So we all have our favourite social media platforms and as a social media consultant, I have fallen in and out of love with all of them over the last years. Although not sure I have ever loved Snapchat! But as a small business owner, how can you know the best platform for your business if you don’t use all of them?
It’s important to understand that the social media platform you like best for your personal use may not be the right one for your marketing effort for your small business.
In this blog, I would like to introduce you to the main platforms and give you some insights about them so you can see if they are right for your business.
Time to reveal the best social media platforms for your business
Facebook was founded in 2004 and is currently the largest platform with more than 1.7 billion active users. Originally called The Face Book and set up by Mark Zuckerberg and some Harvard friends as a university directory.
Now it has over 35 million users in the UK and the largest age demographic is the 55+ group accounting for 25% of the user base. 51% of active users are female and 54% of users access Facebook on their mobile only. Active users are pretty engaged, spending over 20 minutes each day on it. Video is very important on Facebook with 500m users watching a video every day. Facebook Messenger is bigger than WhatsApp, email and texting for communicating with friends and family.
Facebook has recently announced major changes to their newsfeed to try and increase engagement and improve the user experience. For businesses, this means Page posts are likely to be seen by no more than 1-1.5% of your followers and businesses really need to advertise to boost their reach, as organic growth is now harder than ever. Find out more about what you can do to improve your Facebook marketing here
User growth has dropped for the first time ever recently and Facebook will be working harder than ever to prevent a further loss of users, which may affect business Pages further. Facebook can be a bit of a slog for some businesses especially now as we are experiencing a drop in organic reach and having to spend money to reach customers. More time is needed to make posts more engaging for customers or make videos to stand out and more budget is needed to boost a declining organic growth.
Advertising on Facebook is pretty cost-effective and targeting is very detailed, meaning it is relatively cheap and easy to run a successful ad campaign. Growing Facebook presence is hard, especially when starting out and the constant changes make it difficult to keep up. Facebook Local looks like an interesting platform for small businesses and why not try some Facebook Lives too, if relevant to your business. Despite it being the first platform I used for personal use, it has been the hardest one for me to use for my business. But the ad platform does make it a ‘must have’ on my schedule. Find me on Facebook on @socialwize
Twitter was launched in 2006 and is a publically held company with 1.3 billion registered users. However, only 300 million of these are active users but sending out about 303 million tweets a day! 37% of active users post every day and 40% of them turn to Twitter for breaking news.
Twitter has recently increased the number of characters from 140 to 280 allowed in a single tweet which makes it easier to get your marketing message out to the audience. Twitter was the first platform to use hashtags in 2007 to spread the word about San Diego forest fires and hashtags have since been used to categorise messages. Despite starting off as a very text-based platform, it is now very image-based and photos, gifs and video are widely used.
Age demographics are evenly spread with Twitter being popular with all age groups. Twitter users are also 51% female to 49% male which surprised me. 80% of users are active on their mobiles and 71% are active several times a day. I find Twitter a great platform for engaging with businesses, customers and influencers. It is useful for social listening and customer service if monitored regularly. If you haven’t tried it for your business, give it a go! You can find me on Twitter on @socialwizeuk
Instagram seems to be lots of people’s new favourite at the moment with businesses seeing fast growth in followers. Engagement is often high from its 400 million active users. It launched in 2010 as a mobile social network and was bought by Facebook in 2012. It was popular with teens and millennials at the beginning and in the era of the ‘selfie’ but now has active users in all age demographics. It has 14 million active UK users and over 50% of users are under 34. 49% of users use it every day and 51% of users are male.
Stories were launched as a direct response to Snapchat and Instagram is popular for its filters for images. It is a visual platform and creating original content is key, with reposted content being less popular than on other networks. This makes this platform more labour-intensive to manage. You can advertise on Instagram through the Facebook ad platform and increasingly businesses are using this platform for their marketing. I am currently really enjoying Instagram for my business as engagement is high but it takes me a long time to post on it due to the quality of content required and the hashtag research time. I do love Stories as they are like out-takes of the main feed and more relaxed. I post as @socialwize on Instagram
Snapchat is one of the newer platforms, launching as a mobile platform in 2011 with an IPO in 2017. It has 150 million users and is popular with teens and millennials for its customised filters for images. 71% of its user base is under 34 so great for targetting a younger audience although finding the right tone of voice for your brand and this audience is key here to successful marketing. 70% of its users are female too. 54% use it every day for over 30 minutes a day. Some major brands have run successful campaigns on Snapchat but need to ensure their message is appropriate. I use Snapchat with my children but not for my business as my target audience isn’t on there but if yours is – jump in.
LinkedIn is one of the older platforms launching in 2002 and being bought recently by Microsoft. It is a business community for networking and recruiting. It has over 400m users and is popular with people over 24 and at working age. The user base is 56% male and people use it for getting jobs, networking, educating others on business matters, and promoting themselves on a business platform. 58% access it on mobile only now but the average user accesses it for only 17 minutes a month! I love sharing insights on my personal LinkedIn page as well as my Company Page. To view my professional pages, see Susie Smith
Pinterest launched in 2010 and now has 176m users (10m in the UK) and is a catalogue of images and how-to guides but also a great e-commerce platform. Users are mainly 24-35 and over 55 with a whopping 85% of them female. 47% of them use it weekly and use it for education, inspiration and shopping. The ultimate online shopping directory with buyable pins and the average order value of sales from Pinterest being $50. One I like to have some me-time on when researching ideas and would love to use as a business more soon.
YouTube launched in 2005 and has over 1 billion users sharing videos and building brand communities. Bought by Google in 2006 and now has 18m UK users watching online video every day. 56% of users under 34 and 51% male to 49% female. A huge platform and very popular with brands. Growing in size and replacing TV viewing for many turning to it for video, gaming and entertainment.
Other platforms to check out are Vero – the newest kid on the block launching this year – I like it a lot – no ads and a genuine timeline.
I am choosing not to cover G+, Reddit, Tumblr, Foursquare and Swarm as I don’t use them regularly and unless have the time, you are less unlikely to enormously benefit from trying them as a small business.
If you need more help choosing the right platform for your business or want an audit of your current platform, find me on www.socialwize.co.uk
Social Media Consultant // socialwize