Following on from last month’s blog post about Social Media here is my simple guide to the main choices to help you understand which may suit you and your business. Remember it’s not about what works for your mate, your rival, your mum or a big brand. Choose platforms that suit you and your personality. Be active on Social Media in line with your business goals and your business style. Have some fun!

Facebook

I always liken this to your mum, sitting with her cup of tea and her Woman’s Weekly (a magazine my mum read when I was young). She has all the time in the world and will happily watch a video, read a longer post and even take a click here and there when something really interests her. You can use multiple formats here and Video can work very well so long as it isn’t too long (or it’s riveting). Facebook people often don’t get the other platforms and stay on here because it’s comfortable (so Hashtags can be a bit of a fail). It’s seen as a slower, more sedate, place to hang out.

Facebook can work well for most Business to Consumer (B2C) marketing. Its a place a lot of people hang out to keep in touch with friends. I run a Business to Business (B2B) marketing campaign on Facebook and that works for me because of my target audience (SMEs).

Twitter

I liken this to your toddler. The almost constant change in subject means something fresh by the second. It is a fast paced platform and popular with a slightly younger audience (though not much these days) than Facebook. It has it’s very own language (hashtags, retweets etc) and can seem a very daunting place to be. People here spend short bursts of time reading a few posts (tweets) and then moving back to what they were doing. The average time your posts will be actively in a Twitter feed is now down to about 8 minutes (tweets do hang around forever but the audience will diminish after that time-frame). Images work well with supporting text and very short video can be eye catching but the whole point of Twitter is that it takes very little time to consume information here. Keep it short. Keep it simple.

Twitter is a good platform for brand awareness. Getting the fact that you exist in front of prospective customers and letting them know, briefly, how you can help. It can be a good supporting platform to both B2B and B2C marketing. I get good brand awareness but not a lot of traffic. It’s helped boost trust to my brand though.

Linked In

If you are working in the Business to Business (B2B) sector then this is definitely a platform you should look into. Its modeled more on the Facebook style than the Twitter style so longer posts are more acceptable here. It has a reputation for being a bit stuffy but that is gradually being broken down by the more relaxed attitude many now how to business marketing. It was very much your dad with the Financial Times but becoming a bit more Business Insider now. Video is more acceptable and people will spend similar amounts of time reading as they would on Facebook.

Linked In can work for any business in the B2B sector. You will find it easy to connect with both your peers and your customers. Getting the message across however isn’t that simple. You have to build up a following and choose your connections wisely. Like all social media  you need to have a sustained and regular presence to make this work. I found it takes a lot more time to build the trust and appropriate connections on Linked In but they can often be more profitable ones!

Instagram

This is a very visual platform. Unlike the others the image is the most important part, If you have a very visual business (like a photographer, cake maker, arts and crafts or something similar) then this platform could work very well for you. You may struggle if, like me, your business is service based and you don’t have a lot of visuals to share. It’s owned by Facebook but the audience is a bit different. Those who enjoy learning in a more visual manner are often more comfortable here. The focus is always on the image and the writing bit comes very much a pale second. This platform is more your teens, a little lazy but know their own mind.

Instagram takes effort like all social media platforms but even more so if you aren’t comfortable with manipulating images. It was designed as an instant (hence the name) style of interacting so its best done from your mobile devices (phones, tablets) not your desktop. It has build in photo editing tools but they are limited compared with things like Canva and Photoshop. If you are a visual business appealing to a younger audience this is definitely worth looking into.

To summarise

So choose your platforms, all or even just one, but choose the one(s) you believe you will enjoy doing. If you enjoy doing something you will do it better! Doing it better yields better results and that means more pounds in your pocket. At the end of the day we are in business to make money. What that money buys is different for us all but it starts with the money. Go have some fun!