In this day and age, not having a social media presence as a business is detrimental to growth. Any sort of social media presence is enough to attract more customers, but having a plan and using the social media platform that your target market uses will give your business much-needed exposure. Social media exposure can even lead to higher conversion rates for your business. As of October 2021, the social media platforms with the highest number of active users include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WeChat, and TikTok.
A social media platform that needs no introduction, if you haven’t heard of it, you probably live in a part of the world with no internet, but then how are you reading this? Anyway, based on recent statistics, Facebook is the king of social media in terms of active users per day, boasting over 2 billion active users worldwide.
With such a wide audience, businesses are sure to find their target market somewhere in there. Facebook has the added advantage of having an interface where businesses can actually sell and interact with their customers. People already browsing Facebook don’t have to go to an external site or use a different app to be able to browse online shops and talk directly to the business. This convenience coupled with the scale of the platform makes it great for small businesses to flourish and for consumers as well, as they don’t have to go far to find a service that matches their needs.
With so many positives going for it, it seems like the best platform for everyone. Well…yes and no. Its weakness was shown recently with the downtime of all Facebook products. Many businesses that relied solely on Facebook as their platform had to sit idly for about 6 hours as business came to a complete halt. This outage has caused many Facebook-only businesses to start expanding their options, with many people looking to start their own websites as they would have more control over it. The drawback to having all your eggs in one basket counts for all platforms, the only difference is that Facebook’s recent downtime has reminded people that not even tech giants are safe from server problems.
Another household social media platform that quite honestly most people who use the internet will know about. It’s a powerful video-sharing platform as it has billions of users with millions of them active every day. Videos can be uploaded, shared, rated, commented on, and the channel that posted the video can be subscribed to in order to receive updates when new content is posted.
YouTube is great for boosting engagement with an audience, famous YouTubers have been doing it to grow personal brands and businesses, both big and small, can take full advantage of that as well. Aside from the endless amounts of entertainment provided on YouTube, there are also educational or informative videos on the platform as well. In fact, some people skip Google in order to search for a “How to” video on YouTube. These videos can range from mechanical skills such as changing the oil of a specific car, all the way to advance meth your teacher probably didn’t explain enough during class. Businesses have informative videos that educate their viewers about their product or service, but the successful channels also add other content that their intended audience is looking for. Some examples of this can be seen on Nike’s page, where they feature athletes all over the world; Vogue the fashion and lifestyle magazine company also has a channel where they feature influential people’s lifestyles, beauty routines, and interviews. Videos like these boost engagement as their intended audience consume this type of content in large amounts.
YouTube’s parent company is Google, meaning it integrates with Google Ads. This gives your marketing team the ability to spend extra money in order to get more views. You can have your videos placed higher when searched or as an ad in someone else’s video. Alternatively, you can save money and go the natural SEO route and use the right keywords and produce content that people want to see in order to get your videos and channel to rank higher.
If you want to bring attention to your company and have creative and entertaining ways to post visual content, YouTube is a great platform for that. By providing useful or entertaining content, you bring awareness to your company without invasive advertisements everywhere.
Just like YouTube, Instagram is a visual platform, however, it caters to both video and photographs with a majority of videos being short snippets but verified accounts can post videos up to 60 minutes long. The platform is also filled with different influencers, ranging from actors to vloggers, who will promote your business or product.
Instagram has many users, but businesses can actually create a business account. These accounts have added features not available to regular or personal accounts such as dedicated sections for business hours, address lines, and call to action buttons (links to a website landing page). As stated before, verified accounts can also post videos up to an hour-long. This is useful for businesses that are trying to inform their audience about certain topics. Instagram allows you to spread awareness at a relatively low cost. This is all based on the fact that you can create and distribute quality content regularly. The cost obviously goes up if you don’t have a camera, phone, editing software, or skills required to produce high-quality results, then the price of entry goes up significantly.
It is always a good idea to have a posting schedule and more often than not, your viewers/followers will appreciate more content, but you should have posts scheduled and avoid spamming your followers as much as possible. Repeat content is a touchy subject in this area, if you can repackage the content then it’s okay to post again but not on the same day. If you’re posting a sales-heavy copy, no one appreciates seeing ads pop up on their feed 2 or more times a day. Some people don’t like sales-heavy content at all, so get creative with your posts. The comment section is a great place to engage with your audience, by posting compelling content, whether images or videos, you can directly interact with your audience.
You can also set up an Instagram shop. By setting up a business account and connecting a product catalog, your audience can buy items from your Instagram shop. The ability to buy directly on an app your audience was already using raises the chance of making an actual sale. Although Instagram is mostly a mobile application, you can also use it on a PC as well. Without a scheduling tool, using a PC actually removes functionality, so your audience will most likely be on mobile devices.
For those who aren’t aware, WeChat is a social media, messaging, and payment application that was made in China. With so many functionalities being added, if you aspire at all to cater to an Asian market, you can’t go wrong with choosing WeChat. Although a primarily Asian userbase, this hasn’t stopped people worldwide from using it.
At first glance, WeChat looks like just another chat service. What separates itself from its competition is the rest of its features and its ability to integrate with other social media sites. Like Facebook or Instagram, it has its own version of a story or timeline called Moments. These Moments can be synced up to a number of other social media platforms so you don’t have to put much effort into reposting them everywhere. They also have Channels, which essentially act like TikTok as it is a hub of short videos. These video channels can also be subscribed to and updates are pushed to subscribers in real-time, similar to YouTube. Finally, their pay option is what makes this an all-around great platform for marketing, as it allows payments to be made directly on the application.
In order to use WeChat as a complete marketing tool while living outside of China, you need to set up an official account, specifically a Service Account. There are restrictions if you live outside of China and use the application, the biggest being you cannot have a Subscription account, which locks you out of many useful features. Have no fear, as the link above shows you how to get around that (this is not a paid advertisement).
TikTok is a social networking platform focused on shorter videos, it’s similar to Instagram in many ways, barring the fact that a majority of its user base is from Generation Z. Most videos range from 15 seconds to 3 minutes, so packing quality content in that time frame becomes a challenge in both creativity and accuracy. As stated above, while a majority of TikTok users are from Gen Z, the truth of the matter is that people of all ages use TikTok.
The platform provides its own advertising service called TikTok for Business. The people behind the app actually help marketers through the entire advertising process. As a business, you can use the service without a marketing team as long as you’re willing to put in time and effort. Be warned that it may still be expensive, as ads start at $10 per 1000 views, which doesn’t sound like much at first, but the sheer number of people who use the app will make those views fly by. If you have an even bigger budget you can choose to avail of the much more expensive options, some of which include exclusive timed hashtags, having your ad appear wherever ads are available, etc.
The platform offers different ad types such as TopView and In-Feed ads. This covers the important sections as people are scrolling through TikTok so all your bases will be covered if you choose this option. In addition to these, businesses can partner with an influencer to have their product or service advertised, as with all the previously mentioned social media platforms.
Staying current with all social media site news will help you choose the platform(s) that better suit your needs. Depending on whom you’re targeting, different platforms will give varying returns. It is important to pick the right platform for your business, but it’s arguably even more important to just start having a social media presence if you haven’t already. So get your name out on social media and bring those engagement numbers up!