Which Social Media Networks Should Your Brand Really Be On?

January 30, 2014 Emily Bauer

There’s no denying that social media plays a big role in digital marketing and is necessary to generating brand awareness online. In fact, social media has become so ingrained in our culture that it seems there’s always a new social platform vying for attention and trying to amass users. The growing complexity of the social media landscape poses a challenge for businesses hoping to engage with consumers through social media: determining what social media channels they need to focus on.

It’s important to understand the potential of each social media channel in terms of audience, brand exposure, content marketing and consumer engagement so that you can focus on platforms that are most aligned with your social media strategy. Let’s take a look at what today’s most popular social media channels have to offer so you can choose which sites you really need to be active on.

Facebook

Although Facebook’s popularity has recently declined among younger users, it is still the biggest social media network in existence and attracts a range of demographics. Facebook is a great platform for B2C brands looking for an easy, accessible tool to increase fan engagement and brand awareness without investing too much time or money. With roughly 800 million unique visitors each month, Facebook’s user base is a goldmine for marketers seeking interaction with a diverse audience.

One of the major benefits of Facebook is how simple it is to share and spread content. By ‘liking’ your Facebook page or sharing your content, consumers are acting as brand advocates and increasing the visibility of your brand. You can entice fans to share more content with their friends through several creative avenues, such as holding a contest that requires users to ‘like’ or share your update. There are various analytics tools available to track your efforts and traffic on Facebook. Whether you opt for sponsored posts or organic growth, amassing Facebook fans is an integral part of many digital marketing strategies.

LinkedIn

If you’re looking to maintain a more professional online presence, LinkedIn is the way to go. A valuable platform for both B2B and B2C companies, LinkedIn offers numerous benefits for brands looking to share content, connect with industry leaders, learn about their competitors, recruit new employees or engage in discussions about industry news and topics.

One of LinkedIn’s many functions is the ability to showcase your company’s industry knowledge by answering questions or contributing to discussion in relevant LinkedIn groups. Participating on LinkedIn forums establishes your brand as a community member and industry expert. You can also create a new LinkedIn group of your own, or simply share content and links to articles with your network of connections.

Twitter

Twitter is the go-to social media channel for individuals and brands looking for a simple, concise platform to share tidbits of content, social commentary or links to larger pieces such as blogs and company announcements. The big advantage of Twitter is the fact that tweets are quick and easy to write as well as quick and easy to digest. You can also engage with your audience of consumers by retweeting, following, or mentioning fans.

Although it doesn’t require too much effort to compose a tweet, it’s important to create a plan that includes automated publishing of tweets on a regular basis to keep your account active, and to use those 140 characters to support your brand’s image and persona. Tweet often to ensure your target audience sees your updates, which can otherwise get lost among the 400 million tweets sent by users each day.

Google+

You already know how important the name ‘Google’ is for your marketing and SEO tactics, especially when you’re working to attract more traffic to your website. But you may not have considered the benefits of maintaining an active Google+ account for your brand. Any public updates or activity you log on Google+ is indexed by Google’s search engine, which can act as a huge boost for your website’s SEO and ranking—making Google+ a powerful tool for digital marketers in every industry. You can also target a specific audience based on communities, hashtags and Google Hangouts—all of which sort users by expressed interests.

Although Google+ boasts SEO benefits that no other social network can offer, there is a major drawback to consider. Namely, it is challenging to auto-publish updates or cross-post content from other social networks to your Google+ account. This means that marketers must spend more time and effort publishing content to Google+ than other social networks. That being said, LifeHacker has a useful tutorial for syncing up your Google+ posts with Twitter and Facebook.

Instagram

If you’re not interested in sharing photos or don’t have much visual content, Instagram probably isn’t worth your time. On the other hand, the purely visual nature of this social platform creates a unique opportunity for brands to showcase any merchandise or products that hold a certain aesthetic appeal. Instagram can also be used to give your customers a look at the inner workings of your day-to-day business, company culture and events.

Images are the easiest way to communicate with your audience quickly, especially if you’re targeting the under 35 crowd who make up 90% of Instagram’s 150 million users. This image-based social platform is often used as a push tool for publishing pictures across multiple social networks at once, a function that can boost efficiency.

Consider How To Spend Your Limited Time & Resources

Social media marketing is not about being on as many social platforms as possible—it’s about understanding which channels are best suited to help meet the marketing goals of your brand. Carefully consider which platforms you really need to be on before creating dozens of accounts across the web. Remember, a selective and well-maintained social media presence is more effective and credible than a number of scattered, inactive and disorganized accounts across every social media channel.

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About the Author

Emily Bauer

Emily is a freelance writer based in Toronto, Ontario who covers a range of topics from technology to travel. She holds a Bachelor in English Literature and Business from the University of Waterloo. No matter how many projects she is working on, Emily always finds time for baking, reading, and yoga.

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