This question could be applied to A LOT of things, but in this blog post, we’re talking specifically about social media platforms and whether your business needs to be visible on all of them.
There is an element of FOMO when it comes to businesses and social media. We heard last week that tiktok has overtaken youtube surpassing youtube’s average watch time, which is pretty mega news in the industry! But does that mean your business should be signing up to tiktok and getting stuck in? Well… not necessarily.
When creating your social media plan, one of the first steps is to determine which platforms you want to include in your strategy. The big contenders, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Youtube, Tik Tok and LinkedIn all bring with them their own pros and cons – but not all of them are going to be relevant or suitable for what you bring to the table as a business. Not only do you need to think about your product or service, and how it’s going to work on each social media network, but you also need to take into account the amount of time you have available to tend to each platform. Some require a lot more attention than others.
Let’s go through them one by one…
I’d say that Facebook has lost its shine, particularly among the younger generation. To be quite frank, when the boomer generation moved in on Facebook and began sending friend requests to their kids and sharing embarrassing photos, memes and anecdotes, millennials and Gen Z headed over to Instagram pretty sharpish. With the ability to have Facebook messenger activated but without the need of having a physical Facebook profile – it’s certainly meant that Facebook has seen a shift in its demographics over the last few years.
Facebook may have been dethroned in terms of being king of social media platforms, but let’s not forget that Instagram is Facebook-owned, so it’s safe to say they saw the change coming and responded to it in a timely and strategic manner. As with anything, the ‘next-big-thing’ is only around the corner.
Facebook then, in terms of having a business account, is great for targeting specific age ranges, people with specific jobs or working in a particular industry and location. This makes it a hugely beneficial way to market and advertise your products or services, ensuring they reach the right people (at the right time!)
When considering whether your business needs a place on Facebook, you will need to determine what your target audience looks like. Are they on Facebook? If so, great. If not, it’s probably a waste of time.
The other thing to consider is the content format that the social media network has available. Facebook requires copy, imagery, videos and infographics – to avoid the feed becoming dull or monotonous. It needs carefully curated hashtags and it needs a well-designed header, profile picture and copious amount of information to keep the profile up to date. Let’s face it, if you don’t have the time to keep it up to date, you shouldn’t be on it. An out of date profile is worse than not having one at all.
Still, a popular network among millennials and gen z, Instagram has shifted its focus from the ‘grid’ and now it’s all about the stories, reels and live video options. Whilst the trick is to have a grid aesthetic that draws people in, the real work takes place elsewhere.
Instagram can benefit your business in many ways – if you have visual and engaging content matched with brilliant graphic design skills and a creative vision. The best Instagram accounts not only look good, but they are clever too. Take the supermarket chain, Aldi, as an example, their grid is a seamless blend of images that follow from square to square without a break and yet they manage to get the different occasions and themes across through brilliant imagery, well-chosen colour palettes and well-placed props. This style of grid entices the audience to return time and time again just to take a look at what’s new.
In the story and reels area of Instagram, you’ll find the place where brands can really engage with their audience and sell their products/services. Let’s stick with Aldi as an example and dive into their strategy. They use this area of Instagram to share posts from their followers who tag them in pictures of their products and they curate attractive videos showing off their produce in the form of recipe ideas. The screenshots here show their approach to Veganuary, showcasing their vegan range. It’s informative, has people wanting to give it a go and therefore buying the products. Clever.
When considering whether your business needs a place on Instagram, you will need to determine whether your target audience is on the platform. If they are, you need to look at what other Instagram accounts are offering in a similar space to you. Why? Because you want your approach to be unique and relevant, there’s no point in copycatting, it won’t win you any followers. Instagram users are looking for innovative and eye-catching content.
Next, you’ll need to strategically plan out your content. Your grid needs a clean and bold aesthetic. You need to choose what style you want and stick with it. You’ll then want to implement a strategy for your stories and reels, putting together great imagery with quality video footage. The hard work is in the effort to stand out from the noise. If your content isn’t cutting it, people will swipe through it to the next item… brutal but true!
Perhaps a little overlooked, Pinterest holds HUGE SEO benefits as well as commerce opportunities. Whilst it’s true that Pinterest users haven’t logged in with the intention of shopping, if you’ve curated your boards well and your content is enticing, you may well find that it’s a great sales tool!
Imagine this. A couple has bought their first house together and they’re using Pinterest for inspiration. They stumble across a stunning image of a living room that completely encapsulates what they’ve been looking for and suddenly they want to know where they can buy the paint that’s on the walls, where they can source the coffee table shown in the picture and they are dying to get their hands on the lampshade advertised… Pinterest has a brilliant feature where when someone saves your image pin to their board, it instantly creates a ‘shopping list.’ Complete with links on where they can buy the exact item they’ve pinned, meaning they’ve practically added your product to their basket with a strong intent on buying. Clever stuff.
When I say it has huge SEO benefits, I’m of course talking about the ability to tag keywords related to your product, write unique product descriptions, provide a link to the page where people can buy the product and more. It’s basically an online catalogue and if you use it correctly, it can really boost your sales as well as reach.
When considering whether your business needs a place on Pinterest, not only do you need to do the research to see if your target audience is using the platform but you also need to take a look at your competitor’s results. Are people pinning images of similar products to you? Are they in high demand? It’s worth having a good look before deciding to create an account yourself.
Then you will need to think strategically about the content. Yep, you’ll need to think about the way you’re going to group your products. Will you group them by room? By colour? By product type? You’ll need to think about your categories and you’ll need to spend the time writing quality content as well as researching what keywords you should be going after. It is time-intensive to set up, but once it’s up you’ll be on a roll. Simply add to it as you have more products on the market, and make sure you keep all of the information you’ve provided up to date! And this goes without saying… Get a professional photographer to get your imagery done. People will only pin what they find visually appealing, it’s all about the aesthetic on this social network.
Twitter is, in my opinion, the fastest moving platform and the most time-intensive. Why? Because a tweet has a lifespan of 15-20 minutes. Which isn’t long at all when you compare it to Facebook’s 5-6 hours. What does this mean then for businesses on the platform?
Twitter is best suited to businesses that have a lot to say. You’ll need a lot of content. It’s true that with Twitter’s character limit it forces you to be succinct with your words and clear with your message… which makes the platform very well suited to news-style businesses that have regular updates and lots of interaction with their target audience. It also requires you to be on top of the latest trends. Every day a new phrase, topic or theme ‘trends’ and it is up to you as a business to get involved in that conversation, be ‘seen’ and ‘heard.’ It’s no mean feat.
In a way, Twitter has replaced reading a newspaper over breakfast. Instead, just by scrolling through the feed, you can learn what the latest news items are, what people are talking about, what is going viral or trending and have very quick access to a lot of information in a short period of time. As a business, it’s an easy network to get lost in, and it may seem difficult to get your message heard above the noise. But as highlighted above, it’s not always about being seen, it’s about being able to see what your target audience is talking about, what they want, and learning about them. All really beneficial and important tools to be armed with when trying to connect with your audience.
One thing to consider seriously is that Twitter is a place where customers or clients often reach out to complain about a business or to try and get in touch with them when something has gone wrong. Whilst many businesses would rather shy away from this, there is power in being able to deal with peoples issues in a public forum, showing others that you are a business that wants to help and resolve an issue rather than stick your head in the sand. It does mean that you’re likely to need someone to monitor the account so that any issues that come through can be dealt with in a timely fashion – so if you don’t have the resource to do that or the time to keep your feed up to date, it might not be the platform for you.
Youtube is a great place to reach your target audience and engage with them on a personal level. You will need the skills to work with footage in order to create good quality content that people want to watch. But even if you lack those skills, this is the perfect way to learn. The beauty of youtube is that you can upskill whilst creating content for your brand.
There is a lot of preparation that goes into video content. And then there is the actual shooting of it and then the editing afterwards. In terms of time, it’s consuming. But the end result can be really powerful – video is one of the most powerful and popular mediums on the internet. There is a reason that it’s one of the top networks for viewing time.
You will need to have a think about what you want your Youtube Channel to focus on. Whether it’s a ‘behind the scenes’ sneak peek for your customers and clients to watch, whether your videos are tutorials providing in-depth information or how-to guides, whether they’re product reviews or something else… you’ll need to plan out what you want your channel to do for others and why they should subscribe.
Don’t worry if you start a youtube account and it takes you in a direction you hadn’t originally planned, many channels – now some of the most popular ones available – have started out as one thing and ended up another. The beauty of Youtube is you can change, adapt and evolve the channel as your audience grows and as you learn what their likes and dislikes are. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Anddddd although we’ve noted how much work actually goes into creating, running and managing a youtube channel we should also highlight how easy it is to use your video content elsewhere to get the maximum value out of it. You can post the videos as content on your social media channels, embed them into blogs and websites and lots more!
TikTok entered the scene in 2016 and since then has grown in popularity – so much so that it now rivals Youtube, overtaking the platform in terms of average watch time per user! It’s bold, it’s modern and it’s young… and it’s where your business needs to be!
Not only is tiktok different from the other platforms in terms of its offering (you can only videos up to 3 minutes long) it fills a gap that many have felt since the closing down of Vine. Not just this but it has made it incredibly easy for content creators because you can create the videos using the app – rather than creating it elsewhere and then uploading it to the platform. This includes the ability to create short videos by shooting, adjusting clips, customising audio, applying effects, and enhancing with filters all within the app.
The ticket to exceptional brand exposure is to create – or get involved with – a trend. A bit like the fast fashion industry, TikTok accelerates the ‘next in-thing’ whether it’s a new dance routine, comedy sketch, style of video or food recipe… chance is if you’ve opened your TikTok feed and flipped through the videos, you’re likely to see at least a dozen of the same trend being attempted by different accounts and brands. And you’ll find yourself mesmerised! Before you know it, hours have gone past and you have watched hundreds of videos.
When considering TikTok for your brand or business you will need to know that staying on top of the trends and ahead of them is going to be a huge task… as we said, it moves fast and furious. One day everyone is trying out making ‘carrot bacon’ the next we’re rehearsing the dance to the Wkend’s ‘Blinding Lights.’ Check them out on TikTok!
It’s true that right now the demographic on the app is a mixed bag but leans towards the younger generation. But just like other social platforms (looking at you Facebook), the young are always the first on the scene and over time other age groups become aware of it and take it up too. (Around 50% of TikTok’s global audience is under the age of 34 with 32.5% aged between 10 and 19.) So again, you’d need to evaluate whether your target audience is on the platform in order to work out whether it’s worth your time and effort.
When thinking about your social media strategy, you’ve probably thought of LinkedIn immediately as, after all, it’s The Business App. It’s where professionals share their expertise, ask for and give advice, network and of course, show off their CV’s. Over the years LinkedIn has become a place that you’re able to write articles on things you are knowledgeable in, and use your posts to comment on current affairs, industry trends and more. You can apply for and advertise jobs, meet like-minded people and interact with the brands and businesses that you want to follow.
Having a LinkedIn business page is beneficial if you have long-form copy to share, and you have the time to drum up engagement with your followers. It’s one of the less high-maintenance social networks but it does require a level of etiquette (people don’t like things to be too salesy) and authority in your particular industry.
Similarly to that of Facebook, LinkedIn enables you to target people based on their job role, industry, location and age. This way you can create personalised content for your posts, articles and advertising. This ensures you reach the relevant people and get the most value from your paid-for advertising spend.
A lot of people take to LinkedIn for lead generation, to knowledge share and to create connections within their selected industry. It’s for this reason that a content strategy needs to be clear, concise and succinct. Thought leadership articles are well received here, so if you’re able to articulate yourself well about your industry and the services and products you offer, LinkedIn can be an incredibly valuable tool.
Every social media platform should be considered for your social media plan. Not every network is going to be suitable for your business and it’s up to you to draw up the pros and cons of each one before you decide to work it in as part of your strategy.
There are lots more social networks that we haven’t mentioned here; Snapchat, WeChat, Whatsapp, Tumblr, Reddit, Medium, Vimeo and HouseParty to name a few… and it’s worth having a list of networks you want to consider before ruling them out.
If you don’t have the time – outsource it. Social media is a brilliant tool for your business that you simply can’t afford to lose out on. If you’d like to discuss your requirements with us, simply visit our contact page!