Finding the right social media channel

Choosing a single social media channel as your perfect marketing partner for your website, seems to make sense from a time management perspective, but it might miss the mark from a marketing perspective.

You cannot replace one social media channel with another because customers gather in different locations and it pays to meet them on their turf, in the way they like it, not where and how it suits us.  

  • Before you scream "that's too hard!" Remember There are opportunities to be clever with your content by skillfully repurposing content to suit different channels. We can show you how.
  • There are also particular pairings of social media platforms that have shown in research to be used by the same people.

Here is a guide to choosing the best social media channels for your small business.

The choice will take into account a number of factors but here is a quick overview to get you started. The survey figures here are from the Pew Research surveys(1) conducted in the USA.

A lot happens every month in the world of social media.

New channels rise up and the popularity of various social media channels evolve. One way to get a grip on the changes is through infographics like this one about the most impactful social media facts, figures and statistics in 2013. 

   > click to enlarge

 

> Reference source here


In the data, Facebook remains the dominant player in the social networking space. Some 71% of online adults are now Facebook users, a slight increase from the 67% of online adults who used Facebook as of late 2012. So let's start there.


 

FACEBOOK

Founded: Facebook was founded on February 4, 2004

Traffic: more than 1.1 billion monthly active users as on December 2013

What it is: Facebook is the place to share useful and relevant information but is not the place to pull off a big deal unless the person buying needs your community. It is a great place to tell your story and if you are expert make great returns on well conceived and placed offers. 

Who uses Facebook: Diverse demographic user group – most of us are on there. The most established player Facebook isn't trendy, fickle or skewed to a micro-niche. It has the broadest age range using it and over a billion of them. With over a billion users it is also incredibly competitive. 

Facebook has high levels of engagement among its users: 63% of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day, with 40% doing so multiple times throughout the day. 

Marketing value: If you structure your business fan page correctly to encourage link-backs to your website or blog and and encourage likes and shares the Facebook newsfeed function will reward you with broader exposure. It also offers you the opportunity to personally interact with new followers and the insights to offer better quality content without guessing. 

What it does well : Facebook has gradually been redesigned to be accessed and read on smart phone so it is a place to be short and clever. Smartphone friendly. Great for expanding your reach and engaging in bites. 


LinkedIn

Founded: Launched on May 5, 2003

Traffic: 277 million as at February 2014

What it is: LinkedIn is the biggest social networking website for professionals and businesses to connect and market their expertise and skills. Their slogan is "relationships matter".

Who uses it: LinkedIn is especially popular among college or, as we say in Australia, university graduates and internet users in higher income households. You will find educated consulting and employed professionals on LinkedIn. The latest statistics show it having 7% of its users over 55 and 14% in the 45 to 54 age range.
Read more at http://www.jeffbullas.com/2013/09/20/12-awesome-social-media-facts-and-statistics-for-2013/#HjA2w30Jumo6TaIy.99

Marketing value: If you are a consulting professional you will benefit by filling out your personal profile, skills and detailing your experience so that you can network with others in complementary professions. If you are starting a company page you will have the opportunity to share information about your products, services, job opportunities. It is an opportunity to build your brand awareness and business. 

What it does well : LinkedIn is a more formal and business networking focused environment. This is the place to showcase and build professional business connections.


PINTEREST

You can verify your site with Pinterest to display your site URL on your Pinterest profile. 

Founded: March 2010

Traffic: 48.7 million users, many access via mobile.This represents 16% of US Internet users, only 1 percent less than Twitter.

What it is: Pinterest is a virtual pin board. People create collections where they pin their internet treasures, photos, images, videos and info-graphics. Collections are spread via re-pinning and can be shared across the internet via websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Who uses it:  68% of Pinterest users are women and half of those are mothers. People use Pinterest to post things they love and things that inspire them. Large Brands and individuals cross pollinate here. 80% of pins on Pinterest are re-pins. 

Marketing value: Pinterest allows you to sign up as a business or as an individual. On your profile page you can link to your website, blog or other social media pages. To benefit you must use Pinterest to inspire and peak interest which will in turn lead people to your services. The Pinterest bookmarklet enables you to grab images from your website or blog and add it too a collection very quickly reinforcing the bond between your marketing channels.

What it does well : Take into account that 75% of users browse via mobile phone. The aesthetics and coherence of your collection will delight your audience and build awareness if is associated with lifestyle in some way.


TWITTER

Founded: Twitter was created in March 2006

Traffic: more than 1.1 billion monthly active users as on December 2013

What it is: "Twitter is a real time information network that connects you to the latest stories ideas, opinions and news about what you find most interesting. You simply find the accounts you find most compelling and follow the conversations" (source Twitter)

Who uses it: 46% of Twitter users are daily visitors (with 29% visiting multiple times per day).

Marketing value: In 2013 a study by analytics company KISSmetrics found that Twitter users were more likely to by from brands they follow on Twitter by a Margin of 64%.  It is a great way for individuals and brands to monitor conversations about them and their market. If ths is where your community gathers it gives you a great opprtunity to uncover service issues and manage crisis as well as place strategic offers

What it does well : Twitter conversations run in bursts of 140 characters long. You can see photos, videos and conversations in Tweets which allows you to see a story at a glance. 


INSTAGRAM

Founded: October 2010

Traffic: over 130 million monthly active users, 40 million photos uploaded per day, generating 1,000 comments per second

What it is: Instagram is a place to share your photos and videos It is a social networking service that enables you take pictures and videos and apply effects filters to them. You can then share them on a variety of social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. 

Who uses it: Twitter and Instagram have particular appeal to younger adults, urban dwellers. In the USA there is an overlap between Twitter and Instagram communities.  57% of Instagram users visit the site at least once a day (with 35% doing so multiple times per day).

Who's it for: This is a great option for people within the creative industries, fashion or food or any industry where the aesthetics of your posts will delight your audience and build awareness. 

Marketing value: Harder to justify the time because unlike Pinterest, the other visually rich social media platform you can only share your own content, not repin other content and you cannot embed a hyperlink into your photo which will direct you back to your products or service pages. Anyone who clicks an instagram photo gets taken back to Instagram. 

What it does well : Helps you take better mobile pics and share them in a beautiful gallery format

Instagram integration : allows you to add a social Icon, which will lead visitors to your Instagram profile page, or display your Instagram feed directly within your site.


YOUTUBE 

Founded: February 14, 2005

Traffic: 

  • More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
  • Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that's almost an hour for every person on Earth
  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
  • 80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
  • YouTube is localised in 61 countries and across 61 languages
  • Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 3x since last year, and the number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4x since last year

Source; http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html

What it is: YouTube is the world's most popular webspace for sharing video. From smartphone, tablet to desktop computers people love video and love YouTube.

Who's uses it: According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network. Like Facebook, YouTubes demographic is broad and not niched like Pinterest for example. 

Marketing value: The value of YouTube is massive when it is used correctly. Utilising the association with parent company Google has some obvious benefits. If you set up a channel and create series of natural (not salesy) informative and entertaining videos, not only will you build trust you will build interest in your material. Get it right and others will embed your material helping you gain traction. Of course you should always point back to your website and make offers where appropriate. Your generosity and ability to help people solve problems and feel good will be rewarded.

What it does well : Helps you demonstrate the benefits of your products and services while building trust simultaneously

How does it rate against Vimeo : The obvious benefit here is the integration with Google. 


VIMEO

Founded: November 2004

Traffic: As of December 2013, Vimeo attracts over 100 million unique visitors per month and more than 22 million registered users. Fifteen percent of Vimeo’s traffic comes from mobile devices.

What it is: Vimeo is a U.S.-based video-sharing website on which users can upload, share and view videos. 

Who's uses it: Vimeo's has a smaller, niche community than YouTube. It attracts a fully engaged community of people who are genuinely interested in film quality. Things like gaming videos will not be found here. Vimeo is seen as the quality option for BtoB companies and creative communities. In a way it is like the LinkedIn of the Video social media world and YouTube is more like the Facebook.

Marketing value: The benefits of Vimeo is definitely there.For one there are no distracting 30 second advertisements to deal with before viewers see your content. 

If you set up a VimeoPro account and create series of well produced, informative and entertaining videos. Remember that this is a quality space so you can pay more attention to aesthetics without forgetting the all important marketing objective.If you get it right others will embed your material helping you gain traction. Of course you should always point back to your website and make offers where appropriate. This will not cause any penalties. You will be able to craft a very professional video channel here without distractions pulling your viewers away.

What it does well : Helps you demonstrate the benefits of your products and services while building trust simultaneously without risk of you being associated with the wrong content or company. 

How does it rate against Vimeo : The trade off for quality is the [potential audience size. If you are selective and aiming for quality this will not concern you. 


Google+

Founded: June 28, 2011; 2 years ago

Traffic: As of February 2014 GooglePlus had over 540 million active users. Google+ remains the second most actively used social network after Facebook.

What it is: Google's answer to Facebook. The difference is that it brings Google Docs and it's slew of apps, Gmail, YouTube together.

Who's uses it: Google+ is relatively new but has attracted a vast audience. Though some say it is skewed to males at 67% I cannot find the source of the figures to support that. There are distinct advantages for businesses and consulting professionals.

Marketing value: The opportunity lies in the association to the google the search engine, the 'communities', 'hang-outs' and 'Google Authorship status'. Encourage comments, shares and +1s (google's version of facebook 'likes')  to see fast results. When you post content to Google+ it is indexed automatically. In other words your posts will reach beyond your circles to new audiences. Once you have Authorship status and add good original content you will rank you higher than those who share or copy and paste your content as theirs. Good for building your self as an 'expert' in the minds of clients, circles and communities. That is good positioning.

What it does well : Helps you demonstrate your expertise and skills among the community you want to be known in. One advantage over LinkedIn for business is that Google+ is a tad less conservative in personality and enables longer conversation opportunities.


(1) Based on a general social media usage question, conducted July 18-September 30, 2013 among 6,010 adults in the U.S. For more information see http://www.pewinternet.org/Commentary/2012/March/Pew-Internet-Social-Networking-full-detail.aspx