With so many different social media platforms out there, it’s hard to know the differences among them and understand which ones are most suitable for your business. From an SEO consultant’s perspective, this article will give an overview of the major social media platforms, so you can choose which ones are best for your business.
Facebook is the single biggest social media platform that exists today. With 1.71 billion active users, it is an essential social media platform for any business. Women make up the majority of users (77%) on Facebook and the platform skews younger with “82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 [using] Facebook, along with 79% of those ages 30 to 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older.”
It’s pretty low-maintenance as far as posting frequency. Studies indicate you can post up to 2x per day before likes and comments begin to drop off dramatically. As a rule of thumb, “Don’t overwhelm your customers with content on Facebook, and be selective about what you’re publishing. In other words, spend more time crafting better Facebook posts, and less time crafting a lot of Facebook posts.”
Twitter is incredibly popular with the younger crowd. So, if you want to reach a younger, college-educated audience it’s a prime place to hangout. As of late Twitter has begun to lean more toward male users. Previously it was a more gender-balanced social network. Pew Research found that, as of August 2013, 25% of men use Twitter, while only 21% of women do.
Brands are increasingly using Twitter to boost engagement in 140 characters or less. From retweeting and interacting with followers to using hashtags to extend post reach, Twitter is a great tool to educate your audience. When posting to Twitter, don’t forget to upload an image. Research has shown that Tweets with photos get 313% more engagement.
Google+ is probably one of the most under-utilized social platforms out there. Unlike other social networks, Google+ has a significant impact on your SEO and search traffic volume. One of the Google+ products, Google My Business is a relevant tool for business owners by helping local businesses get found within Google.
Instagram, acquired by Facebook in 2012, is a powerful platform for creating visual content for your business. It is also the best place to start conversations with your audience.
In fact, “Instagram is recognized as the ‘king’ of engagement for branded content on a social media platform. According to data collected by Forrester, branded content on Instagram generated a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%. That’s 58 times the engagement driven by the same type of content on Facebook or Twitter.” Instagram is also a great platform to reach young adults, given roughly half of internet-using 18-29-year-olds (53%) use Instagram.
Monthly Active Users: 110 million
Monthly Active Users – Mobile: Undisclosed
When visuals and mobile matter most, Pinterest is your go-to social network of choice. Reports suggest four-fifths of Pinterest’s traffic now comes from mobile devices.
Pinterest continues to make the case that it is less a social network and more a search and discovery service (i.e. like Google), but nonetheless the photo sharing platform is used by marketers to ramp up their social profiles. Women dominate Pinterest and the ease of use makes it a fan favorite for users to find recipes, styles and even gift ideas in less than two minutes. Each year Pinterest serves more than 1.5 trillion recommendations via its virtual inboard interface.
Most people wouldn’t associate LinkedIn as a social media platform for businesses, but it’s becoming more and more important as a marketing tool. For business-to-business (B2B) social networking, LinkedIn is a great way to connect with professionals. Meanwhile, the targeting is pretty impressive.
For instance, marketers can leverage their demographic data (filter by Job Function, Seniority, Company Name, Geography, Industry, etc.) and interest-based data (i.e. target members by the LinkedIn Groups they belong to, their field of study, the skills they self identify, etc.). If you’re trying to target specific professional persona’s (i.e. Opinion Leaders, Business Travelers, etc.) LinkedIn offers targeted reach. At a minimum you can use LinkedIn to grow your personal network, share blog posts and increase the reach of your content.
Monthly Active Users: 1 billion
Monthly Active Users – Mobile: Undisclosed
YouTube, owned by Google, is a social media behemoth. With over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours of video on YouTube and generate billions of views. Males dominate YouTube viewership at 62%, with female users at 38%. While only 9% of U.S. small businesses reportedly advertising on YouTube to-date, don’t overlook its potential.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Kai Elisha is an online marketing strategist at mediagurus.org.au, a fast growing online marketing solutions company helping small to large scale businesses evaluate and deploy intelligent strategies. Kai has a master degree in relevant subject with more than 5 years of experience in marketing, public relations, and blogging. Connect with @Kai_Elisha83 on Twitter.
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