Every 1-2 years a brand-new social media platform emerges in the headlines as quickly amassing tens of millions of new daily users. For small and medium sized businesses, what quickly follows that is the question ‘should we be on that too?’.
That’s totally reasonable. Businesses that adopt new technologies and ad platforms quickly tend to grow faster than competitors. But on the other hand, for every ‘Facebook’ that grows and stays large and influential, there are many like Myspace, Friendster or Bebo that disappear into nothing.
So that’s why, with the help of online marketing experts, Oxygen Marketing, we’ll go through some of the largest and most influential social media platforms here and highlight the pros and cons of each depending on your business.
Probably the best known of the bunch, Facebook is a little like the Swiss Army Knife of social media for businesses. By that we mean that most businesses, regardless of their industry or focus can be found on Facebook.
There’s a good reason for that, and it’s purely based on numbers: it has 2.38 billion monthly active users worldwide. That means that there’s a good bet that the majority of any country, state or city are on Facebook.
And that means that your business should be too. It’s very low-impact, and low-cost to give your business a presence on the internet. In fact, some businesses like restaurants and home services don’t bother with a traditional website, skipping instead to just having a Facebook page.
Facebook adds some basic tools like ‘opening hours’, a contact number to call and an embedded map so that anyone searching for that business on the internet can get in touch or find out these basic details if they want them.
There aren’t many cons to Facebook given its low set up time, low cost and broad appeal.
Twitter is a little less broad based, but still suited to some types of businesses. For brands keen to curate a particular brand ‘voice’ short, sharp posts on Twitter are a good way to do it. Also, the immediacy of the interactions on Twitter, and the constantly refreshing feed make it well suited for regular updates about service status and broad-based customer support.
Any business that is news-based such as a sports or business news service is also well-suited to the ‘breaking news’ style of Twitter.
Twitter can be less useful for businesses that require more in-depth communications, or those that are more visual as the ‘core’ of the platform is short (280 character) text-based updates.
Instagram began life as a photo sharing platform, but now short and longer form videos are a well-integrated part of the platform. Any business in the creative / visual / design categories (renovations, art, graphic design) should be on Instagram.
In addition, businesses that do much better with a visual element to help them tell a story or help a customer visualise the product (e.g. real estate, car sales, furniture retailing) can use Instagram effectively. With video content, ‘how-to’ videos are also well suited to Instagram which can work for a diverse range of companies from beauty to household trades.
The cons of Instagram include the fact that the ‘minimum standard’ is quite high in terms of quality since so many brands and creators publish professional-looking photos and videos. This means that an investment of time and money may be required in order to show your business off in the best light.