As a marketing company, one question we hear frequently from business owners trying to get up to speed on social media is: Which social media platform is best for my business?
Over the past few years alone, the number of online platforms and the opportunities to share content and branding have increased tremendously. Now it seems that everyone is on social media (even if the use of social media is still a relatively new concept in the business world). You may be inundated with competitors’ Tweets, posts, or online ads and wonder how your business can possibly carve out a space in this digital deluge.
Information is not only constant, but it takes many varying forms. On top of paid advertisements (such as Google AdWords, Yahoo, and Bing), there are Tweets, Facebooks Posts, Pins, infographics, photo galleries, contests…so many forms of content to choose from.
In order to determine “which social media platform is best for my business,” first decide what you want out of social media. Do you want a fast, easy way of raising brand awareness? Do you want to share daily business updates and developments? Do you want to display beautiful, high-resolution photos of your products?
Though there are similarities between social media platforms, each platform fills a different niche and allows you to produce a slightly different type of content. With your products and services in mind, ask yourself if content created on the following platforms would be useful:
- A) Twitter: With a 140-character limit, Twitter is not the medium for long, detailed messages. Twitter is ideal if you want to post quick daily updates, raising awareness about your company and brand without dedicating too much time. It is also useful for engaging with others in your industry.
- B) Facebook: Facebook does not share Twitter’s 140-character limit, so slightly longer posts are acceptable. Adding photos to a more detailed description is a good strategy if you want to promote a new product, or document a charity activity or challenge your employees took part in.
- C) Pinterest: There’s no denying it: online audiences love pictures. If you have high-quality images of your products or designs, Pinterest might be the perfect medium for sharing them.
- D) Houzz: If you sell home-related products, or are a designer, it’s time to seriously consider signing up for Houzz. With a largely upscale audience, Houzz is a great way to display (and sell!) furniture, lighting, and home improvement solutions.
- E) All of the above…?
If you answered E, you’re right…and you’re wrong!
In addition to finding the platforms that work best for you, one way to maximize social media exposure is to cross-pollinate between platforms. Tweet what you Pin, Pin what you post, post about what you show on Houzz, and so on. This is an easy way to promote content you have created on one platform on another platform, and to reach a wider audience.
So why are you also wrong if you answered E?
1) A strategy that works for one business may not be ideal for another. For example, Pinterest might be a better medium for designers and product-based businesses than service businesses.
2) You could easily spread yourself too thin if you try them all at once. You can’t spend all of your time on social media– as addictive as it is – you have a business to run!
3) Focusing only on today’s social media sweethearts, e.g. Pinterest, may take your eye off up-and-coming platforms that could be critical to your business in the future.
Don’t hesitate – sign up for an account on the social media platform of your choice and start experimenting! You will find that as you become more comfortable Tweeting, posting, or pinning, you will naturally have new, engaging ideas for content.