Social Media Marketing Tips: Select Your Platform

What social media platform should you choose? This article will explore the best platforms for each brand.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
  1. Why is it valuable to know the different social media platforms? 
  2. What are some pitfalls to watch out for?
  3. What are the different types of social media platforms?
  4. What is the nature of your brand?
  5. Where is your market?
  6. What are your goals?
Table of contents
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
  1. Why is it valuable to know the different social media platforms? 
  2. What are some pitfalls to watch out for?
  3. What are the different types of social media platforms?
  4. What is the nature of your brand?
  5. Where is your market?
  6. What are your goals?
8 Minutes

Social media dominates the Internet landscape today. 


For instance, Pew Research Center reports that 72% of U.S. adults use at least one social media site today, compared to only 5% in 2005. 


Additionally, seven out of ten Facebook users say they visit the site everyday! 


Finally, most of the reasons for using the internet listed by Datareportal in their 2021 Global Overview Report can be done on social media sites! These include 1) finding information, 2) staying in touch with friends and family, and 3) keeping up to date with news and events. 


No wonder brands flock to social media to stay relevant within their markets.


But not all social media platforms are created equal.

In this article, we will first answer three questions on why it is valuable to use social media marketing, what the drawbacks are that we need to prepare for, and what types of social media platforms are currently used. Then, we will address three more questions that will help you ascertain the most strategic platform for your organization:

  1. What is the nature of your brand?
  2. Where is your market?
  3. What are your goals?


In answering these questions, we will discuss the most important points to consider when choosing the right platforms for your social media marketing. 

Why is it valuable to know the different social media platforms? 

The choice of social media platform affects subsequent marketing planning. Image source

The answer is simple: the social media platforms used today are designed to be focused on different content types and topics. There are three main content types by format:

  • Text-based: posts, statuses, articles
  • Image-based: product images, infographics
  • Video-based: short “Stories”, live stream, expert interviews


Most of the social media sites allow posting these three main content types in a wide range of topics, but they can be designed with one dominant content type and/or topic. For example:

  • Youtube is a video-centered platform
  • Instagram is a photo-centered platform
  • LinkedIn is a business-centered platform
  • Twitch is a gaming-centered platform


This means that both the nature of content and audience type will depend on the platform. However, recent changes to these platforms mean that you can post all three types of content. 

What are some possible pitfalls to watch out for?

Social media marketing has its drawbacks. Australia’s business.gov.au lists the following drawbacks of using social media for marketing, copied here verbatim:

  • If you don’t have a clear marketing or social media strategy, the benefits may be reduced
  • You may need additional resources to manage your online presence
  • Social media is immediate and needs daily monitoring
  • If you don't actively manage your social media presence, you may not see any real benefits
  • You may get unwanted or inappropriate behaviour on your site, including bullying and harassment
  • Online exposure could attract risks such as negative feedback, information leaks or hacking
  • False or misleading claims made on your social media (by your business or a customer) can be subject to consumer law. You could be fined if a customer fan posts misleading or deceptive information, particularly about competitor products or services


All of these possible pitfalls can be prevented or mitigated if you plan in advance. 

What are the different types of social media platforms?

Different social media platforms. Image source

Choosing the right platform means we should also look at the features of each social media platform. We have the following types of platforms, modified from Search Engine Land’s original list:

  1. All-around networks such as Twitter & Facebook - to appeal to people of all ages, genders, and cultures, all-around networks such as Twitter and Facebook give you the widest reach possible. Note, however, that competition can be tight in these networks.
  2. Image-based networks such as Instagram and Pinterest - can highlight the visual side of your brand. If you want to attract your market through visual appeal, chances are you will flourish in these networks.
  3. Video-based networks such as YouTube & Tiktok - useful for appealing to potential customers who prefer video and/or audio to reading. If your brand marketing includes educational content, then you must include a video-based network as one of your target social media platforms.
  4. Business-oriented networks such as LinkedIn - if you intend to market your products to other businesses, you must have a presence on LinkedIn and its related sites. The advantage of these sites is that your audience will be the top managers and executives of large businesses and the owners of small businesses.
  5. Niche networks such as Reddit and Twitch - if your market is a niche community, you should aim straight to the communities being hosted in those networks. You have to market your products more carefully, but you can get direct access to your market in return. 
  6. Location-based networks - if there is a network that is used by a significant portion of the population in a certain location, you should consider having a presence on these platforms. This is especially useful if you are a new business hoping to attract customers from the local population.


What is the nature of your brand? 

The choice of which social media network to focus on may depend mostly on the nature of your brand. For example, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2021 Industry Report (link at the end of the article), 96% of B2C (business-to-consumer) and 89% of B2B (business-to-business) companies market their products and services to Facebook. 


Their second most-commonly used social media network, however, differs depending on whether they are a B2C or a B2C: 83% of B2C companies use Instagram as their second choice; while 81% of B2B companies use LinkedIn as their second choice.


To further strengthen the distinction, the same marketers were asked the most important social media platform for their marketing strategy. Facebook took the lion’s share for both B2C (63%) and B2B (40%) companies. For B2C companies, the second place goes to Instagram at 24%, while LinkedIn was the second-place for B2B companies at 35%. 


Where is your market?

A person browsing the Internet. Image source

You should also find out what social media networks your existing customers and your target market use. Chances are, they can be found on the same social media networks. There are several ways to look at where your market is. For the data, we will cite the result of Pew Research Center’s survey on social media usage.


In terms of sex,

  • Women comprise the majority of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest users
  • Men comprise the majority of LinkedIn, WhatsApp, and Reddit users


In terms of age group,

  • Ages 18-29 dominate Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube
  • Ages 30-49 form the biggest group of users of Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Ages 50-64 is the largest age group on Pinterest
  • Ages 65 and above have significant presences on Youtube and Facebook


In terms of annual income,

  • Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram are used by users of diverse incomes ranging from less than $30K to more than $75K. 
  • Pinterest and LinkedIn are dominated by richer users with annual income more than $75K.


From these data, you can infer the following:

  • If you want to reach relatively rich women in their 50s, you also need to establish a presence on Pinterest;
  • You can reach 25 year-olds best if you advertise in Instagram;
  • Facebook is a relatively safe choice if you plan to sell products to your community.


There is another consideration: 

If your eCommerce niche is relatively narrow and you are present in their communities or groups on a social media site or two, then you can advertise directly to these communities or groups. 


What are your goals?

Well-defined goals make it possible for your future marketing campaigns on a chosen platform or two to be successful. Image source

As almost everyone is on social media, there are diverse ways that you can use it to improve your brand. HootSuite lists a whopping 23 benefits of social media for businesses. They can be summarized into seven major benefits: 

  1. Brand building - increase brand awareness, humanize your brand, establish your brand as a thought leader, and stay top of mind
  2. Growth - increase website traffic, generate leads, boost sales, and partner with influencers
  3. Content creation and distribution - promote content, go viral, and source your content
  4. Communication - reputation management, crisis communication, customer and audience engagement, customer service, and customer support
  5. Gaining insights - monitor conversations that are relevant to your brand, learn more about your customers, gauge sentiment around your brand, keep an eye on the competition, and stay on top of industry news
  6. Advertising - targeted advertising and retargeting
  7. Proving ROI - reporting and analytics


One strength of social media is that you can achieve two or more of the major goals here at the same time using a single marketing campaign! For instance, you can both build brand awareness and generate sales by partnering with influencers.


Summary

All in all, there are three main questions you need to answer when selecting the best social media platforms for your brand:

  1. What is the nature of your brand?
  2. Where is your market?
  3. What are your goals?


The answers to these questions will help you pick the best social media platforms for your organization. The answer may differ from what you expect!

References

Demographics of Social Media Users and Adoption in the United States

Pew Research: Social Media Use in 2021

Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing | Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

13 Top Tips For Choosing The Right Social Media Platform For Your Business

23 Benefits of Social Media for Business

How To Choose The Right Social Media Networks For Your B2B Business

Social Media Marketing How to Choose the Right Social Network for Your Business When I started

Which Social Media Platforms Should You Use for Your Business? | DMI

Article Choosing the Right Social Media Platform for Your Business Check out our 3 step guide


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SECTIONS
  1. Why is it valuable to know the different social media platforms? 
  2. What are some pitfalls to watch out for?
  3. What are the different types of social media platforms?
  4. What is the nature of your brand?
  5. Where is your market?
  6. What are your goals?