Choosing which social media platforms are best for your business is usually the first step in creating successful campaigns. Instead of listing why each of the 7 biggest social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Blogging) should be used for different types of businesses and for particular campaigns, I thought I'd work in reverse and cut straight to the chase. Below are a list of common business objectives with my recommendations for which platforms best suit those objectives.
Along with cash flow, this is typically the most important factor to small business owners. If social media marketing won't provide a return on investment, either directly or indirectly, then its not seen a profitable activity. Separating this objective into two business types: B2B and B2C, its easy to notice that each requires a different social media model altogether.
For B2B companies, LinkedIn is the standout social media platform of choice. The main justification lies with the makeup of the platform audience, being populated solely with professionals. You can market directly to decision makers on LinkedIn and connections typically use the platform for businesses purposes. Catching potential leads in the right frame of mind to consider business opportunities can regularly be achieved.
For B2C companies, Facebook is typically the most favored social media platform, mainly due to the amount of users it boasts (over 1 billion). Consumers who would consider buying your product or service need to be made aware it exists, and then nurtured before conversion.
If social media campaigns would increase business productivity, then its an easy sell for businesses to get active in the online social atmosphere. An example is with publishing companies - they create content for a living so being active on platforms where their clients already exist is wise. Social media provides them various channels to demonstrate the quality of their services directly to their audiences.
The optimal social media platform for this business objective varies between each type of business. If productivity is a priority objective, then I would consider having a more comprehensive social presence and diversify across numerous platforms. Blogging provides a rounded platform to create and share content, which can also fulfill similar business activities at the same time.
The typical social media platforms chosen by businesses with a focus on customer service is Twitter and Facebook. This is largely due to:
- the openness of the social media platforms - you don't need to connect with people to get involved in conversations
- the instantaneous nature of messages
- the customer purpose of being on the social media platform - their there to talk
- the scope and reach
Customer engagement can be achieved by monitoring your Twitter and Facebook profiles, keywords related to your brand, and the platform as a whole.
With the numbers social media platforms boast, the success of growing a business can be realised reasonably quickly. Just look at some of the best viral videos for example...
Increasing brand awareness generally applies to the amount of eye-balls on your brand and how your brand is perceived. If it is recognised in a positive manner, people will talk about it and word will spread. The chosen social media platforms for growth would be a hybrid of any of the big 7, depending on your product or service. My favourite social media platform to achieve short-medium term growth is YouTube. The nature of audience behavior means watching a 5 minute video is favored over reading a 5 minute article. Video also has more weight than text in search rankings.
If a key business objective is to keep a close eye on competitors, then LinkedIn is typically the most useful social media platform. Monitoring LinkedIn company pages, employee activity, company groups, content distribution and business developments will provide good data to analyse and draw conclusions from.
Although this objective is commonly thrown around as a key business objective, most businesses will take a rise in profits over an increase in awareness for their cause.
To provide an example, if a waste business believes strongly about using renewable energy processes to deliver its services, then showcasing this core value within social media can bring attention to their green competencies. It might be more attractive to have a well received response in how you are conducting business, rather than attracting additional business. It might also mean that investment now in building a 'green' brand could ensure long-term sustainability.
The best social media platform for demonstrating your core values would typically be Facebook. Varying content from text, images, video, questions, polls and events allows a clear and distinct approach to your content marketing.
Social media platforms - further reading
Choosing which social media platforms would be best for your business should be dependent on what you're trying to achieve. Hopefully, this has made you think a little deeper into the purpose of different social media platforms and how each one can help fulfill different business objectives. Here are a few related articles to help you decide which social media platforms are best for your business.
- Business objectives, planning and stakeholders
- 5 solid tips for making sure your social media and business objectives meet
- Using social media to support business objectives