There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right social media platform to use for your inbound marketing efforts. To help you decide which channels are the best fit for your social strategy, let’s walk through the basics and benefits of each of them.
Facebook has faced controversy in recent years with its stance on political advertisements, on privacy, and the way its algorithm dictates what its users see. Additionally, Facebook has shifted to show users content that is more specific to family and friends, deprioritizing memes, brand posts, and many news outlets. As a result, engagement rates across Facebook have dramatically declined. Organic traffic and engagement on brand posts aren’t what they used to be, but that doesn’t mean the platform isn’t worth using. Millions of companies still use Facebook Business Pages to share organic news, events and talk to customers.
There are two other reasons to care about Facebook–their advertising tools are some of the best to target your ideal buyer, and their groups are an excellent way to build a captive audience, which in many ways may prove more fruitful than other ways of reaching your customers. This means Facebook may still be one of the most important platforms for your social media strategy.
There are two types of Facebook pages: a personal page and a business page.
You might have heard organic reach is better on a personal page, which is true, but there are several reasons you should use a Facebook business page for your company instead. First off, Facebook requires businesses to use business pages and can shut down pages that do not comply with their policy. Personal pages have a 5,000-person friend limit, whereas business pages can have millions of followers. Having a business page also gives you access to analytics, called Insights; the ability to correctly categorize your company for search; add a mission statement; a product catalog; awards; and give your customers the chance to give reviews.
But the most important reason for you to have a Facebook Business page is for advertising. Facebook advertising allows you to hyper-target the audiences you care most about, including your own prospect lists so you can directly deliver content of value. You can also use Facebook Advertising across their other services — Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Adding a Facebook pixel on your website even helps you retarget those visitors with ads on Facebook.
On Facebook, you can publish a variety of content including text and photo posts, carousel photo posts, and video posts. You can even do live Facebook videos and share “Stories,” microcontent designed to disappear after 24 hours, similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
And finally, of Facebook’s nearly two and a half billion users, 400 million belong to a Facebook Group. Facebook groups help you build community, delight your audience, and help you reach fans that you wouldn’t normally be able to reach with organic posts. Facebook is putting more emphasis on Groups these days, and savvy businesses that are using them are finding that engagement is higher than other parts of Facebook.
With over 2 billion users, YouTube is the second largest social network and, interestingly enough, it’s also the second largest search engine in the world — behind Google, of course. Google reports that 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms to live TV, which means, in many ways, you have the potential to reach an even bigger audience for a more affordable cost than on television.
On mobile, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds in the US than any cable network. This is important, because television is a very different thing today than it was even a couple years ago. In fact, by 2025, half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a pay-TV service.
It’s owned by Facebook, but the audiences and purposes are a bit different. With 1 billion people using Instagram every month, it’s the third largest social media platform and the fastest growing. Instagram is a photo and video based social network, and users follow individuals and brands to be delighted by interesting visuals. While the primary functionality is sharing photos and videos, the most popular feature is Instagram Stories. Like the Snapchat platform, Instagram Stories enable the sharing of quick, “instant” photos and videos, often with fun filters and visual features. Stories disappear after twenty-four hours for viewers but remain stored in an archive for you to see or repost again.
You’ll want to convert a personal Instagram account to an Instagram business profile to include a phone number and address in your bio and enable the “shop” button. And to do that, you’re required to have a Facebook Business page, which you will also need to take advantage of advertising on this channel.
Instagram is important because it can gave very deep engagement, especially for brands. Over 90% of users follow at least one brand account. Instagram images get an average of 23% more engagement than their Facebook counterparts. That means advertising on Instagram is going to be even more successful for your business.
Twitter is the ultimate by-the-minute news network. It’s a place where you can see what’s happening in that very moment around the world, whether it’s someone feeling an earthquake in China or watching a football game in Boston. Users share messages of up to 280 characters, called “tweets,” which can include photos, videos, links, and animated .gifs.
Twitter is a fantastic place for you to discover what’s trending with your industry, customers, employees, partners, and prospects. You should be sharing content more frequently here than in other platforms.
There are several forms of advertising on Twitter, including ads in the news stream, with trending topics, promoted profiles, and a lot more. But one of the best uses of Twitter is the organic networking you can do directly with your audience, engaging in conversation that helps build loyalty and trust.
If you aren’t familiar with Pinterest, it’s essentially a series of shared, often thematic bulletin boards where users can “pin” images, video, and links that resonate with them. What is unique to Pinterest is the average life of a pin is over three months, whereas on Twitter, a post’s life is a matter of minutes and on Facebook, maybe an hour. Pinterest pins build SEO with referral traffic — referral traffic that can directly turn into leads and sales.
TikTok is a fast-paced app. The second you log in, you see a video at the top of a feed that’s algorithmically curated around your interests. If you enjoy the video you’re watching, you can follow, comment, and like the content directly from the video post. And brands are starting to get into the mix with advertising and organic posts. TikTok now offers five advertising tiers aimed at big brands but if you have amazing content, there is still a lot of organic potential to gain from the platform.
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