The use of social media as a marketing tool isn’t something you can afford to snub anymore; you now have got to go with the tide. As is the principle with any tool, knowing its composition & functionality is a precursor to effective use. Not substantially knowing how a social media platform is comprised & works can manifest itself in dismally vain efforts with limited or no pay-offs. Thus, for your benefit, I shall delve into a comparative look at the different social media platforms available. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn & Pinterest are the platforms I shall be discussing.
Facebook is the most used social media platform on this planet. Any business profile properly managed on Facebook can reap enormous rewards for any business. Principally, you have to pay for ads or boost your posts to reach far wide, plus you have got to work closely with analytics.
Those who make it big on Facebook post video-based (ready-made or Live) content; that generates high engagements. The other highly effective content type is text-based stories (study Strive Masiyiwa’s page to understand this – he was the world’s number 1 social media influencer on Facebook last year).
Primarily, Facebook should be your main social media platform, which must be closely augmented by an Instagram page. This is the modus operandi for most of the successful social media marketers out there.
In case you didn’t know, this platform was purchased several years ago by Facebook. No wonder there is interoperability between Instagram & Facebook. This is a highly visual platform i.e. photos & video clips are the key aspect. The profile picture & bio feature are significant aspects in your Instagram activity as they communicate the first impressions aspects to do with your brand. To augment your business marketing experience you must have a pre-existing Facebook page that is required for you to switch to a business account. This provides you with detailed analytics & the option to promote/sponsor ads/posts.
Hash tags also an interesting feature in Instagram that enhances discoverability of your posts. There is also the Instagram Live & IGTV (IGTV involves posting ready-made videos which are substantially longer than the 1-minute limit clips that a generic post allows). It’s also quite easy to refer people to your other sites by including links in your bio.
Thus, Instagram is suitable for any type of business so long you can ensure quality content within the confines of what the platform offers & allows. Plus the general assumption is that someone on Facebook is highly likely to be on Instagram also; lots of Zimbabweans now use Instagram.
This is the largest instant messaging platform in the world; it was also purchased by Facebook. You can specifically get a WhatsApp Business account. The key thing about WhatsApp is it’s susceptibility for the propagation of viral content. As a business you can easily spread messages on this platform and the beauty of it is that people will propagate the messages for you if they are captivating.
This happens to be the most used micro-blogging site which allows you to tweet short 280-character long messages; images & short video clips are also allowable. Due to the limitations, most businesses use this platform for primarily news dissemination or general discussion purposes. It quite an interactive platform and as a business you can use this to interact with clients and key stakeholders. It is also strategic for product/service launches due to the presence & activity of virtually every major news outlet on Twitter. Twitter provides the best opportunity for businesses big and small alike to listen in on conversations about them or their product and even industry.
When it comes to content marketing for business-to-business purposes, LinkedIn is the king. Approximately 65 million active business account users are present on LinkedIn at the moment, globally. Surveys have shown that with regards to business-to-business social media marketing, LinkedIn actually exceeds Facebook. This platform is also affirmed for its dominance as the preferred choice for most products or service launches – it again exceeds Facebook in this regard.
LinkedIn is a high professional platform and is also quite preferable when you are looking to identify qualified human capital. The platform is heavily premised on formal and professional content. One of the advantages of LinkedIn is that when you post an update, it reaches all your followers, unlike Facebook which subjects your post to algorithmic processes.
The other thing that LinkedIn offers is the feature of allowing you to have a comprehensively detailed profile far ahead of all other social media platforms. Just don’t forget this – I said it works best for B2B (business-to-business) social media marketing.
There are at present roughly two hundred million people in the world using Pinterest. Interestingly, about 50% of that number is people resident in the USA. This obviously gives an indication of how unpopular this platform is once we narrow it down to the Zimbabwean context. When it comes to influencing or driving conversion for businesses in USA, Pinterest is the second most influential platform. All this could be cultivated locally but that will be quite a long shot.
In Pinterest you do what are called pins (which can be in the form of text, videos or images). It’s possible to include links on your pins that redirects people to your website or other platforms. There is room to actually choose a business account option. Options to look at the analytics & to promote/sponsor pins are available also.
It is said that pins that are significant drivers of conversion are pins that enunciate on how to use a product or service. You must also appreciate that Pinterest is a highly visual platform characterised by most pins being infographics. Basically, Pinterest is a platform you would rather use as a supplement to your other much bigger social media platforms.
The key take-away from this article is that you can’t operate solely with just one platform. Strike a healthy balance amongst two or more platforms whilst leveraging on the strengths of each platform.