You can’t talk about digital marketing without social media. After deciding to take your business online, you’re going to need a communication platform. Each social media service has things it does well, and other features that limit its effective use. Social media services also cater to different demographics. So which service should your business use?
Facebook is the big one; it has the most users of any social media service, and almost every demographic (though its biggest is middle-aged women). When people search for your business online, they’re almost as likely to use Facebook as Google. Facebook offers different types of pages for businesses, message communications, and an option to pay to “boost” your posts. It may take a while to build an audience on Facebook, but it’s almost an essential for many businesses today.
Pros: wide reach, easy to use, built-in message system
Cons: limited use with younger demographics, businesses that pay are more visible
Twitter is a unique platform; it’s ideal for connecting producers and consumers, and allows for easy communication between you and your clients. Like Facebook, it hosts a huge number of users. Twitter can be difficult for some to learn, what with hashtag and ‘@’ usage rules, but it has its advantages. It’s best for short messages and responses to other users, what with its 140-character limit. If your social media style is constant, short updates, Twitter may be your best bet.
Pros: wide reach, easy client communication, great for short updates
Cons: more difficult user interface, character limits
Pinterest goes hand-in-hand with backdoor marketing. It’s not as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but it’s useful for getting people in the mood to buy what you’re selling. For example, a company that offers guided hiking tours may share on their Pinterest links to buy interesting hiking sticks (that people could then use on the company’s hikes). It may not be the most effective platform for immediate results, but it works. Just keep in mind that Pinterest is a largely female market.
Pros: backdoor marketing tool, promotes impulse buys, creates a company aesthetic
Cons: limited effectiveness
Instagram isn’t for everyone; it’s a mostly visual platform, and if that suits your company, great! Pictures are easy enough to post quickly and with regularity, so Instagram is a platform that can be used with very little in the way of time commitment. It’s host to a young audience, usually in the fifteen to mid-thirties range, but has limited reach.
Pros: easy to use, highly visual, low time commitment
Cons: poor communication aspect
Tumblr is, to be sure, a particular audience. It’s still one of the most popular platforms out there, but doesn’t have the location-oriented spheres that other platforms have, so it’s not ideal for local businesses. It’s a good way to start a company blog for free, but has a slightly more difficult interface. Depending on whether you’re writing articles or sharing other users’ posts, time consumption using Tumblr can vary. Its users are primarily between fourteen and early thirties, very much on the younger side.
Pros: excellent as a free blogging platform
Cons: limited reach, harder interface, not ideal for local businesses
Snapchat is rarely used as a business tool by anyone outside the teen journalism game, but it has its uses. For one, it’s widely used by the preteen to mid-twenties demographic, optimized for a younger audience than most social media platforms. It’s easy to use and is incredibly low time-commitment, but it has one major weakness: its impermanence. Snapchat’s specialty is wiping anything you post within 24 hours, making it largely ineffective for creating a company image.
Pros: easy to use, low time commitment
Cons: limited reach, posts are impermanent