In the advertising and marketing world, some companies and marketing executives go with an “any publicity is good publicity” type of marketing approach. They get the word out by whatever means necessary, and so market their business on any and all social networks in order to get their product recognized. But this is not necessarily the best social media marketing approach for every business.
In fact, most businesses would benefit from strategically choosing the social media platform that best suits their business, and sticking with that one only, or focusing on it as their primary social media platform and using one other as support. But deciding which social media site best fits your business can be a complicated task. There are a number of factors that should play a role in which social media network you finally decide to go with to market your company.
Popularity of Social Networks
The first important factor in choosing a social network for your business is how many users currently use that network. This number of users is the number of people you will be able to market your product to once you post your business on the site and begin your campaign. The list of social media sites below, ranked by popularity, will give you the number of users per month, as well as a general overview of each individual site and an idea of some of the differences between the sites.
Facebook remains the most popular social network, with 1.28 billion average monthly users. Facebook allows you to reach your customers through text content, video, and images, so it is a very versatile marketing option. It is also arguably the most trusted social network, since people are highly dependent on it for information and communication.
Google+ is the next most popular social network, with 540 million monthly users—a far cry from the enormous monthly user number of Facebook, but still very high. However, it is questionable whether people turn to Google+ to participate with brands and businesses, and whether or not a business can have great visibility on this network.
Twitter is the next up, with 255 million monthly users. Twitter can be a valuable factor in online marketing, since it is widely used by celebrities. If you have a product that is, or potentially could be, endorsed by a person of popularity or celebrity, the best place for them to do that endorsement is Twitter. Twitter also delivers advertisements in small, accessible, bite-sized lines of information, so they easily consume the information without having to spend time reading.
With 200 million monthly users, Instagram has made a big impression in a short period of time. This social media platform operates by allowing posts only in the form of photos, which you can then add text to in the form of a comment. This social media network is becoming more popular than Facebook with the under-twenty to early-twenties age range, so if your product is youth oriented, Instagram is a great option.
LinkedIn comes in 5th, with 187 million monthly users. As a professional in today’s day and age, it is important to have a LinkedIn account, as it serves as a sort of online resume that anyone who could potentially hire or work with you can view in order to get a sense of your work and identity as a professional. However, LinkedIn is not an efficient advertising tool when used on its own.
Next up is the highly popular Pinterest, with a surprisingly low 40 million monthly users. This number is probably so much significantly lower than the others because Pinterest is mostly used by mid-20s to mid-30s aged women, although it does also appeal to other demographics. Pinterest is a great platform for spreading awareness about your product that doesn’t rely on the user having a lot of friends, because when a person “pins” an item on Pinterest, the item is shared with all Pinterest users who have similar interests, not just the user’s friends.
Although the number of users you are able to reach is important, it is also important to not rely solely on the size of a social network site when making your decision about which one you should primarily focus on. User data can be misleading, as seen in the above descriptions. Facebook, according to the reported monthly number of users, is the most popular social media site out of all of them by a long shot.
But this can be a false indicator of the sites success. Many of Facebook users are not actively involved, and may use Facebook just for its communication capacities. But in advertising, the demographic you are appealing to is more important, because you won’t be able to eventually sell to those people who are simply on Facebook to talk to their friends, since they aren’t actively searching for products or viewing ads.
A site like Pinterest is a good example of a targeted site. While it may not work for businesses who are selling items that the general population of Pinterest users would not be interested in, people who are browsing through “pins” are actively reading about products, viewing pictures of products, and reviewing products themselves.
The same is true, to some extent, of Instagram. People often post pictures of things that they have tried and love, with a positive review as a comment. Some companies even offer incentives on Instagram for users who advocate for their product by posting photos and reviews by sending free products to those people occasionally. There are also products advertised on Instagram by “Instagram stars,” like Manny the Frenchie—a dog that advertises certain products by being adorable in a photo with that product.
In essence, the social media platform that you choose should be entirely based on the individual personality and identity of your company. With a broad array of choices, you have the opportunity to select the one that works best for your particular needs. It’s also completely advisable to try one and if it doesn’t work, move on to another.