There are more options than ever when it comes to social media platforms, with new alternatives being provided all the time. The main players are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and if you’re not seen on all the platforms all the time, where are you?
However, overwhelming yourself with posting on all the platforms every day is unnecessary. Instead it’s worthwhile learning about what each individual social channel can offer and tailoring your approach so that the platform works for you.
Which social media platform is best for business?
Figuring out which social platform is best for your business involves understanding what each one has to offer. They all have different aims and posting mechanics, and knowing the difference between them can help you put together your own social strategy.
Twitter can offer you quick reach in short-form messaging. Twitter’s overall purpose is connecting people and allowing people to share their thoughts and feelings to a wider audience.
However, posts and messages flow quickly on a user’s timeline. You will need to have an established presence and often many of the larger businesses see more success by posting constantly throughout the day to make sure they’re seen.
You can see a great example of the ‘always-online’ social presence by Pretty Little Thing – who have a dedicated social media manager to respond reactively to current happenings, such as award shows and current memes.
Another great feed to take inspiration from is Innocent Smoothies, where the brand takes viral marketing techniques to a whole new level. Their most notable viral campaign is when they launched their Blue Spark smoothie and executed a highly successful engagement campaign surrounding a debate on whether the drink is actually blue or green.
A ‘half-life’ of a Tweet (the amount of time required for a post to fall to half of its initial value) sits at around 6 minutes, however this can vary depending on your own Twitter audience size and their online activity.
This significantly short lifespan for a post means that your content can be easily lost in the ever-updating Timeline. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing though, with the right budget to spend on a good Social Media Manager you can be seen online and take advantage of the changing trends as they happen to make sure your business stands out online.
Facebook is often mistaken as the platform for mums and “Karens”. If you skipped over Facebook because of the common misconceptions, then you’re missing out on one of the largest and most successful corners of the internet.
While the Business Manager / Business Suite tools can be frustrating to most users who attempt to navigate through them, the Facebook Ads platform is still one of the most comprehensive and best performing tools available.
Growing a page organically through Facebook can be nearly impossible for those without the time to dedicate to promoting the page across the platform.
Learning how to use your own Facebook profile, Facebook Groups and other areas within Facebook can produce significant results for you, without spending a penny on promotion.
Plus, in order to use Instagram to its full potential you need to make sure you have an established presence on Facebook.
Instagram is the busiest platform by far and it’s the one that’s frequently trying new things. With a new focus on video content across the platform and Shopping features becoming central, Instagram is expanding further than its original focus on square imagery.
There are many areas to take advantage of on Instagram including: Stories, Highlights, Reels, IGTV, Shop and organic feed posts. You can use a combination of all or only a few of these (whichever fits your business best) to create a comprehensive profile and full representation of your business.
Instagram is overall a very visual and creative platform compared to Twitter and Facebook, and businesses can entice an engaged audience through imagery and video content.
It’s easy to show off and tie in your branding across your feed on Instagram. You can see that entrepreneur Vix Meldrew has this in the bag with her graphics. Featuring consistent font styles and colours, her branding shines through not only on her carousel infographics but within her Reels and Highlights too.
Other platforms to consider
The main three players may be Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but you shouldn’t overlook the other channels either.
TikTok is a fast growing avenue with access to a wide audience. With a large enough budget (not only for a potential TikTok and video content producer, but time budget too) you can see excellent growth in a short period of time. The opportunities to go viral and grow large are within reach on TikTok more than most other platforms. Plus, as the platform grows the developers behind TikTok are introducing new features all the time with in-app commerce features being priority for implementation.
Pinterest offers you an artsy, lifestyle platform which has the longest standing post half-life. Pins shared here can consistently see results month-on-month and often year-after-year, which means with good management and pin optimisation you can continue to gain traffic to your website in your sleep.
LinkedIn allows you to connect with other businesses and entrepreneurs directly. Think of it as a networking event but online. There’s so much opportunity to sell your services and business here while growing your connections online.
How do you know which platform to use and when?
After learning what each platform offers you in terms of marketing tools and audience type, you can use this information alongside your business goals and consumer profiles to start to put together your social media strategy.
A lot of businesses tend to use all the social platforms and end up spreading their social media budget too thin (especially in their early days). A successful social media strategy adapts over time. While it’s important to make sure your branding is consistent and you’re visible everywhere, you need to make sure you’re spending your time and budget wisely to ensure good growth. However, you should claim your usernames and URLs online before someone else does.
The best social media platform for you, is where your audience is most likely to be hanging out and where you can best get your message across. Tying together your consumer profiles and business goals with social media focused KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) will put together the basic structure of your own strategy. This will then lead you to further understand where to begin communicating with your audience.
If you’re more Business To Business, you may find that Facebook and even LinkedIn is better for your budget initially, before expanding into Twitter and Instagram. However, if you’re more creative, then focusing first on Instagram and potentially TikTok or Pinterest will be more effective.