Choosing the right social media platform

There are so many prominent social media networks today – how do you know which ones make the most sense for you and your brand?

One of the biggest mistakes people make on social media is stretching themselves too thin across multiple platforms. It’s better to be active and engaging in one social media channel than to have four or five stagnant accounts.

Here’s a pros and cons break down of the top platforms.

Facebook

Consumers are so familiar with Facebook they expect the brands they interact with to have a presence there. But that doesn’t mean Facebook is for everyone.

What’s to love:
Facebook is the largest and most active social network in existence. No other platform can compete with its enormous and diverse audience. Many marketers also look to take advantage of the paid advertising, which can be adjusted to suit your budget and reach your target demographic.

Where it goes wrong:
Facebook has faced significant backlash – especially from its small business customers – for switching to a “pay-to-play” model, which requires brands to pay in order to reach more than 15 to 20 percent of their fan base with a post. Also, the platform tends to cater more to B2C brands – it’s not the most popular for B2B.

Twitter


What’s to love:
Twitter offers a brilliant way of breaking news. The platform is known to close the communication gap between everyday users, industry thought leaders, top CEOs, and even celebrities.

There’s a lot to be said in 140 characters. Twitter is an excellent platform for engaging with like-minded individuals, and creating conversation that leads to conversion. There is huge opportunity to share your message without paying a cent.

Where it goes wrong:
The shelf life of a tweet is quite short – and it can be challenging to get your tweets noticed by followers with a busy newsfeed. For the same reason, it can be difficult to sift through the floodgates in your own feed. Unfortunately, the platform is also swarming with spambots (that said, they still boost your follower count).

LinkedIn

It’s like a virtual resume shared for the world to see.

What’s to love:
LinkedIn is well known as the largest professional network, making it an obvious choice for B2B brands. It’s a great way to keep up-to-date with colleagues, clients and even competitors. LinkedIn groups also present the opportunity to connect and engage with others in your industry. Recently, LinkedIn opened its blogging platform to all members, a move that really sets it apart from other channels.

Where it goes wrong:
Presentation. The site looks like it was built by your Dad. And the news feed can grow incredibly stale, displaying week-old posts. LinkedIn also removed its activity feed, which used to sit below the contact info on a person’s profile, meaning you have no way of viewing a connection’s recent posts unless they show up in your homepage feed.

Google Plus

If nothing else, the fact Google+ is an all-star player on Google’s team makes it a tempting channel for SEO purposes.

What’s to love:
Google+ is supported by the world’s most powerful search engine. Your posts are given a PageRank that’s competitive with the ranking of websites, meaning your Google+ content can actually show up in search results where your website does not.

Where it goes wrong:
Though Google+ claims to have over 540 million monthly active users, many question the accuracy of these numbers, suggesting almost half do not actually visit the site. The platform has also recently been called a ghost town due to its slow B2C growth.

Instagram

Instagram currently tallies over 150 million users, of which more than 90 percent are under the age of 35.

What’s to love:
More than half of the world’s top 100 brands are on Instagram. The photo-based network is great for showing off products, promoting your culture, and showcasing your customers and service. It’s also popular for running contests.

Where it goes wrong:
Instagram is not yet designed to drive web traffic. You can’t include links in individual posts. The platform does not have built-in insights, making it difficult to track analytics and measure results.

What platform is your favourite? Let us know why in the comments below.

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