Social Media 101: What Type of Social Media is Best for Your Company?
Being present on every social media platform is just not viable for most businesses. Not only is it not financially feasible to spend time curating content and images for all of the major social media platforms, some social media sites are simply not right for your company and any time spent trying to promote it there will effectively fall on deaf ears. Finding the right social media platform for your company doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are five of the most popular social media sites and which types of companies can best benefit from using them:
Facebook is widely seen as the unequivocal king of social media. And for good reason. It’s definitely one of the most popular among consumers, spanning a huge range of demographics. Nearly three-quarters of the adults in the US are on Facebook, with over one billion users worldwide. Of every social media, it has the most even distribution of ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, and careers.
These stats make it look like Facebook is the best option for every business, and it’s true that it couldn’t hurt every business to have a Facebook profile, but for some, it might not be the optimal venue to pour all of your time and money into. Its size makes it possible for you to reach out to millions of potential customers—but it also means there are a lot of other messages you will have to compete with.
The main drawback of Facebook is this: people don’t want to hear your marketing message. Other platforms, like Pinterest, are great for companies that want to distribute specific information about their products or services, in compact way that’s also shareable. Facebook isn’t the venue for that. No one wants to see “BUY NOW!” or “CHECK OUR NEW PRODUCT” in their feed.
What is Facebook for? Facebook is for pulling back the curtain and letting the public see the humans behind the façade of the business. Facebook is truly the most social of the social media, which means businesses need to focus on the social aspects, rather than just trying to hock their products.
Pinterest is another beast entirely. While it is still social, Pinterest is all about products and services. If you’ve ever been on this social site, you know that it’s just digital pin board after digital pin board of products that users like, services they want to use, or recipes and crafts they want to do. Any company that is trying to get the word out about their product and place pictures and information about it into a venue where it’s likely to be shared, Pinterest is the place to start.
While it is most effective for businesses that deal with topics like wedding planning, food, travel, fashion, craft supplies, or decorating, just about any physical product can find a home on user’s Pinterest boards.
Here’s the thing about Twitter: think of it like Facebook, but on speed. The mentality is similar, but the character limits and the fact that users can follow thousands of people, instead of just the hundreds of friends on Facebook, Twitter is rapid-fire and up-to-the-minute.
This makes it ideal for companies that have breaking news, that want to be involved in discussions about current events (read: are in an industry where discussion of current events would be relevant to followers), or often has occasion to reach out and talk to its followers on a more individual basis.
LinkedIn is just now starting to be considered a social media platform. This platform is definitely more popular with service providers or business to business manufacturers, than with retailers or those who are in any B2C industry. With very little space for posting pictures or other visual content, and because it is very “business” minded, LinkedIn doesn’t have much to offer for companies that are looking to be social. It has plenty to offer, on the other hand, to companies that need a venue to talk very openly about the nature of their business.
Unlike LinkedIn, Instagram is a highly visual medium. Its demographic is made up of young people (ages 18-29), who are very actively using the platform. While it is not as popular as Facebook or even Pinterest, the users who do use it, use it nearly every day—which cannot be said about LinkedIn or Twitter. It comes in second only to Facebook in overall activity of users.
Because most users are young people, any company that can make use of the visual aspect of Instagram can benefit from this platform. Again, restaurants, fashion, and technology are the most popular, because these topics made great pictures and they are the topics that young people want to see in their feeds.