When I first started using social media for marketing it was back in 2009 and I went on a little course about how to set up a Twitter account. It was super futuristic as the video was live and online!
I won't lie, it seems like a golden age (showing my age?) when everyone was friendly, it was very community minded and I built up a lovely audience of interested folks.
Then I added in Facebook as they invented something called 'business pages' which I loved a little less but got it. Again, it was lovely and simple - you simply built an audience by posting regularly and sending folks to your website. Quaint!
But boy, oh boy has the world changed now. Not only are there umpteen more platforms but how they function has also become much more complex and even grumpy.
With my life approach that less is usually, very much more, I think it's ok to drop a few platforms or at least pour your love into one or two rather than driving yourself insane (& denting your confidence in the process) with all of them.
So I thought it would be useful to do a little overview of each platform and what it's all about today to help you work out if you are, in fact, at the right party in the first place? Perhaps you're tired of fitting in or feeling so awkward because you're not with your people enjoying the mood you love.
The purpose of the How To today? To give you the confidence to stride out and do social media your way and in a better way.
Facebook - yes still the world's no.1 platform with nearly 3 billion monthly active users. With frankly addictive features like stories, the 'like' button and our 'nosey' human nature, Facebook offers a lot in terms of marketing. From live videos to free functionalities like groups, stories and additional functions on your own business page, Facebook continues to be an easy to use, popular place to be. Reasons to use: Still popular with wide range of population. Lots of free tools & functions to keep your audience engaged (groups, stories, promotions, messenger marketing etc). Video is super popular here. Reasons to avoid: If your audience doesn't love Facebook (age, generation or anti Meta people). If your brand values don't align with lots of ads or the Meta approach. If it comes at the bottom of a list of potential platforms for your business.
Instagram - Still the 'go to' platform for photos and story sharing and hugely popular with a wide ranging audience profile. Regularly used by individuals and brands alike, Instagram has maintained a 'cool' feel and is the place to head to for inspiration, stories and latest trends and ideas. Remember that Instagram is not about 'sell sell' but story telling through photos and videos. Make your images top quality and as 'real' as possible. It's a fast paced platform with ever changing trends so you do need to stay alert! Reasons to use: Using the business account, lots of insights, post options and the chance to collaborate with influencers or fellow owners. The advent of Reels has been a game changer for many brands & offers you a free way to shine. Reasons to avoid: If your business is very B2B and you're only wanting to engage with other professionals. If your audience doesn't hang out there. If you're not sure how to share your service business & it's the bottom of your list. You hate staying ahead of trends.
Twitter - My first love but a tricky reputation now and a place that many have moved away from in the small biz world. However it's still a powerful place of discussion, news sharing and journalists. Businesses can still gain real traction by sharing their updates here. Still a relatively simple platform, you can broadcast live, use hashtags to stay in the right conversations & still build genuine communities around your brand. Reasons to use: You're looking to build communities of like minded folks, stakeholders or networks. You're wanting to 'meet' journalists and build reputation. You have a campaigning message in your business or looking to build a 'movement' within your brand. Reasons to avoid: Your people just don't hang out there. You're more focussed on creative space like Insta. Twitter overwhelms you or at the bottom of your wish list. You're trying to avoid all news and politics.
YouTube - Well yes! Despite what you might think, Youtube is still a huge and the 2nd most visited website in the world. Videos are still an easy to digest format for many who love to learn or be entertained. It's still relatively easy to use and is a great way to build engagement by sharing in a human way, sharing how to do stuff or offering private workshops etc. Reasons to use: You want to teach, share, inspire or campaign online with your brand. You want your content to be long lasting. Your message is more easily digested through video over text. You want to be a 'leader' in your field. Reasons to avoid: you don't want to be on video. Youtube is at the bottom of your list. You don't have anything additional to say.
LinkedIn - Still the world's largest professional network, LinkedIn has moved on from being a job seeking platform to one which has multiple additional features as a social media platform. With impressive click though rates to websites, LinkedIn is a place for professionals, experts & freelancers to network, share ideas and gain knowledge. Even more creative businesses are finding ways to use LinkedIn to find sponsors, collaborators and stakeholders. Reasons to use: You want to build professional reputation & find others to work with or learn from. You want to share your brand in a pro way using the brand pages function. You want to establish yourself as a thought leader in your sector. Reasons to avoid: It comes bottom of your social choices. You don't want to be seen as 'the person' behind your brand. You don't want to network with other experts.
Pinterest - Among its fans, Pinterest is Google! Although with a smaller audience, they are loyal and it's a place for inspiration, learning & lifestyle ideas. With brilliant search capabilities, Pinterest has many functions and tools to use for free to show off what you do. Video is increasingly popular too. Click through rates are high as people can add your 'pins' to their own 'boards' & follow your brand. Reasons to use: The brilliant search functions makes it easier to be found & content stays visible for a long time. Click through rates are high. You can share tips, ideas, blog, recipes, creative inspiration & much more using a variety of pin types. Reasons to avoid: Pinterest requires strategy and planning so not great if you're overstretched or time short. Your audience aren't there or Pinterest is at the bottom of your list.
Whatsapp - Yes really. WhatsApp is part of so many of our lives in a personal way and the no.1 messaging app in over 100 countries and what are working hard to create more 'business friendly' features to allow business to engage 121. WhatsApp Business app also has additional features including list of available products and services & ways to send out important notifications. Reasons to use: WhatsApp could offer the ideal way to stay in touch with customers easily and might work well for product based businesses. Your business may be an early adopter if direct comms is what you need. Reasons to avoid: You don't have the capacity to learn a new platform or it's at the bottom of your list. You feel your customers won't like the direct approach in this way.
TikTok - It may surprise you that TikTok may still be considered a new platform (launched in 2017) but it is growing fast and beyond its original younger audience. Still more popular than LinkedIn or Twitter, it's the 'destination for the short form video'. It's now a platform for education & inspiration as well as dance crazes and challenges. Reasons to use: Your audience is at the younger end of the scale & you already love using short form videos as Reels on Insta. You want to inspire or educate your audience. Your brand has a clear identity & you're happy to be seen on video too. Reasons to avoid: You feel overloaded by social media already. You don't want to be 'seen' online. Your audience is older and more conservative. You haven't got the skills to learn a new video editing style.