Today, there are upward of 2.34 billion social media users worldwide.
These people use countless social networks, ranging from the big names like Facebook and Instagram to more obscure networks like Vine and StumbleUpon.
With so many social platforms in existence, it’s easy to see why people have such a hard time picking between them.
It’s also easy to go wrong since some lesser-known social platforms collapse from time to time. Take Blurb, for example. When it died off, many people were angry they had invested so much time and energy into it.
So, how do you decide where to spend your time? Which social platforms will function most efficiently for your brand? Which ones offer the highest ROI? Which provide the largest levels of visibility?
These questions plague many companies around the world but, luckily, it’s not as tough as you may think to answer them.
If you’re having a difficult time deciding which social platforms your brand should be on, read on to learn more.
Which Social Platforms Are Right for Brands? A List of 5 Great Ones
If you run a company, deciding which social platforms to use will require that you also consider your goals, audience and content.
With that in mind, consider the following list of social platforms, and what each offers for brands:
1. Blogging is a Social Media Platform
While there has been some back-and-forth about if blogs are social media content (as Social Media Examiner has claimed) or social media platforms themselves (as Heidi Cohen has stated), there’s no doubt that they play a significant role in all content marketing strategies.
An excellent blog promotes comments and social shares, and, as such, blogs are platforms that all marketers should pursue, regardless of overall goals, engagement rates, or content types.
2. Facebook is Huge
Facebook is the crème de la crème of social media. With more than 1.71 billion active monthly users, Facebook is the most popular social platform out there and is ideal for any company or brand that wants the widest possible audience.
Plus, since content allows for longer-form content than a platform like Pinterest or Twitter, it’s a perfect place for commentary, announcements and introductions to blog posts. One potential downside that many marketers feel with Facebook, however, is the platform’s News Feed algorithm can “sort out” your content, which means that the content you post may not make it to all of your followers.
What’s more, Facebook advertising costs have been rising for years, and advertisers who want to advertise frequently on the platform will pay more than they ever have before.
While Facebook can’t be the only social platform you use, it should earn a spot as one of your favored distribution channels.
3. Twitter’s a Rockstar Platform for Marketers
Twitter has faced some difficulties in recent years, and it’s never quite attained the prominence that Facebook has regarding functionality or user numbers. Still, it’s no slouch. With upward of 313 million active monthly users, Twitter offers a broad audience, and thousands of brands are using it to communicate and engage their audiences.
While Twitter has historically been known for its strict 140-character limit, it has relaxed that in recent weeks, and the social channel remains a great spot for brands to communicate with audiences, post updates and encourage quippy engagement from followers.
What’s more, Twitter can also be an effective customer-service platform, for brands who want to take it in that direction.
Twitter is personally one of my favorite social platforms. I created a Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat, and I’ve seen thousands of people join us in the live chat hour. As a grassroots Twitter chat, I was amazed to see it grow from literally nothing. We’ve also had leads come in from our presence in other Twitter chats. Check out this case study where I describe how I’ve made ROI happen from my Twitter presence.
4. LinkedIn is Awesome for Networking
LinkedIn, while typically regarded as a networking site for individuals, can be a hugely influential social platform for brands, as well. According to HubSpot, a whopping 43 percent of marketers have found a customer via LinkedIn, and the social platform continues to be popular among small business owners.
If you’re going to use LinkedIn, be sure that you’re optimizing your profile correctly. This will help you earn more leads and engagement through the site.
5. YouTube is Fantastic for Evergreen Videos
While few people consider YouTube a prominent social media platform, 2015 was the so-called “Year of Video” in the content marketing circle, and the popularity of video content continues to increase.
With this in mind, now is a very good time to set up a presence on YouTube. Even if you don’t have the experience or skills to develop your own video content, it’s easy to hire a team of professionals to help you hone your video content and produce great results.
3 Considerations for Choosing a Social Platform
Even though the above five social platforms are prominent and useful, that doesn’t mean they’re right for your brand. To ensure you’re spending your time and effort in the right places, consider these five things:
1. User numbers
While a site like Reddit has about two million users, Facebook has billions. While user numbers aren’t everything, they’re important to consider as you seek out your social platform of choice. As a general rule, the most populated platforms will provide the most exposure, although it may also be harder to get noticed on them.
2. The platforms that your target audience prefers
The most important consideration when choosing a social platform is to evaluate where your target audience spends its time. For example, your readers may love Pinterest and Instagram, and use Facebook as a source for news and updates. Structure your social interactions accordingly, and you’ll be rewarded by increased engagement.
3. Your overall goals
Your choice of social channel will vary depending on your goal. For example, if your primary purpose is to drive conversions, you may be best sticking with the site that does that best for you (this will vary depending on your company type and focus). If your goal is engagement, though, you have many options for social interaction.
Tailoring your choice of social profiles to your corporate goals will help your social media presence support your overall objectives, which streamlines all of your efforts and makes your business more efficient.
Social Media Made Simple
While the array of social media platforms available can be dizzying, choosing the right selection of social platforms for your brand comes down to evaluating the user numbers, benefits, drawbacks, and purposes of each. While most brands use a variety of social platforms for their marketing, vetting each with these criteria will help ensure your choices are as efficient as possible.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.
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