What social media should I use? A beginner’s guide

What social media should I use? A beginner’s guide

Social media must be a key component for your company’s digital strategy. Gone are the days when people type in their favorite website URLs to regularly visit. They now just follow their brands on social media, getting their news, updates and information through those platforms. In today’s fast-paced, informational overload environment, if you’re not posting on a regular basis to be seen, you risk being forgotten as out-of-sight = out-of-mind online.

But this doesn’t mean you have to sign up for every platform. It’s more effective if you have the means, resources and time to devote yourself fully to your choice platforms as best as you can, rather than half-heartedly engage with a social media site you just can’t get interested in. Read on to help you decide which platforms are best for you.

1. Facebook: The biggest and most versatile social media platform in the world, Facebook is a must for any brand. The platform boasts 2.38 billion monthly users, so there is a huge potential audience for your business. Plus, you can effectively post all kinds of different content, including copy, graphics, videos and website links, to reach people. Facebook continues to expand its services so you can quickly set up events, product links for purchase, customize your page and advertising, and receive detailed analytic data.
Pros: Biggest platform; versatile and customizable
Cons: Changes newsfeed algorithm often; privacy data concerns; occasionally buggy for page managers.

2. YouTube: With 1.9 billion monthly active users, YouTube is the second biggest social platform behind Facebook. Video receives high engagement and views on social media, so moving into video will help expand your online profile and reach. Obviously, the trick is having a creator who is familiar with working with video. However, many creators are doing well with DIY productions, plus YouTube provides a free service to upload videos to share on your platforms without having to worry about storage space. If you need to learn how to shoot and edit video, YouTube is a fantastic source as well, because there are lots of channels that will walk you through the creation process.
Pros: Essential tool for video creators; wide reach, including TV streaming devices
Cons: Lack of control in approving “recommended” videos from YouTube

3. WhatsApp: A messaging platform that offers alternatives to texting, sharing and calls, WhatsApp has 1.5 billion monthly active users and is one of the largest platforms in the world. WhatsApp Business is a secondary app for the company that allows small businesses to have a space on the platform to respond and organize messages from customers.
Pros: The app features several automated options for page owners to quickly reply to questions without missing a beat
Cons: The Business app is separate from the main WhatsApp app

4. Instagram: Instagram is the fastest growing social media brand in the world, with 1 billion active users making it the 4rd largest platform. It’s a photo and video sharing site, so if your business has a visual component, this will be a good platform to use. It also has a younger demographic using it, and is owned by Facebook, so there are cross posting and advertising compatibility features.
Pros: Visual, ease to use platforms for creators and users
Cons: Sharing other content or directing audiences to links off Instagram is complicated

5. LinkedIn: The social media platform for professionals, LinkedIn lets users post about their achievements, best practices and job resources. If your business is B2B, then LinkedIn would be the ideal platform to reach engaged users. LinkedIn has about 260 million monthly active users.
Pros: Great for professionals; designed and used similar to Facebook
Cons: Reaching consumer audiences more difficult

6. Pinterest: This is a platform that combines the micro blogging of Twitter with images of Instagram, offering informational resources for users they can “pin” on their boards to share and save for future reference. Pinterest has 250 million monthly users and can be a great place to offer tips and best practices for your followers to share and grow your audience.
Pros: Opportunity to offer tips and have content shared
Cons: Smaller audience; need to be graphically included for brand success

7. Snapchat: Another photo and video sharing platform, Snapchat allows users to create content that will automatically delete after 24 hours and add stickers, copy and graphics to their visual posts. Shapchat currently has about 30.1 million active monthly users.
Pros: Exciting platform to build your brand and story for creatives
Cons: Once the rage, Snapchat’s features have been co-opted by Instagram and Facebook and has lost popularity

8. Twitter: This micro blogging platform offers users the ability to write posts of up to 280 characters, and you can also upload links, photos and videos. They have a reported 3.21 million active monthly user base that leans heavily toward reading and providing news and commentary. While some popular Twitter users often use the platform to make news headlines, if your company doesn’t have much to provide with daily updates and opinions, this is probably not the platform to focus on.
Pros: Great for exposure if you have a unique, engaging voice
Cons: Easy to miss content; very reactionary feedback

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