There are a plethora of social media platforms out there, and it can be tempting to establish a profile for your business on each. However, this apparent catch-all marketing strategy actually wastes time by targeting the wrong audiences for your needs. There are key differences between each platform, making some more suitable for your business than others. Understanding social media platforms and how they share content is essential to successful digital marketing. Here’s what you need to know about the four major platforms…
The original social networking platform, most businesses have a presence on Facebook. However, it is mostly beneficial to B2C businesses. The key word in the description of the platform is social networking – people use the website in order to connect with friends and family. They don’t use it for business purposes – however they will use it to research future purchases.
Facebook users are one of the widest demographics out there, with the impression that it’s filled with teenagers rapidly replaced by an increase in a new demographic: grandparents are now more likely to use the website than their grandchildren.
One of the great things about Facebook is that marketers can select a very specific audience to receive views of their advertisements. This is a budget-friendly, audience-specific marketing tactic. It’s up to each business to be as specific as possible in their audience requirements to maximise return on pay-per-click or pay-per-view adverts.
A much faster-moving platform than Facebook, a Twitter profile page is reduced to a 140 character biography, a cover photo and a profile photo (or logo). The rest of the page is pure tweets – everything a company has put out, replied to and retweeted.
Businesses should remember that, in general, Twitter users tend to follow only their Twitter feed – they will not usually visit a particular company page on a regular basis. The temporary nature of a Twitter feed means regular posting is not just ideal but necessary, in order for information to be seen by the right audience.
Twitter is much better than Facebook for spreading viral advertisements – such as those employing Vine video. It is great for following real-time trends, and for responding to customer service issues quickly. Companies with a customer service Twitter profile are able to nurture (or destroy!) their reputation, while the chatty nature of the platform means it is easier to generate a relatable ‘person-behind-the-brand’ feeling to communications.
The leading business social network, LinkedIn is a global network connecting over 300 million professionals worldwide. Fifteen million of these are in the UK alone, and 87% of these are blue collar professionals over the age of 34. Such a platform is clearly ideal for B2B companies, with a prime audience not only interested in generating sales leads but in sharing knowledge within their industry through groups and discussions. These forums are perfect for indirect sales but require active use instead of paid advertising, so LinkedIn is a more time-intensive marketing strategy.
Recent additions to LinkedIn’s functions include long-form posts. This means that businesses now have a prime opportunity to boost their reputation with quality content rather than a hard-sales pitch. Compared to Twitter and Facebook, the ability to generate content-led posts is what makes it perfectly suited for those seeking B2B leads.
The new kid on the block, Ello is still in beta but is a good reminder that marketers shouldn’t get complacent using The Big Three as listed above. Social networks are continuously evolving, and Ello is a great example of the rapid response of developers to user demand for simpler, more pared-back platforms. Ello is an advertisement-free platform, which is currently the main selling point for those suffering advert-exhaustion through Facebook and Twitter. Marketers can still get on board, however, by creating genuine profiles and connecting with people on a personal level. Ello is currently an invite-only platform, however, so getting onto the network in order to do this might be a little tricky until the network opens out registration options.
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