Social media has quickly become an essential tool for businesses to get their brands out there among the masses. Many companies both large and small are jumping onto the bandwagon with reckless abandon, often to mixed results. So how do you make the most of your social media presence? The key is in what platforms you choose to adopt. With so many different social media options out there, each one offers unique advantages and drawbacks. Once you know what type of audience you want to attract for your business, you'll be able weigh the pros and cons and select a platform that's right for you.
Pros: Obviously, Facebook is the most popular social network out there (more than one billion users and counting), so making a Facebook page means putting your product before the most people. Facebook also offers handy tools to help you track your fans and gauge page statistics. It's also a great platform for running contests and competitions (check out Nu Skin's Facebook page for a good example of this).
Cons: Facebook practically necessitates interacting with fans, so if you don't have the personnel to engage on the network, it might not be the best choice. Facebook is also best suited for mobile devices, which can often adversely affect your company's Facebook page.
Pros: YouTube is a wonderful way to interact with fans since videos are more likely to be shared and go viral. Companies can also use the site to shape customer sentiment more effectively than other social sites out there.
Cons: While videos can be entertaining and informative, they also need to be of good quality, and good quality usually requires more money and resources. Videos are also time consuming to make, while their overall effect on sales is tough to track.
Pros: Since all updates are posted in real-time on Twitter, you can send out posts with greater frequency. Twitter also allows for a little more privacy since followers can tweet you without others seeing it. It's also a great way to respond to customer complaints or questions.
Cons: At only 140 characters, Twitter doesn't give you much room to get a message out to your followers. It's also easy for users to miss your message since everything is posted on their timeline chronologically.
Pros: If you're looking for more professional followers, LinkedIn is the way to go. The site helps to build professional relationships and collaborate with experts in the field. LinkedIn also offers great recruitment tools.
Cons: LinkedIn definitely has fewer followers than Facebook (only about 50 million), so your reach wouldn't go as far. There's also less interaction on the site compared to other networks.
Pros: The photo site Instagram simply screams "fun" when engaging with customers. Instagram is very intuitive and easy to use, allowing for a lot of creativity while still providing a good structure for beginners. Instagram also uses hashtags to track conversations similar to Twitter.
Cons: Like YouTube, if you don't have the talent for photos, Instagram probably isn't the right platform for you. Sharing photos must all be done from mobile devices, and there isn't much space to describe your company outside of pictures.
The choice of social media platform is definitely an important one. If you choose one that plays to the strengths and talents of your business, you'll quickly see just how valuable social media can be. Carefully examine what each platform has to offer, and you're sure to make the right choice that will benefit your company for years to come.
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