one that would make your business stand out. There is nothing more fulfilling than not having that fear of missing out.