The list of social media platforms continues to grow, and we often feel pressured to join each and every one. I’m the first to admit that it is stressful to maintain a well-polished account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube and Snapchat. Trying to manage so many accounts can leave you feeling burnt out and will take all the fun out of social media.
Let me tell you a secret: You don’t have to be on every single platform! It’s too overwhelming and most likely isn’t necessary for your brand. Instead, identify your social media goals and who you are trying to reach with your message. What do you want to accomplish and who is your target audience? Answering these two questions and keeping them top of mind will help you identify which channels are best for you and your brand! With those items in mind, let’s look at the most popular social media platforms out there right now.
With nearly 2 billion users, Facebook is the most popular social media network. It can target almost anyone: Facebook users are both male and female and range from age 27-65+. With the ability to share text, photos and videos, Facebook gives you plenty of opportunities to build relationships with your audience.
Because of Facebook’s wide reach and its ability to house so much different content, it is a great starting point – especially if you have limited bandwidth. Most businesses opt for a Business Page which allows you to target your audience via Facebook ads. To make the most of Facebook, post consistently (at least once a day) and aim to Go Live weekly!
With more than 600 million users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms. It’s especially popular with the 18-29 year old market and has great organic reach. Instagram is all about sharing photos, although it does have live video capabilities and a “story” feature that is similar to Snapchat. Instagram is a wonderful creative outlet for brands, as it allows you to carefully build your feed to reflect a certain personality or aesthetic.
If choose to use Instagram, be sure to take advantage of hashtags.
- Hashtag 10-20 relevant terms. This can get your post seen by users posting similar content or with similar.
- Use a mix of common hashtags (#vino #red wine #cheers) to help your post get seen and also local hashtags or hashtags that are specific to your brand (#hopperhappyhour #italianbarolo).
Twitter is good for real time content, such as live-tweeting an event or quickly sharing breaking news. It is also an excellent way to build expertise within your industry and can lead to relationships with other brands.
Twitter has 328 million users age 18-49, and it allows you to have real-time conversations with them. For this reason, Twitter works well for providing customer service. (If your flight is delayed, you may get better and quicker customer service on Twitter than at the airline desk.) If you choose to use Twitter, feel free to tweet more than once a day, aiming for at least three.
If you want to build your brand image as an industry leader, LinkedIn is a good place to be. It has 467 million registered members who range in age from 18-65+. With them you can network and share industry news.
On LinkedIn you can have a personal profile and a company page – and I recommend both! Share informative blog posts or articles, an exciting recent hire or current job openings. This is your online business card and resume and a great place to expand your network and sphere of influence.
If your target audience is primarily women, Pinterest could be a wonderful use of your time. It has 175 million registered members, most of whom are female, range in age from 18-49 and spend a high amount of time on the site.
People mainly turn to Pinterest for inspiration and to plan purchases. Think of it as an online bulletin board. It is a very visual and aspirational site! If you are selling a product, such as clothing, accessories or home goods, Pinterest is especially useful. Every pin links back to your website, driving immediate traffic to your page. You can also create boards and repin others posts that align with your brand.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, with 1 billion users around the age of 25-44. If you are creating any video, then you should have a YouTube channel. Here are a few reasons why:
- YouTube yields valuable SEO benefits. It is owned by Google, so YouTube videos often appear organically in Google search results.
- YouTube videos are easy to embed or upload onto almost any website, from Facebook to LinkedIn to blogging sites. This allows you to seamlessly incorporate videos marketing across all of your platforms.
- By 2019, it is projected that video traffic will make up 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic. Build your video marketing strategy now to stay on top of the trends.
Looking to reach a younger generation? Snapchat may be for you. Snapchat boasts 173 million users who tend to be female and of the Gen X and Gen Y generation. Because Snaps disappear after 24 hours, this platform tends to feel more authentic and less filtered. If you are looking to get your brand seen, consider sponsored filters or geofilters, which can reach either all users or those within a specific geographic area. These filters can be seen when people snap photos in the app. Snapchat is still pretty new so if you choose to use it, use it to share your story – not sell!
Each social media platform is unique – with its own audience, set of rules and language. Which of these platforms sound most like you? Which ones would you most enjoy using and most closely aligns with your marketing goals and the audience you want to reach? I recommend starting small and developing and implementing your content social media strategy on one or two platforms before trying to take them all on. BONUS TIP: Set up a personal profile and get comfortable using the platform before using it for business. This will help you get the lay of the land. Which social media platform is your favorite and why? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!