So.....numbers aside, how do you know which social media platform to use? The short answer is all of them!
The longer answer is a lot of your use depends on what you are trying to do, if you are using social media to just 'be social' - communicate and share personal ideas - then you may find that one or two platforms is enough for you to be active on. If you are in business it becomes vital that you represent yourself and your product on as many platforms as possible and aim to be active on social media for around one hour each day. Read on for 5 reasons why you should aim to engage on as many social media platforms as you can: -
1) Different audiences use different social media platforms - One persons trash is another persons treasure. This may have not been so eloquently put on my part, but this saying holds fairly true on the use of different social media platforms! You may have a user who is into photography, hence would value information that is presented in a visual context - This type of user would naturally head to platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest to interact with their customer base. Another user may be more into snappy one liners and easily digestible pieces of short news bites or articles - naturally they would be more drawn to using a platform such as Twitter. This is where it is vital as a business to be able to interact on as many different levels as possible, networking on as many appropriate social media platforms that are relevant to the business. If you can interact and produce content that is both visually attractive, and also contains a great written message, you can connect with users of Twitter as well as Instagram and Pinterest, increasing your audience massively!
2) The functionality of each social media platform varies significantly - I touched on this a little in the last line of the point above, there are some commonalities in the way that social media platforms are used, however, there are also big differences. For instance, I would consider Twitter comparatively easy to use (in comparison to other platforms) in terms of sharing content quickly. It also has more of a 'real time' feel as you can see posts updating in front of you. The drawback is that you are limited to the number of characters you can use within a post.This restriction encourages a faster, more snappy presentation of information, requiring the user to condense their message/post. From personal experience, I find that my professional posts seem to be more readily shared on Twitter than when I use other platforms. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook seem to be more geared to social interaction and peer to peer sharing of information. I find that its more likely that posts I share containing content that is not directly related to Peters Web, seem to attract more engagement on these platforms.This can be beneficial in terms of drawing attention and audience interaction back to a business as part of a more informal, lighthearted approach, hence I would advice this strategy when using Instagram or Facebook! Another point to make, regarding Facebook, is that it is a lot more difficult to interact with other brands in a business focused context. This is due to the influx of content from other contacts (social contacts, friends, family and advertising). Hence, I would say Facebook is lower on my list of preferred platforms, especially when a post is focused on the business aspects of Peters Web. In terms of a platform such as YouTube, a short, informal video clip can do wonders when presenting a topic of information (blogging, technical information about a topic that may not come across as well via text).
3) Some platforms have a greater reach than others - This is a logical by-product of how social media platforms choose to operate. The organic reach of Facebook pages is on a noticeable decline, due to the changes that the company have made to their advertising policies (you can read more about this here). Its worth doing some research on each platform in order to 'weigh up' potential pros and cons in terms of how impactful the exposure of your posts will be. Most business accounts on social media platforms offer an 'analytics' page. With this tool, you can see the reach and engagement of your posts on that particular platform. I would recommend experimenting by posting on each platform, and taking into account how well each post does in terms of reach and engagement. You can then deduce which platform works best for you, thus which platform should become your primary focus. Of course it is worth remembering the old phrase 'all publicity is good publicity', hence I would advise keeping up appearances on other platforms as well!
4) You can alter a post to suit different audiences on different platforms - From my own experience, Twitter seems to be the easiest platform from which to leave an immediate impression on an audience. It seems that Twitter, is as much about how you interact with your audience (hashtags, links...) as it is about the content itself. Once I have completed a Twitter post, I would usually post about the topic in question on other platforms, and change the content to suit (i.e add more imagery for an instagram post, make a Facebook post more 'wordy'.....). Overall I would make sure that I didn't copy the same post word for word onto other platforms. This may portray the business in a bad light, as some may consider the approach 'lazy'. Adopting a strategy tailored for each individual platform shows that I have an understanding of the fundamentals of each social media hub (hopefully my audience will appreciate this!).
5) Above all, don't neglect 'old school' communication methods - Its all well and good to focus entirely on social media, as there are many successful businesses and influencers who make a living entirely from their use of social media platforms. However, what if your potential customers didn't engage with any social media platforms at all? (yes I can see you at the back there....) How would you reach them? It is still worth putting some time and resources aside for good old fashioned web adverts. Perhaps even throwing in a few guest interviews to feature on other websites!
As a footnote its worth considering that one size does not fit all when it comes to marketing and social media use. Its all about making up a perfect mix, a delicious cocktail that involves all of the ingredients and presents the perfect balance of each component. Also you must post with passion!.......don't feel the need to post because you have to, always post something when you feel you have something great to share with everyone and you feel this is the perfect time to share it ;)
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