How to Choose the Ideal Social Media Platform for Your Business
One unmentioned aspect of the world in 2019 is that there are now as many coffee shops in the 10 km radius around my place as there are available social media platforms. It might sound like an exaggeration but really, once you wander off the established selections of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, there are at least a dozen more niche social media platforms that you might not be aware of but has a pretty established community.
While social media was originally designed to provide the public with an easily accessible means of interacting and communicating with each other, social media has evolved to a point that it’s no longer something you use for personal reasons, it’s also something that is widely used for professional reasons as well. Having a social media presence is now more or less essential for businesses but with a plethora of options available, businesses with limited resource have to be smart about choosing which platforms they should be on.
The importance of social media in 2019
Last year, the prominent business publication Forbes put the then 20-year-old Kylie Jenner in the cover of their special issue detailing the 60 richest self-made women in the world. With a net worth estimated to be around US$900 million, the youngest member of the Kardashian-Jenner was then poised to become the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, which was eventually fulfilled when just a couple days ago, Forbes anointed her as the youngest self-made billionaire at the very tender age of 21.
No matter where your opinions might lie on the validity of Kylie Jenner’s self-made claim, which by the way Forbes rate at 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, one point less than Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg but three points more than Donald Trump, Kylie Jenner’s achievement is something to be admired and an important factor in her success is her ability to leverage her massive social media following to fashion a cosmetics empire of her own. The beauty industry is one where influencers thrive so it’s not exactly a surprise that Jenner was able to pull off a huge success.
For other industries that might not be immediately visible, like professional services, following in the footsteps of Miss Jenner might be a little difficult but by using the right platform, you can easily leverage your expertise to boost your marketing efforts. Given the astounding amount of platforms available, I’m going to limit this discussion into 4 of the more popular platforms; Facebook, Facebook-owned Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
The oldest kid in the block and despite the various scandals plaguing the social media giant in recent years, Facebook is still the biggest platform in terms of active users, totaling at more than 2 billion. As the oldest and biggest option in this list, Facebook is also the most comprehensive, where every type of content could fit in this platform. To top it all off, with an integrated event calendar baked into the platform, it’s the ideal choice if you’re the type of businesses that regularly hold public events.
If your intended market skews to the older member of the population, Facebook is going to be your number one choice given it’s the platform of choice for seniors with teens actually migrating to other options on this list. Additionally, given Facebook’s comprehensive nature, it is actually possible for businesses to forgo having a website entirely and use Facebook as their main platform although given the large number of free website builders available online, this isn’t something I recommend.
The Facebook-owned Instagram isn’t as big as Facebook but their exponential growth in recent years and their popularity with younger (and female) member of the population means that Instagram isn’t something you should ignore. For businesses that rely highly on visuals, Instagram is also a must as their image-focused nature gives you the ability to showcase your products in the best light possible. Additionally, with the somewhat recent addition of IGTV, Instagram is trying to position itself as a compelling alternative to YouTube.
Twitter is best summed up with an idiom; short but sweet. While it is possible to dump plenty of information using a Twitter thread, I don’t generally advocate for this line of thinking. Twitter is generally best if you want to communicate something in a very brief manner and you’d need considerable editing skills to communicate everything you intend to with the constraint of 280 characters. Additionally, given the brevity of Twitter, wit is something of a commodity so if you feel like one-liners are your deal, you might want to try your hand at Twitter.
Compared to the other platforms in this list, I consider Twitter as the least professional platform. Twitter has very limited professional use other than perhaps for customer service so my advice is that if you want to have a presence on Twitter, you might want to use at least one other platform on this list and in fact, Twitter is mostly used for the purpose of content promotion. On the other hand, given the brevity of Twitter, tweets are the likeliest to go viral so it’s not something you want to just skip either.
LinkedIn is commonly used for the purpose of professional networking and isn’t as popular for the purpose of social media marketing but if you’re a professional service company with a focus on B2B services, LinkedIn is a valid option for your business. As LinkedIn is used to facilitate connection between professionals, the language and attitude on display is different compared to other platforms on this list and gimmicky marketing campaign will be of little use here. Adjust your attitude and expectations accordingly if you’re thinking of using LinkedIn.
One thing I would like to mention is that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter all provide live streaming capabilities. Live streaming has a lot of potential, you can use it to show the day-to-day activities of your business or to host a Q&A session for customers and potential customers to ask you questions regarding to industry. This is especially useful for those working in the legal or finance industry where there are highly technical issues that the public might not fully understand. If you’re working in either of those two industries, consider trying your hand at live streaming.