The main aim of any business is to maximize profit, and this can only be achieved with an adequate number of customers. The basics of business tell us that to increase the number of customers, at least some advertising has to be done. Online social media platforms are a great way to increase the exposure of your business to new customers. The best online social media platforms are usually the ones that have the most active users. This list typically includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat and LinkedIn.
Active accounts by platform:
- Facebook: 2,603 million*
- Instagram: 1,082 million*
- Twitter: 326 million*
- Google+: 375 million****
- LinkedIn: 700 million***
- Pinterest: 367 million*
- YouTube: 2,000 million unique users/month**
- Snapchat: 397 million*
*Source: Statista, as of August 2020
**Source: Dustin Stout as of October 2020
***Source: Hubspot as of May 2020
****Source: Mezzanine as of 2020
In order to choose the best social media platform, it has to have at least two of the following characteristics:
- Cost effective.
- Have the maximum possible number of potential customers.
- Easily accessible by potential customers.
- Able to capture the attention of the potential customers.
- Allow interactions between users, advertisers, and customers.
How you decide your presence to be on a specific social media platform depends on how you weigh the site’s advantages and disadvantages and its effectiveness in attracting potential customers. Let’s dive right into the most popular social media platforms and what their pros and cons are for your business.
- It’s one of the cheapest ways of advertising. A single ad on Facebook can run for as little as $1 per day.
- Creating a Facebook pixel can help you track certain actions by Facebook users after coming across your ad. This helps ensure you have very specific feedback as well.
- It has the widest and most diverse audience because a lot of people use it.
- It allows the use of videos, 360º images and all sorts of media for a greater variety of ads besides print or banner ads.
- Facebook is simple to use.
- The newsfeed on Facebook is cluttered and does not get the attention of most people.
- Facebook’s algorithm constantly changes, reducing the opportunity for your ads to be seen.
- Some Facebook users experience irrelevant ads so sometimes targeting a specific audience still needs improvement.
- It ensures that you are able to contact your biggest and potential customers directly. This assures the advertiser of spreading new products, initiatives, ideas as well as receiving feedback.
- Twitter is one of the social media platforms with highest engagement rates, which ensures success in creating organic content (meaning free content).
- Your ad messages are designed to spread quickly because of features such as retweeting. Twitter users can pass along a message from one set of followers to another.
- Twitter’s hashtags feature offer the most simple indexing of content, making marketing on Twitter concise and quick.
- It allows the use of photos and videos accompanied in tweets so customers can receive rich media content.
- One of the best converting social media platforms, with high traffic rates to drive people to your website.
- It has a hard 280-character limit that makes it difficult to communicate in extensive detail.
- The high risk of hacking which can lead to spreading of false or misleading information that can quickly damage your brand.
- Lower number of users compared to other platforms.
- Fastest rising social media platform, expected to be the leader in a couple of years.
- It allows the use of pictures and videos enabling the advertiser to visually show off their products.
- Instagram has photo-editing features to make the photos appear more appealing.
- The images offered in Instagram enables the customer to have knowledge about the products.
- It has a high visibility of posts as they are of high quality.
- Fun features such as reels, filters and Live videos allow for more dynamic content for your followers.
- Requires the advertiser to have high technology cameras and photography experience in order to make great quality photos to best display your product.
- Instagram is only available on smartphones so it may not reach certain audiences who don’t have the Instagram app.
- URLs are not functional on posts unlike Facebook or Twitter, which means your copy will only be seen as text.
- The algorithm has changed to show not the latest posts but the ones with most engagement or the ones more relevant to your audience, so you have to work harder to give them more exposure.
- The perfect platform for B2B advertising, since LinkedIn is a social network strictly for career, jobs, business and professionals.
- Users are more receptive to advertising because it is a professional networking platform.
- Great platform to publish your resume, look for jobs, and overall enhance your professional reputation by interacting with your peers.
- Ads can be tailored and targeted to very specific audiences based on attributes tracked by LinkedIn such as; specific industries, job titles, companies, or LinkedIn groups/affiliations.
- It allows you to see exactly how large your target audience is once you have selected your attributes so you know in advance how many potential people your ad will reach.
- LinkedIn generates 5 times more traffic than other social media channels.
- Advertising on LinkedIn is expensive. LinkedIn imposes a minimum of a $2 cost-per-click requirement to advertise on their platform. So, for each user who clicks on your ad, you’ll pay $2 to LinkedIn.
- Limitations and size constraints on your ads. You must tailor your ads to fit into LinkedIn’s limits, which can hamper the effectiveness of your message.
- While engagement is higher, it’s rarely related to conversions from individual clients. This means LinkedIn is not ideal for all types of businesses.
- While you can use LinkedIn for free, you’ll only get 100% of its functions and advantages by paying for the Premium version via monthly subscription.
- Google+ Hangouts allows you to host special forums or get-togethers, which is a more interactive way to connect with potential customers than typical online ads.
- Allows the use of hashtags and always adds them where they are appropriate.
- Having a Google+ account boosts your website’s SEO and search ranks of your business site.
- Your website content will be automatically indexed by Google.
- It is not as popular and, therefore, has fewer users than other platforms such as Facebook or Twitter so your ads reach fewer people.
- Lower engagement rates, traffic might come from Google searches instead of Google+ posts.
- Not integrated with other social media dashboards. Whereas other social media platforms integrate with tools to update your content on all platforms simultaneously, Google+ is not integrated so you have to specifically log into Google+ and manage your content.
- Being owned by Google, this social media platform offers all of Google’s advertising platform without having to invest in a different platform.
- It’s all about video content, so you can show off and promote your business or products in more creative ways.
- Allows the chance for viral marketing.
- Allows multiple video marketing channels.
- It’s integrated with other social media platforms.
- You can optimize your advertising with the use of keywords.
- It is incredibly competitive due to the vast amount of video content already available on YouTube.
- Because it is video, your content needs to be compelling and capture the attention of your audience.
- Video ads and content can be more expensive to produce than other forms of advertising. You’ll need to have a professional video maker or hire a video expert to create engaging content.
- The best social media platform to be on if your customers are mainly women.
- It’s pictures so it’s ideal for showcasing products and services visually.
- It’s very easy to generate referral traffic to your site.
- Allows for great brand visibility because anyone can pin and repin your content onto their board, which is linked back to your site.
- Best recommended for services related to food, lifestyle, fashion or tutorials.
- Since 81% of its users are women, you might be reaching a limited target audience.
- You have no control over how your content is shared. People can pin and repin your images anywhere. Because it’s very easy to share information on Pinterest and everything is public, you cannot tailor to a specific audience and your content may be shared on unrelated (or even undesirable) boards.
- The best social media tool for younger demographics (half of its users are between 18 and 24 years old.
- Visual content added value that implies better engagement from users and potential customers.
- You can also invest in an add that appears on the “Discovery” section on Snapchat and increase your showcase.
- One of the best social medias for a “one-on-one” approach to get to know your customers on a personal level.
- The users’ statistics are very limited. Unless you send a video to someone directly to their user account, there’s no way of knowing if people saw your content.
- The 24-hour period allows for very limited content, as well as the 10-second limit for videos and images.
- There is no re-share option so your users can’t take your content directly from your platform and make it reach more accounts.
As you can see, nowadays the array of social media platforms is extensive and all of them offer certain features that might make it more or less ideal for you to include in your digital marketing strategy. We hope checking out this guide helped you realize which platforms are best for you and what are the advantages you’ll be getting and the disadvantages you’ll have to face in order to succeed.