With the influx of social media over the last decade, how to choose the right social media platform for your business can be little daunting. Social media has enabled entrepreneurs to score millions of dollars with the touch of a button, as opposed to their predecessors’ necessity to influence potential clients in-person.
This blog post may help if you’ve been wondering, “How do I choose the right social media platform for my business?” or “How do businesses maximize turnover and increase their clientele?” We will look at how the top social media platforms influence organizations along with potential hindrances as the rise of digital marketing leads way to a seemingly endless stream of online content.
Facebook as Pioneers of Digital Marketing
When Facebook became prominent in late 2007, Mark Zuckerberg’s social experiment took to introducing Facebook Ads; a three-way system that allowed for businesses to reach out to potential consumers by
- Building their own pages designed to connect and network with Facebook users.
- Facilitating the spread of brand awareness through social ads.
- Gathering insights into people’s activities on Facebook with an Interface (Interface – a boundary across which two independent systems meet and communicate with each other) (Beal, 2019).
With the usability of Facebook resulting in greater engagement with its users, the social media platform has utilized their Interface with rapid networking tools such as; publication speed, one-click interaction, real-time usage stats, and brevity.
Responses are quicker thanks to the “enter to send” model, while the “click to reply” model isn’t half-bad either.
Users can share information through “Retweet,” “Reshare,” “Reply,” “Like,” and Emoji’s such as “Like.”
Real-Time Usage Stats:
Content creation have “scores,” which symbolize the amount of “Likes,” Dislikes,” and comments a specific page has.
These are short-form user responses.
Facebook isn’t necessarily the only answer for how to choose the right social media platform. With every positive comes a negative, and there is no exception with regards to the Interface of Facebook. In her article, “The Problems with Facebook are inherent in its design, but that can change” (Case, 2018) author Amber Case argues that; while Facebook is way past the point of being discarded as a primary source of marketing, there are simply too many distractions with the Interface for its users to maintain focus on one brand or service. Case claims, “the core user experience of Facebook is broken, rife with subtle visual and interactive cues which exploit and fuel our darker urges on this platform.”
While lauded for its simplicity, Facebook can also claim to possess numerous other advantages for businesses such as its affordability, specificity, and extensivness.
Affordability: Facebook allows businesses to create pages for free. Because of this advertising opportunities are endless. Businesses can also insert hyperlinks to their other endeavours and collaborations and at no cost, which benefits cross-promotion.
Specificity: Core customers are targeted which in-turn allows for greater awareness of the brand. Those targeted customers can then be engaged further with ads. Specificity also takes the form of targeting specific people in the desired city, with the desired interests. For example, should a user check out the Dallas Cowboys on Google, an ad will appear on Facebook for Cowboys merchandise.
Extensiveness: Snowballing is great in that it allows an organization to be recognized without it actually doing anything directly. For example, should a fan of a certain page “like” one of their posts, that notification is also listed on the newsfeed of the persons’ friends and family. This is said to lead to an increase in traffic as three out of four people rely on personal recommendations.
While Facebook’s accessibility usability led the way for social media marketing, it does also have its flaws as mentioned earlier. Users who decide to unsubscribe or unfollow / unlike a page no longer receive notifications about said company. Therefore, it can be difficult to advertise to the general audience.
As mentioned above, Facebook has become a melting pot of spam and phishing. The culprits much of the time are other businesses piggy-backing on the success of another. You’ve heard of the term “don’t let success get to your head.” Well, in this case it’s “don’t let success do your head in.”
Business Groups are Difficult to Create on Facebook
A B2B individual will have a hard time on Facebook, simply because FB users see the site as a distraction away from their professional life. Gaille argues that, “people don’t want to talk business unless there are goods or services that can improve their social or home life” (Gaille, 2015).
Instagram for B2C and C2B
Your research on how to choose the right social media platform for your business should also include Instagram. Where Facebook lacks compatibility, Instagram is able to provide both a business and personal setting. Primarily an App popular with people under 40, IG’s online presence cannot be ignored if the customer base lines-up with this age range.
Popular with lifestyle, ecommerce, and photography businesses, the video content and appealing visuals allow the best accounts to influence businesses by selling their content to them and simultaneously advertising products and services from the businesses on their own pages. For example, an Instagram user with photography content is asked to take pictures for organizations like Nike, etc and can also sell their own photos to a third-party (for example, Daily Hive Vancouver) so that party can benefit by receiving more “Likes,” and therefore gain more traction online, a greater following, and subsequently more of an international presence.
What is B2C?
Business-to-Consumer ecommerce is the exchange of goods and services over the Internet between online stores and individual customers. As mentioned in previous blogs, the importance of a good user experience (website design, etc) is paramount to the success of organizations looking to sell online.
What is C2B?
Consumer-to-Business is the process whereby individuals sell goods and services to companies. For example, Upwork is a website that connects professionals and agencies to businesses who are seeking specialized talent – for example, creative writers looking to be published.
Why Instagram Leads the Way?
When trying to choose the right social media platform for your business you must consider how users engage with the platform. Instagram has an appealing visual interface, hashtags and ability to @ any person or organization, IG can reach far and wide. One repost from a known celebrity or influencer is enough to boost the credibility significantly. Take Nike’s support of NFL star Colin Kaepernick in 2018. While initially the company’s shares dropped 3%, the subseqent media backlash resulted in a 27% hike in product orders by the end of that weekend.
One necessity for B2C branding is product placement. Again, referring to Nike; the brand’s iconic tick is carefully placed in a position where users can tell a photo is synonymous with the brand. Take this photo for example.
B2C marketing also supports cross-promotion and utilizes this method by tagging third-parties in their posts in a bid to increase their own notoriety and turn brand competition into a joint partnership – “piggy backing” rather than fighting for brand supremacy.
Similarly, C2B ecommerce utilizes Instagram to influence brands they’re loyal to in exchange for a mention on their page. This cross-promotion ensures greater traction for both businesses. @staysinspired is a good example; his IG photography page features images of him sporting New Balance trainers, and in return the shoe company pays him to promote their shoes on their page.
C2B ecommerce focus their marketing on consumer interaction, and therefore IG is important for the endorsement and recommendation of goods and services. Cool quirks such as IG’s “polls” and “questions” allow for followers of users to give their opinion and offer suggestions without the hassle of questionnaires, interviews and testimonials.
LinkedIn as B2B Leaders
LinkedIn specializes in B2B organizations because half of B2B buyers are millennials and therefore the older generation tends to work from a more professional platform. Is Linkedin the right social media platform for you?
What is B2B?
Business-to-Business marketing is a model that involves the transaction of products and services from one business to another. In most cases, the buyer ends-up reselling to consumers. Generally, there is a higher order value and more recurring purchase orders.
Predominantly a platform for organizations to filter out desired personnel for their staff positions, LinkedIn possesses the one key ingredient Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter doesn’t: professionalism.
Whether its building brand awareness, connecting with an audience, networking, or promoting a business, LinkedIn demands a decorum that adheres to the standards that was once upon a time a requirement for any interaction with an organization; resume, suit, and organization. The interface allows for such with a Passport-size photo option to upload, dropboxes for resumes, cover letters, and certificates, and place for a timeline of events that chronicle the users’ education and employment history.
Where B2B benefits is the sales techniques it generates from its relationship with its users. For example, iScoop point out that “customers and prospects are more likely to post questions and needs, 18% is group-related, posts which give B2B marketers an opportunity to identify new leads” (iScoop.eu, 2020).
Furthermore, the same site noted that “18% of the posts are content sharing and liking content, which gives you insights on what they find interesting.”
With 97% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn for content-marketing purposes, the social networking site is unique as their long-form content (blog posts) gain the most traction which provides users the basis to impress the high-level decision makers – which could, in-turn result in improved employment opportunities.
One flaw of LinkedIn is that the long-form posting option has not yet been made available for companies. Instead, these posts must be made on the users’ personal profile.
Consumer-to-Consumer marketing is the process by which a business connects consumers to exchange goods and services, and make their money by charging transation or listing feeds. Amazon, Craigslist, and EBay and some examples of the best C2C businesses thanks to their middle man (usually PayPal). While arguably possessing a higher margin due to a lack of retail and marketing costs, C2C ecommerce lacks in the unreliability and high risk that the consumer fails to make payment or that the seller doesn’t issue a refund for faulty goods.
The Importance of Alternative Social Media Sites
While focusing on the big three (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), it’s important to consider the importance of the other sites such as; Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and Youtube when considering how to choose the right social media platform for your business. Each social media platform provides opportunities to connect with target audiences, has special brand and consumer features, and helps you stand out from the competition.
As per Davies in his article, “Meet the 7 Most Popular Search Engines in the World”, YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google, highlighting the importance of video content in today’s modern world. YouTube can be used for showcasing expertise in in-depth tutorials, product demonstrations, and digital storytelling. It’s for both B2C and B2B businesses who produce longer-form content or documentaries, with the option to create short-form clips from these long-form videos, catering to audiences with shorter attention spans. With options for monetization, businesses can also earn revenue through ads, sponsored content, and merchandise.
Meanwhile, Twitter (now X), is largely used by B2B companies because it offers marketers a chance to attract leads, interact with clients, and increase brand awareness. B2C companies can use X as a direct communication channel with customers, addressing questions and resolving issues promptly. X provides a three-fold communication channel, making it a valuable platform for sharing updates, news, and participating in trending conversations:
- One-to-One: Targeted conversation to elicit responses.
- One-to-Many: Advertising technique that promotes a mass message.
- Many-to-Many: This promotes mass dialogue.
Newer forms of social media infotainment like Snapchat and TikTok have the ability to cater to both B2B and B2C. Snapchat has features like Snapchat Stories, which allows businesses to create engaging, short-form content, perfect for showcasing behind-the-scenes glimpses, promotions, or product launches. Snapchat’s AR filters and lenses can provide creative opportunities for interactive marketing campaigns.
If your target audience consists primarily of Gen Z users, TikTok is a platform you probably shouldn’t ignore. TikTok specializes in short-form videos, making it ideal for showcasing products, sharing quick tips, and creating engaging brand challenges using hashtags or starting trends. Both Snapchat and TikTok are popular among the younger generations, allowing businesses a chance to stay relevant and keep-up with the latest trends.
The right social media platform should align with your business goals, target audience demographics, content strategy, and resources available for social media marketing for a well-rounded social media strategy.
By now, you should know enough about the differences between the various business models and which social media sites are best suited to each one. To carry-out further research into YOUR needs and desires with regards to social media marketing, 1st on the List are your one-stop shop SEO organization who are more than qualified to boost your online presence.
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