Nowadays, the importance of using social media for your business should be a no-brainer. After all, social media has changed the way we interact as individuals, so it makes sense that it would also change the way businesses interact with consumers.
From photo sharing sites like Instagram to bookmarking sites like Pinterest, each social media platform has benefits and drawbacks for businesses. This now begs the question, which social media platforms should your business invest time and effort into?
Pros and Cons of Social Media Sites
The social media platforms that are best for your business will largely vary depending on your target demographic and objective, along with the goods or services you sell. Some of the top social media sites to consider include:
Regardless of the type of business, Facebook is an essential platform for reaching your customers. With more than 1.86 billion active users, businesses can reach the largest range of demographics compared to other platforms.
Pros: Facebook allows businesses to reach the largest amount of people, which is great for interacting with existing and prospective customers. Your business’ Facebook page should be the bedrock of your social media presence. Facebook also provides helpful insight and analytics, allowing businesses to track their social media growth.
Cons: On the negative side, building a Facebook presence can be quite time-consuming. Sincere interaction on Facebook is key to creating a strong presence, and this type of engagement can’t be done without investing time. However, reaping the benefits of Facebook has shown to be well-worth the time spent for businesses.
Instagram is a social media platform driven by sharing photos and videos. Similarly to Facebook, Instagram has an extraordinary potential payoff for businesses who are willing to put forth effort into building their Instagram presence. As of 2016, 48.8% of brands use Instagram, but that number is expected to rise to 70.7% this year.
Pros: Instagram is one of the fastest growing platforms and is especially popular among millennials. If you plan to target a younger demographic, this is the ideal social media site to consider. Since Instagram is also a visually based platform, it’s also great for showcasing your company’s products.
Cons: If you don’t have visual content to share with your followers, Instagram may not be the best option for your business. It’s also important to note that you can only post to Instagram through a mobile device rather than a laptop or desktop.
Twitter is a platform used for sharing short 140-character messages, or tweets. Tweets can include text, photos, videos, and links to external sites. This social media platform has approximately 650 million users.
Pros: Twitter is simple and quick to use because tweets are only 140 words. It’s also easy to spread your message with the use of hashtags.
Cons: With so many accounts on Twitter, your tweets can easily end up at the bottom of your followers’ feeds. The limited 140 characters can also be a drawback if you have a lengthy message for your followers.
Pinterest is essentially a virtual corkboard where you bookmark similar “pins” to topic-related boards. Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest is much more centered around curating content rather than actually creating it. For businesses, Pinterest is useful because it can act as a type of portfolio or catalog.
Pros: Depending on your target demographic, Pinterest may be a worthwhile investment because so many women are using it. The addition of the buy button also makes it easier for consumers to purchase your products with a click of a button.
Cons: To use Pinterest effectively, you’ll need high-quality images, which can be a challenge for some businesses. This social media platform is also a poor option for business-to-business companies since it’s mostly used for featuring tangible products.
Snapchat is the newest heavy hitter in the social media game. This platform began as a mobile-only photo messaging app but has quickly morphed into a potential goldmine for businesses looking to connect with more customers. Now with the addition of users’ stories and the discover feature, businesses have more opportunities to build a strong presence on Snapchat.
Pros: If your business primarily targets teenagers and young adults, you should definitely consider using Snapchat. Approximately 77% of college students use Snapchat daily and 58% of college students say they would be likely to purchase a brand’s product or services if they receive a coupon on Snapchat. This platform is also excellent if you want to increase viewer focus and engagement since the concept of disappearing messages encourages viewers to pay attention.
Cons: Snapchat is comprised of mostly younger users, so this is not the ideal for companies who target an older demographic. This social media platform also lacks tools to track engagement compared to other sites like Facebook and Twitter.
What Should I Consider Before Choosing a Social Platform?
Whether you decide to actively use a social media platform or not, we strongly encourage you to claim the username for your company. You never know what social media platform will be the next Facebook or Twitter and it’s better to plan ahead. Why not play it safe and reserve your brand’s name across all social media sites?
Now if you plan to actually invest time into building your presence on a social site, there are several factors you should keep in mind, including:
- What’s your target demographic and is this social platform best for reaching them?
- What is your ultimate objective? For instance, Pinterest’s buy button would be ideal for companies looking to boost online commerce while Instagram would be better for establishing your brand’s voice.
- What type of media do you plan to use? Are you leaning toward a visual or text-based message for your company?
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that social media is just that — social. Remember that regardless of which platform you choose, your social success will be primarily reliant on your ability to communicate and engage your audience.
Let Us Help You Kick Off Your Social Presence!
Are you unsure about where to start with social media? We understand that deciding what social media platforms to use is a task in itself. At Now Media Group, we offer several services to get your social presence started. Find out more about our social services by contacting us at (858) 333-8950.