Social Media has altered the landscape of education, communication, and business significantly. It is enabling unprecedented levels social interaction and community building. This is across boundaries of time, place and social context.
No wonder, businesses leverage all possible channels to achieve the following.
to build brand awareness
increase their sales
make their online presence felt
Conceptualize your digital marketing strategy for 2021. Take full advantage of these various forms of social media.
When you have a task is to start a social media strategy for your company. You might be wondering which type of platforms you should be on. Your platform choice will likely change based on your audience.
What is Social Media Used For?
Individuals use social media to express themselves. They discuss their interests, connect with friends, and grow their careers. Different social media platforms have specific purposes.
For example, expressing creativity is most common on TikTok or Instagram. It promotes one’s career is common on LinkedIn.
The list of social media platforms is growing. Well-known platforms like Facebook are always evolving and adding new features.
There is a greater need for a social presence and an overwhelming amount of platform choices. it can be hard to pick which social channels to use.
You might not want to spread yourself too thin by managing a channel on every imaginable platform. But you also don’t want to miss great brand awareness opportunities.
To help you make informed decisions about which platforms to use. This post will guide you through some of the core types of social media. It includes examples of platforms within each category, and the pros and cons that each type.
By the end, you should have a much clearer idea of what kind of social media strategy will work for your business.
Types of Social Media
Examples of Major Platforms
Facebook: 2.6 billion monthly active users
Twitter: 166 million daily active users
LinkedIn: 160 million users in the U.S. alone
Social networking is possibly the most traditional form of social media.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are often called “networking” platforms. They allow user accounts to interact with each other in a variety of different ways.
A small business, like a restaurant, can start a social strategy on a platform like Facebook. With Facebook, you can build a business profile. You can include links to your website and details about your menu.
Once your profile is all set up, you can post regular updates about your business. You can also“like” other pages, and answer customer post comments or messages. Business profiles also allow other Facebook users to give you reviews.
LinkedIn is another great way to grow your company. It offers a professional service, B2B, or publishing companies. LinkedIn emphasizes career-related networking.
Brands can build an audience of professionals from different industries. They can create a business profile there. They can categorize it with an industry type, and then use posts and messaging to publish updates.
They can also use messaging and comment features. They can interact with their audiences, or users who comment on their posts.
A Twitter account could be helpful to companies in a wide spectrum of industries. This can be from entertainment to e-commerce. This platform allows you to create a profile. You can list and link company information.
You can then use Twitter for the following;
to post about company updates
tag companies or customers in posts
retweet positive customer tweets
respond to customer questions via tweet or direct messages
you can also post content like photos or videos like Facebook
On all three networks, users can easily communicate with others. Simple actions like tagging, hashtagging, commenting, private messaging, reacting to posts, and re-sharing content.
Aside from social interaction, newsfeeds on common social networking platforms are designed to show off a mix of text and visuals, rather than one primary content type.
This flexibility makes it social networking platforms easy to begin a social strategy. You can experiment with different forms of content before branching out to platforms. They need more specific content types.
For those who want to dabble in video or graphics, these platforms could be a great place to test this new content. The growth of video marketing launches more advanced features like Facebook Stories and Twitter’s live streams.
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also started to encourage native video and photo uploads more heavily. Recently, Facebook even adjusted its algorithms to favor live video and image uploads. This has caused these types of native content to gain greater user engagement. If you’re still not sure where to get started, check out our beginner’s guides for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Pros and ConsPros
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are some of the most prominent used social media.
Social networking sites often integrate with scheduling tools. Examples of these are HubSpot, Hootsuite, and TweetDeck software.
All platforms have capabilities for photo and video.
Those interested in posting links may have a harder time getting engagement than those uploading photos and videos.
Some platforms, like Facebook, put individual user posts higher than business posts in newsfeeds.
Instagram offers a visual feed with posts showing photos and short videos. Followed by a caption. Users can also post a live video or create Instagram Stories that disappear after one day. Users can interact with others through tags, likes, comments, or direct messages.
This platform would be helpful to companies like restaurants or stores. They can photograph, display and update followers about their food, goods, or products.
Instagram has become a home to influencer marketing. As 93% of influencer campaigns took place on the platform in 2018. It also offers opportunities for advertising and eCommerce. It is because of its highly visual layout.
Instagram emphasizes visuals and doesn’t allow link sharing directly in posts. Basic users on Instagram can only share links in their bio. Verified users, or accounts with over 10,000 followers, can post links in their Stories.
Basic users have minimal linking options. Instagram has tried to make the platform even more friendly for eCommerce businesses. This is possible with the addition of Shoppable posts.
Pinterest is well-suited for eCommerce companies. Such as those who sell home goods, and businesses. If they would like a place to share crisp standalone product images with links.
It similarly offers a photo-based feed with posts. They can include a photo and a short description. It allows all users to link directly to websites or product landing pages in posts. This is different from Instagram.
One interesting aspect of the platform is that users can hear posts from others. They also assign them to a themed “board.”
For example, users might make boards centered around topics. Examples are “Inspirational Quotes” or “Bedroom products.”
Once aboard is created, other users can also follow it. A business could potentially make a board with its own product posts. They can find their products on another user’s board.
You’ll want to determine whether your goal is to gain brand awareness or link-based traffic. This is before getting started on one or both of these platforms.
Instagram and Pinterest can both be helpful tools. They are helpful for product shots and brand awareness. Instagram’s active audience is much larger than Pinterest’s. Instagram has also hosted over 25 million business profiles.
When choosing a platform, you may want to consider your content-related bandwidth. Both need visual imagery. But you might also need to include video creation within your Instagram strategy.
Here’s a great guide that demonstrates what it takes to gain followers on Instagram.
Pros and Cons
Platforms like Instagram help with brand awareness. Approximately 60% of people say they’ve learned about products or services on Instagram.
Pinterest and Instagram provide an outlet for showing off visual content or product shots.
Platforms like Instagram also allow you to experiment with visual or short video content
Upkeep on these platforms might require a photo budget or dedicated production time.
Some platforms, like Instagram, require you to post from a mobile app.
Examples of Major Platforms
YouTube: Over 2 billion monthly active users
Vimeo: 240 million monthly viewers
Roughly 88% of marketers say video gives them a strong ROI. While 90% feel the level of video competition has increased.
Adding a video platform to your social strategy could make your brand look relevant. It can keep you up to speed with your competitors. Video can be helpful to a wide range of industries. A restaurant could have a vlog with cooking tips. A technology company might focus its video strategy around product demos.
To help you pin down a strategy that’s right for your industry and service, check out our video marketing guide.
When it comes to long-form video, YouTube and Vimeo are the leading platforms. YouTube has a bigger audience base and better SEO capabilities. While Vimeo’s smaller platform is very community-driven.
YouTube also seems to have better opportunities for advertisers and monetization. Vimeo offers viewers the perk of no pre-roll ads.
For a longer list of similarities and differences, check out this head-to-head piece. We will compare the business capabilities of Vimeo and YouTube.
The more traditional social networking platforms began to embrace video marketing more aggressively.
In the last few years, Facebook launched Facebook Stories and Facebook Live. It also added a tab on their mobile app dedicated to video. Meanwhile, Twitter has allowed users to launch live video streams. Powered by its Periscope software.
Pros and ConsPros
Videos can be longer than on other social platforms.
The content might take more time and money to create.
These platforms require more backend tasks like SEO.
Examples of Major Platforms
Snapchat: 229 daily active users
TikTok: 100 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone
Apps like Snapchat and TikTok allow users to share photos and videos. They also have a variety of unique interactive and highly experimental features. These two apps include AR/VR filters, musical overlays, and interactive games. Their audience bases are also prominently Gen-Z.
Large companies are starting to experiment with these new applications. Marketers who are beginning a social strategy don’t need to focus on these interactive apps.
The large companies on these platforms tend to produce high production-level content. Brands with large followings can publish Snapchat Stories or videos curated by fans.
These strategies might be difficult for a company that’s starting out on social. If the company has no budget. Brands and influencers cater their content to younger audiences on these apps.
For example, Snapchat presents beauty tutorials, wellness tips, news, or trendy new products.
There are still a few viable ways if you’re really interested in interactive media. You could get involved with Snapchat or TikTok.
Major brands, like VICE and BuzzFeed,, have become Snapchat Discover partners. The average business can still create a Snapchat business account. This account can be searchable and friended by users. This allows you to send publish temporary stories, just like individual accounts can. But, those with a business account can also buy ad space. If you’ve set up an account, check out this guide to getting started on Snapchat.
Large businesses may find value in all five. Smaller businesses may lean more towards “In-Feed Ads.” These ads are 9-15 second clips that can be skipped by the user.
Guess is one notable brand. It has used its account to create trending campaigns with trendy hashtags. Universal Pictures has also had influencers create posts to promote its films.
You might want to make sure your industry and content fits in with the young age demographic. You should also try to properly estimate the time and money. You should go into keeping these accounts up to date and relevant.
Pros and ConsPros
These platforms are very creative and experimental.
They have young audiences, which can help brands better target Gen-Z.
Stories can be used to give your following a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.
Producing regular content could be expensive and time-consuming.
Business accounts aren’t promoted up-front on the Snapchat interface. You may want to promote your channel on your website or other social channels. Users will need to search for you with your Snapcode or username.
Tumblr and Reddit both allow users to post about interesting niches. This includes topics, like memes, events, politics, and pop culture. These platforms allow other users to share them. They can also add to the conversation with their own commentary.
Professional Uses Both blogging and community-building platforms could be helpful. For those who want to encourage discussion around very niche industries or topics. For example, you might see a discussion about anything. This can be from alternative health to machine learning.
By blogging, you can write posts about topics in your company’s industry and link them to your product or site. Many people have a blog on their website. But platforms like Tumblr might be great to use if you haven’t set this feature up. Also if you want to see what others in your industry are blogging about.
You could share a link or a post about a specific topic on a discussion board related to your industry. You can also see how users respond. You could also start your own board if a topic you’re looking to encourage discussion on doesn’t have one yet. This can be done on discussion sites like Reddit.
These two platforms encourage web chatter and post shares from users that care about the same topics.
When someone publishes something on Reddit, other users can up-vote or down-vote it. Up-voting makes a post-show up higher in Reddit feeds while down-voting does the opposite.
On Tumblr, the feeds are organized by time. However, a post can show up higher when it is re-shared by other users. When a user shares or interacts with your Tumblr content, they give it a note. When they reshare, they have the option to post a comment with the post that gets added to a thread.
Pros and ConsPros
Both platforms allow you to share text posts, photos, and videos. These can be about your business, brand, or individual thoughts.
These platforms enable you to start conversations about a topic.
Both platforms allow linking to outside websites.
Longer blog posts might take time to craft or write.
Getting downvoted on Reddit or no reaction from Tumblr users means your posts may go unseen.
Your audience might be too niche or limited to just those on the specific platform you use.
A Few Things to Consider Before you start logging in and setting up your accounts on a bunch of platforms, be sure to consider these factors:
How much time do you have to devote to strategizing around a social platform?
Do you have resources for creating graphics or videos?
Do your goals involve boosting brand awareness, or traffic and revenue?
Will you need more staff members to run this platform, or will it be easy to maintain?
Once you’re on a platform or two, be sure to stay in the know of how it’s changing and what marketers are doing.
Social Media is the best source for one’s business to reach their target audience. It is important to know its features. It can also be helpful to be familiar with the pros and cons of these platforms.
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