With many social media platforms available to businesses at the moment, it can be difficult to figure out which ones are worth focusing on.
By identifying which platforms will generate the most engagement and conversions, you’ll be able to save huge amounts of time and resources. Rather than trying to maintain a consistent presence on every single platform out there, why not focus your time and energy on curating content and imagery for the ones that will serve your business best.
Here’s a breakdown of the top social platforms on the scene to help you figure out which social media platforms will boost your business.
Description/How to use: Create a business page and regularly post images, videos & links that appeal to your target audience. Your Facebook business page is also an extension of your website, where you can share basic information such as address, contact number and telephone number.
Main audience: With over 1.44 billion active users across a wide demographic aged between 18 and 65+, Facebook is the market leader for social networking websites. Your business should undoubtedly have a presence on this platform.
- Good engagement – You and your users are able to ‘like’, post, comment and share posts as often as you want
- Easy to share new products and services as well as provide basic information (such as contact number, address and opening hours)
- Easy to post a wide range of content
- Use of hashtags make it easy to spread your company message to an audience searching within Facebook
- Negative feedback on your business page is highly visible to other users
- If your followers ‘like’ a large number of pages, your posts may get lost in the mix
- Investing in paid advertising has become the most optimal way to gain exposure on Facebook. In other words, organic content is no longer cutting it – you need to have a paid advertising campaign to see results.
Summary: Facebook is a highly-effective platform to connect with your target audience and share products, services and other relevant pieces of content that will promote your brand and encourage loyalty from your customers. It also provides a useful platform to gain feedback from your customer base, whether they post on your wall or send you a private message.
Star Players: Skincare company Burt’s Bees Facebook page has an impressive 2.7 million fans and features, polls for market research, discount coupons, rich visual imagery and allows customers to purchase product directly from Facebook.
Description/How to use: Create a Twitter handle and start tweeting to get involved in discussions that are relevant to your business and target audience. To encourage engagement, ‘reply to’, ‘favourite’, ‘retweet’ other users that are participating in the same discussions. Users are also able to post photos, graphics and video, however due to the 140 character limit, Twitter remains a text-focused social media platform.
Main Audience: The majority of Twitter users are aged between 18 and 29, making the platform suitable for companies skewered towards a younger crowd. Initially Twitter was utilised by a male-dominant user base, but in recent years there has been a sharp increase in female users.
- Great way to increase engagement as long as you tap into the right discussions that attract your target audience so that you can gradually build up a following
- Your followers can easily ‘favourite’ and ‘retweet’ your posts, which will be visible to all of their followers and lead to high levels of engagement
- Effective platform for companies with the time and resources to get their branding and messaging out there
- A valuable customer service or tech support outlet allowing customer queries to be answered quickly
- For business’ with limited resources, constant Twitter activity may be difficult to achieve
- While you can post pictures and videos, this will take up some of the 140 character limit, making it hard to fit in both media and text into one post
- Think before you tweet! Negative tweets can spread very quickly and have unrepairable effects to your business
Summary: If you and your brand have a lot to say then Twitter is the perfect platform for you. Make sure you decide on your Twitter personality and develop a content calendar to ensure consistency.
Do you want to be funny? Informative? Controversial? The possibilities are endless, but at the end of the day your posts should fall in line with your company’s key messaging. You have the potential to gain a huge amount of followers (and customers) so make sure you come up with a rock-solid strategy before you start tweeting to your heart’s content.
Star Player: Etsy’s Twitter presence is a perfect example of how quality content keeps people coming back for more. The peer-to-peer e-commerce site specialising in handmade and vintage items does a great job of mixing up products they tweet about – not just targeted towards women. They also have a great sense of humour and often retweet followers when they’re mentioned.
Description/How to use: Create an account and start posting images or videos that showcase your brand’s products and/or services. You can choose from a series of filters to enhance your images as well as use hashtags so that your content is easily searchable within Instagram. Instagram only allows users to post using mobile devices as it’s a social media platform that’s geared towards people on the go.
Main Audience: Instagram has a community of more than 300 million users and 60 million photos daily. More than half of Instagram users are aged between 18 and 29 years old, with the dominant gender being female (although not by much).
- A great platform to encourage followers to post their own images or videos of your products, which can then be re-purposed to use across other platforms (user-generated content)
- The use of hashtags makes it easy to spread messaging to an audience searching within Instagram
- Great for companies whose products are highly visual in nature, such as fitness, beauty and lifestyle brands
- Brands can get creative with photos, videos, captions and hashtags to appeal to their target audience
- Not able to post links in individual posts (only in bio on the users main page)
- Isn’t as effective for service-based businesses, although this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a presence on the platform.
- Posts can only be made through a mobile service, not on a laptop or desktop, which may prove to be inconvenient for some
Summary: Instagram is the perfect platform for brands to communicate visually with their followers, which will in turn increase engagement, build loyalty and increase website traffic. Think of Instagram as a form of free advertising for your business, which can gain huge amounts of exposure if your strategy is done correctly.
Star Player: Fashion label Topshop’s Instagram account features a variety of different visual content that appeals directly to their target audience, such as products in diverse settings, behind the scenes imagery from fashion shoots and photos of customers and models wearing Topshop pieces.
Description/How to use: Create a LinkedIn business page start building your profile. Make sure to include background information about the company (specialties, website, industry, company size etc). Start connecting with other businesses and individuals in your industry and post regular updates and pieces of content that will help distinguish yourself as an expert in your field. You and your employees should all have professional and up-to-date profiles as this has a direct effect on how the company is perceived.
Main Audience: Unlike most social media platforms, LinkedIn users are an older demographic, with the majority of users falling within the 30-49 age group. They are usually business professionals who are interested in growing and maintaining their network as well as accessing useful information and advice from key influencers in their industry.
- Once you publish a post, the content is available site wide, not only to your followers but to potential new customers or connections that could be of benefit
- LinkedIn is segmented by industry, so you’ll naturally fall into your niche with like-minded peers that will appreciate your original/unique content.
- A convenient place to share latest company news and updates as well as basic information, such as website url, contact number and address.
- LinkedIn’s audience is mainly skewed towards business professionals, making the platform unsuitable for companies targeting demographics such as stay-at-home mums and teenage boys.
- Because of its discerning audience, it may take a bit longer than other platforms to establish yourself and your business as an influencer in your industry.
Summary: LinkedIn is the largest social media platform for business and your page serves as your company’s online calling card. It’s the perfect place to research company and people for employment recruiting, lead generation and job searches.
Star Player: Mashable has tons of content to share, which makes LinkedIn the perfect platform for the online media company. Although they publish a wide range of subjects on their website, the Mashable team sticks to more business-oriented topics to appeal to the professional demographic on LinkedIn. They regularly well-written, relevant content that generates high levels of engagement, such as ‘If ‘House of Cards’ characters used LinkedIn’.
Description/How to use: Sign up for an account and create different boards that are reflective of your business. For instance, a bridal company would create boards that focus on wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, venue inspiration, wedding favours etc. Now for the fun part! Start pinning items of interests from your own product line and other products that inspire. Don’t forget to repin posts from within Pinterest as well. The goal is to create a carefully-curated scrapbook for your brand.
Main Audience: Pinterest attracts a predominantly female-based audience who are interested in aesthetics, DIY, fashion, fitness, lifestyle and food.
- Each pin links back to the website it was ‘pinned’ from, which will increase referral traffic back to your website if you regularly pin your own products.
- Pinning to specific boards will help you easily save and keep track of your content
- When a user repins one of your posts, it is automatically shared to their followers
- Doesn’t lend itself well to service-based companies due to its visual nature
- Targets a very specific audience – Pinterest users are made up of 85% females, of which 70% are under the age of 45.
Summary: If your social media strategy falls within the niche target audience that Pinterest appeals to, then it’s worth the time and effort to ‘pin’, ‘repin’ and ‘heart’ on a daily basis. However, if your main audience isn’t spending time on this platform, then it might be worth using your precious resources elsewhere.
Star Player: Pinterest ticks all the right boxes for Sephora as a social media platform: plenty of visual content to share, female target demographic and the perfect way to link back to their website product pages. Sephora’s Nailspotting board takes it a step further by encouraging Sephora community members to share nail designs, hence connecting to their customers and creating pins to their products at the same time.
Description/How to use: Once you sign up for a Snapchat account, you have the ability to post photos and videos (up to 10 seconds long) that will stay on a recipient’s device for 24 hours before it disappears.
Main Audience: Snapchat has increased dramatically in popular amongst the 13 and 34 year old demographic and is a great opportunity for businesses to create clever campaigns to reach their target audience.
- Snapchat generates 7+ billion video views daily, making it an ideal platform to increase brand exposure
- Gives customers a ‘behind the scenes’, personal view of your business
- Easy to include Snapchat scannable code on other marketing materials and social media platforms to allow users to add your business.
- If your target audience falls outside of the millennial demographic (13-34 year age group) it may not be worth the time to dedicate resources to regularly post video and imagery.
- As more and more businesses get on board with Snapchat marketing, the potential for ‘spammy’ posts to increase will eliminate the personal and fun aspect of the platform.
Summary: If you’re looking for a fun and creative way to connect with your customer base then Snapchat may be perfect for your business – just make sure your target audience is frequenting this platform. Visual communication is becoming the driving force of engagement across all social media platform, so Snapchat is an obvious platform to get on board with.
Star Player: McDonald’s is well known for their high-profile ad campaigns, and the fast food giant uses Snapchat to give their followers a sneak peek into what goes on behind the scenes with their favourite celebrities and athletes, such as LeBron James. Connecting with their audience on a more personal level gives McDonald’s the opportunity to break away from the corporate angle they’re usually associated with.
Kristine Stone is a copywriter at Sydney-based design agency Orion Creative. She’s obsessed with social media, blogging and keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends. A self-confessed word nerd, Kristine has experience writing about women’s lifestyle, bridal, technology, interior design and a wide range of other industries.