With so many social media channels out there, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for your business. But there’s no doubt that social media is a powerful marketing tool and if you get your strategy right and understand your audience, the results can be amazing.
But how do you know which social media platforms will work for your brand? Let’s look at some of the biggest and most popular ones out there to help you decide on the best ones for your business.
As one of the biggest social media networks, Facebook has nearly 3 billion users (as of July 2022) according to Datareportal – although there has been a decline in recent years in the aftermath of scandals and privacy issues.
However, as a marketing channel, Facebook still has a huge reach. The biggest Facebook users out there are India, America, and Indonesia with 43% being female and 57% male. Facebook is also used by a range of age groups, particularly from 18 to 44 years of age. For your business, this means you have the potential to engage a broad audience through both organic and paid advertising.
There’s also now a focus on ecommerce on the platform with Facebook Shops (which is also available on Instagram and WhatsApp). The metaverse is also carving out opportunities for brands with their eyes on an immersive experience like Gucci or Nike.
For smaller or medium-sized companies, it’s the connections with customers that Facebook enables that are important. It helps to build brand awareness, boost engagement, drive conversions and use its ad platform to target the right people at the right time.
As a short video and photo-sharing social media channel, Instagram has gone from strength to strength (despite the arrival of the meteoric star, TikTok).
According to The Business of Apps, Instagram was responsible for 44% of Meta’s revenue in 2021 and is expected to surpass Facebook as Meta’s main revenue source in 2024. In 2021, Instagram made nearly $47 billion in revenue, not bad for a network that is only 12 years old!
So who uses Instagram? Unlike a lot of social platforms that skew towards men, Instagram has a 50/50 split between the genders and is popular amongst those aged between 18 and 34. So it’s a great platform if you need to target Gen Z.
Here are a few features that could make Instagram a great fit for your brand:
- Influencers – Instagram is known for its influencers and the right one can make a great impact on your business if it’s aligned
- Instagram Stories – As the name suggests, Stories are used to tell a story, one that only lasts 24 hours. This feature is great for product launches, reveals or limited-time promotions.
- Filters – While there is a trend toward a more ‘natural’ look in recent months, Instagram’s filters are loved by its users to make posts stand out. It’s great for establishing a brand image and style.
- Instagram Live – This allows brands to drive hype around a campaign using live video that allows users to ask questions and engage with your brand.
- Reels – Reels are in video format and enable you to create fun and quirky 15-second multi-clip videos. These can drive engagement and set the tone for your IG feed. You can also add a caption sticker.
- Story Links – Now available to every business on Instagram, these links allow you to use a sticker to direct users to your website, product pages, blog posts, etc. to drive traffic.
As a social media channel, Twitter is underused by businesses. But it can pack some punch if you’re a business that wants to piggyback on trends or is good at engaging in real-time conversations. It’s also a great social customer service tool due to its quick-fire nature.
What makes Twitter useful for businesses is the hashtag feature that allows topics and brands easily. These can also be used to comment on a social issue or provide solutions to an issue. With 206 million daily users Twitter is a network to look at for community building and discovering more about your customers.
Organic posts on Twitter are simple, stick to 280 characters, choose a format (tweet, video, image, or poll), select a relevant hashtag and that’s it! People can like, comment, reply or share and if you’ve done your job properly it will get some traction in the Twittersphere. It can be a great place to promote events or blogs to drive traffic to your site or landing page.
For paid marketing, there are several options:
- Promoted ads – Promote images, videos, carousels, moments or text ads
- Follower ads – Use content to increase visibility and prompt people to follow you
- Twitter amplify – align your content with videos from relevant publishers
- Twitter takeover – your brand can take over timelines or trends
- Twitter Live – a livestream video function for brand awareness
LinkedIn is pretty special in the social media world as it is tailored to a professional, career-minded audience. A great tool for B2B marketing, LinkedIn tends to use a different tone and messaging style than other platforms.
For this reason, it’s great for anything related to your company such as announcements, new hires, and job opportunities. It’s also great for building connections in the professional community, building an employer brand, and promoting your business as an industry leader.
For marketers, it’s a great place to engage with brands or prospects based on who they work for. For example, a B2B business can use it to target CFOs to promote a new software in a way that will appeal to just that market i.e. speak their language.
With 850 million users, LinkedIn spans 200 countries and has over 85 million companies listed. You can share posts organically and use @ to tag people or companies. From a paid perspective you can create targeted and personalized sponsored content (see example below), message ads, dynamic ads, and text ads.
A relative newbie in social media terms, TikTok has seen rapid growth since its foundation in 2016, particularly amongst younger users with a section specifically for those under 13 years of age.
With 1 billion active users it has cemented its place as a player in the social media sector not only as a place to post funny and impactful videos but also as a marketing platform.
Luckily, the advertising platform is set up like Twitter or Facebook so you just need to choose a goal, select your audience, choose a budget and design your ad to get a campaign up and running. It also allows targeting features so you can narrow down your audience to reach the right people.
From an organic perspective, TikTok is invaluable to a brand looking to connect with a young audience. It is also a great place for creators and influencers to partner with – on a large and small scale – to expand your reach and drive engagement.
Fashion brand Ralph Lauren partnered with TikTok influencer Diana Silver to tie in with the US Open Tennis Championship. That event uses the extremely popular hashtag, #USOpen, which now has nearly 8 Million views.
In 2022, the channel quietly launched the Pinterest TV studio app for live streaming. This will allow a selection of creators to stream live videos to users. It has also launched ‘Idea Pins’, a combination of TikTok-style short-form video content and tappable Instagram Stories.
The type of businesses that do well on Pinterest are those with a visual focus as the channel offers a catalog-style format with a focus on visual search and ecommerce. Fashion, food and drinks, beauty products, DIY or home decor, travel or jewelry are just a few examples.
Have a look at Airbnb’s Pinterest board for an example of it done right using a mixture of images and text-based posts all about travel!
According to Pew Research, 81% of U.S. adults say they use YouTube in 2021, up from just 8% in 2019. This means that YouTube overtook Facebook in terms of social media use in 2021, no mean feat.
With over 2 billion daily users it’s a social media channel that provides opportunities for every industry and every sector. With such a range of content from tutorials to recipes to interviews and even trading Pokemon cards, it’s a marketers’ playground if they invest in video content.
With so much scope it can be hard to narrow down what will work for your business. For example, would a tutorial promote your service or business or a product or box reveal? Is it customer testimonials that could drive traffic or a well-crafted video showing your impact on the community or environment?
From an organic perspective, you can upload anything to YouTube (within guidelines of course). The best way to get your video found and grow your YouTube channel is to research keywords, include titles, links and captions, and cross-promote. It’s best to focus on topics that are relevant to your business and be consistent with posting.
Paid advertising on YouTube is pretty straightforward. You run promoted ads through Google ads and setting them up is made easy with creation tools and even pre-made templates. There’s also an audio library to choose from to accompany your ad.
Instant messaging service WhatsApp has 2 billion active users with 100 billion messages sent every day. That equates to a lot of people being active on a social media channel every day and makes it the third most popular social media network after Facebook and YouTube!
Meta or Facebook saw the app’s potential early on by acquiring it in 2014 and has made plans to monetize the platform ever since. So how can marketers and brands use WhatsApp?
Now integrated with Facebook and Instagram, the network can facilitate one-to-one conversations with customers (as long as this has been permitted). This could be for customer service reasons e.g. helping with a repair or questions about a service.
While advertising options are limited for the moment you can add a ‘Send Message’ CTA on Facebook or Instagram that will open a conversation with a brand or service.
You can also add QR codes or short links using the WhatsApp Business app which you can use to display on your storefront, product or receipts.
Become a skilled social media marketer
There’s a lot to understand to harness the power of social media platforms for a business. To help you get the most up-to-date and relevant know-how, AMA teamed up with the Digital Marketing Institute to expand our Professional Certified Marketer program by including DMI’s Professional Certificate in Digital Marketing. In this course, you will cover social media marketing, content marketing, email, SEO, PPC, analytics, and much more. Reserve your place today!