Not all platforms were created equal. Let's get into it.
You got an incredible idea, picked a name, figured out the logistics, registration, sales and finally - got your business an Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest..but wait, then there is TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, Medium, Newsmax and probably some more apps we don't even know about. Do we need all of this and if so, when do we find time?!
First and foremost, YES, if you are building a brand and are doing your own marketing and branding on a limited budget, you will need to handle your social media and spend time studying the algorithms, define who your potential customers are, what they look for and then - the most important part - actually interact with them. It might be great that you do love posting motivational quotes, but if these do not align with your business branding, you might be better off posting these on your personal account or use them as a screen saver.
In short, NO, you don't need to be on all possible platforms. In this article we will discuss MAJOR social media platforms and the businesses that can benefit from being on them.
Hello good old friend. Isn't it nice to see what you actually did and looked like on this day 10 years ago? Sweet. Beyond nostalgia Facebook has lost the initial appeal when it comes to business awareness. The algorithm shows your posts to about 3% of your subscribers and friends unless you pay. Paying is a solution, but is also tricky - do not mistake "awareness" as of people whose Facebook walls your ad has appeared on for people who "engaged" with your content. The solution is to clearly and carefully define your target demographic. Plus, the cost per click has increased tremendously making it an expensive mindless fun for small businesses with a limited budget.
Who is Facebook still good for?
If you are looking to build a community based on common interest or profession, if you are a coach, love cooking and sharing recipes or a designer seeking public opinion and interaction - Facebook groups and communities are your best friends. You can either join an existent one, build your own or, even better, BOTH. If you run your ads with great attention to details (oh, I see another blog post coming soon exactly on this!), you can reach anyone at a reasonable price. Advice - split your target demographic into sub-parts (for instance 20-30 y/o and 30-40 y/o as opposed to 20-40 y/o), use the content and language that appeals to them to make it more customized and increase your chance of success. Also, you do need a Facebook page to run your ads on Instagram.
Hello beautiful! Instagram has been the placeholder for all our selfies, exes and dishes we happily consumed. Besides, given its rapid ability to adapt the technology to newly emerging platforms (remember when there was Snapchat before the concept of "Instagram Stories" and when TikTok was the only one having "reels"?) plus the addition of Instagram Shop, the platform does present a great value for any business.
Who is Instagram good for?
ANY business. If you have a physical store and/or sell things online, have a radio show or a podcast, are an influencer, writer or designer - you can use the platform to spread awareness. Please DO NOT treat your page as a museum - you can still apply the same filter to all your posts or maintain a common theme, but please choose relevance over prettiness. If you create something with your own hands - show the process. If you cook some fun dishes - show us the steamy hotness and let your customers tell us how yummy it is. If you are creating something beautiful - tell why did you chose this product over another and maybe even use the "stories" to let us vote on a selection using the "yes/no" sticker! We want to be a part of your process as when we, the customers, are involved, we build a relationship that will survive any pandemic. Next time we will be happy to spend our stimulus check on your great efforts. Tell, show and describe what you do, why and how.
Don't worry about competitors - even if they'll try to copy you, they'll lack your vision and personality.
Please do not add any links unless it is a IGTV video - you know we can't click on any of those, right? So please save us from senseless tapping on the screen.
Add your products to the "shop" - that is what we can actually click on it.
Use "reels" as much as you can. Instagram algorithm favors them right now over any other type of post.
...and real quick on the algorithm itself. When you post something, Instagram shows it to about 10% of your followers. If these engage (like, comment, share, save) with your post, it will be shown to 60% and if this succeeds, your post will appear on "explore" page and that is when it goes viral. Knowing this, please pace your ego and marketing desires. Try things, post more and worry less.
Now we are talking real business! This platform has experienced a major shift after being acquired by Microsoft. First, it is now very interactive and less abused by political endeavors. Second, it does allow you to find people you are actually looking for. Ads are pricey, but the targeting is more precise than Facebook when it comes to B2B sales.
Who is LinkedIn good for?
Jobseekers and B2B sales people PLUS business owners looking to expand their connections. LinkedIn Premium offers a variety of subscriptions either helping you to score the job or make a major sale. Again, B2B sales are truly benefiting from their sales subscription as this program will do the targeting for you, but if you are in "direct to consumer" sales, I'd say socialize, post interactive and entertaining content and look for potential partners to link up with. LinkedIn also has groups, therefore being active on such can help you get established within your industry.
Believe it or not, it still exists! Aside from wedding cakes, fashion trends and Ryan Gosling (somehow my Pinterest is flooded with his pictures!), it does have some fun features you as a business owner can use. After introducing Pinterest Stories (same as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and even YouTube!), they bettered their business stats, so if you do change your account to a business page, you will be able to define your demographic, place ads and see who interacts with your content.
Who is Pinterest good for?
Visual businesses with a consumer website - fitness trainers, bakers, designers, writers, manufacturers or fun pretty things...anyone whose product is visually appealing. Make sure you add a website, so people can not only "pin" your post, but visit your website and place an order. Based on my attempts, they currently do organically boost video posts that have music (but not voice!) and pictures with quotes. You can use a happy customer's endorsement as a quote about your product, post a video showing your product or design with a nice background music. Don't forget hashtags in the "description" part of the video and please add a direct link to your website.
It feels so good to feel young again and again, and again! In actuality, TikTok does make me feel pretty old when I try to learn the dances or try to understand the comments full of slang. Nevertheless, it is here and it is here to stay.
Who is TikTok good for?
Anyone. Yes, I also cannot believe I said it. I have studied this platform for over a month for several hours a day (or night) and will present my detailed findings in another post, but let's talk basics. Choose a specific niche you want to be in and stick to it. No, you don't need to dance or do the challenges if you don't want to, but you do need to define what you are good at and what you would be willing to do longterm. Then connect it to your business.
Would you like to be DAILY on camera talking about your product in a fun or serious way? Would you like to show the process of creating your product with a voiceover? If you haven't started or conquered TikTok yet, please explore their "FYP aka for you" page and see what you'd be excited to give a try, then TRY it. PLUS TikTok offers a sponsorship for any registered small business that can go towards your advertising budget on the platform. Before we get into that though I need you to define what niche you'd love to be in. Again, the details and step by step to nailing your account and making the algorithm work for you will come in another post. Stay tuned and explore!
Before I put you to sleep with my writings, let's talk about remaining few platforms in a fireside chat type of way:
Twitter - great for journalists, nonprofits and politically involved people. If your business is about that, go ahead! Ads are super expensive without local targeting, therefore quite useless for small businesses that are local and have limited funds. BUT it is a great way to find that person who doesn't respond to your DMs on Instagram - here you will most likely have less competition and get a response (or silence) even faster.
Medium - great for bloggers and those who would like to position themselves as experts in their industries. Write about the industry you are in, provide value and add a little bio underneath your post with the links to your website and other social media.
Meetup - I used to be a fan of it until I wasn't. Currently it is full of freebie-seekers and has experienced a lack of excitement due to complete shutdown of in-person events. They do offer the virtual event option, but who doesn't at this point? I'd say, save the $19.99/month and create a Facebook group if groups are your jam.
Well, I could talk about each platform for hours and perhaps I should write about each app in full extent. Please let me know what you think about the idea and whether this long article was of any use. I am here to provide the most value. :)
Oh, before I forget - please choose about 3 platforms to double down at a time as each of them requires an adaptation of your content. What's great for Instagram will not work on LinkedIn and so forth. The interests might be the same, but the style of a platform will dictate your approach. Informal language is great for Instagram, but would rather lead to raised eyebrows on LinkedIn. Please read the (virtual) room to be sure!
Don't forget that social media is all about being SOCIAL, have fun and make this media world a better place one post at a time!
Olga Nesterova is the founder of Onest Media Productions, and President of Onest TV Network - a television channel designed to provide most value, educate and inspire. To explore the programming and advertising specials for small and medium businesses, please click HERE. Olga hosts daily mini podcast "Light Of Day" that discusses one idea per day in just a few minutes. Episodes are posted daily at 6am Eastern time. Listen to it on any podcast platform at anytime.