Over recent years, social media has emerged as a central strand to the marketing strategies of a vast number of businesses. Organizations of all shapes and sizes have increasingly sought to harness the power of social networks to help them raise brand awareness, interact on a deeper level with customers and reach new followers.
“This has led to a proliferation of an ever-increasing range of available social media channels,” said Issa Asad, a social media expert and the CEO of Q Link Wireless, LLC, and Quadrant Holdings, LLC, located in Dania, Florida. Asad is also the author of the e-book, Instant Profits with Instagram.
While this represents a great opportunity for businesses, it also creates a challenge—particularly in cases of budget and time restrictions. You can’t “be everywhere,” so which social media channel is the most powerful way to tell your story? In this article, Asad explains some of the channels available and discusses some of their strengths and weaknesses.
Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social platforms in the world. It recently surpassed 300 million monthly active users (overtaking Twitter in the process.) Since being launched in 2010, over 30 billion photos have been shared, with a daily average of 70 million photos shared, garnering over 2.5 billion likes.
By allowing users to share photographs and quickly add filters, captions and hashtags to engage with their target audience, Instagram has justifiably developed a stellar reputation as a first-rate storytelling platform for brands. It’s also incredibly cost-effective, making it phenomenally quick and easy to create professional quality images.
Facebook is, without a doubt, the most used social network with 1.35 billion monthly active users—864 million of which actively logged in every day as of September 2014.
Users can share a range of content on Facebook, from comments and statuses to photos and videos. Due to Facebook algorithms, however, it’s often difficult for brands to reach their audience organically.
Nevertheless, a presence on Facebook remains a great strategy if you’re able to commit the time to source or create great content regularly, and reply to any comments or messages.
Twitter was launched in 2007 and boasts 284 million monthly active users—with around 500 million 140 character “Tweets” sent every day. Eighty percent of active users on Twitter browse using mobile devices, which means there’s a certain amount of immediacy with each post.
While Twitter does allow you to, theoretically, reach 100 percent of your audience with each Tweet, the obvious limitation is that you can only use 140 characters! As an ostensibly text-based platform, Twitter might also not be the best place to share visual content such as photo and video. It’s a great place to share content and respond to customers, but as a storytelling device, it comes up short against other options.
YouTube is the world’s most popular video-sharing website, with more than a billion unique monthly users. A staggering 6 billion hours of video are watched each month, and YouTube reaches more US adults aged 18 to 34 than any other cable network. Video is a great medium to help brands promote themselves, and studies show that users are willing to use YouTube for professional reasons—50 percent of users watch business-related videos, and over 65 percent will visit the marketer’s website after viewing. [source]
On the other hand, 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute so it’s certainly a competitive arena and only the best stories will stand out. Creating great video content can be expensive, too. YouTube is a fantastic platform for brand storytelling, but it does require a certain amount of hard work and financial outlay.
Google’s social network creates much debate among marketers. On the one hand, there’s no doubt that (as you’d probably expect) it’s the undisputed king of social media when it comes to SEO. It’s been suggested that social signals from Google+ plug directly into Google’s search algorithms and a strong presence can play a key role in lifting you up the rankings.
On the other hand, Google+ hasn’t been as widely adopted as some of its competitors and content often has a relatively low organic reach. Another limitation is that business profiles can only add other businesses to their Google+ “Circles”, making it a tough gig for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. Again, a presence on Google+ is probably advisable simply due to its key role in your search efforts.
LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world, with an estimated two new members joining the site every second. It’s a great lead generation tool for business-to-business (B2B) companies but, simply due to its status as a “professional” network, its success as a marketing tool has varying results.
For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is a great way to share and promote interesting, useful and relevant content that can play a part in telling brand stories. While it can be a useful tool for B2C marketers, it’s probably a smart move to allocate more time to other platforms if storytelling is your main aim and you’re on a tight schedule or budget.
There’s a dizzying amount of choices for businesses looking to build a presence on social media, and it can be tough to know where to allocate your time and resources. The truth is, the right choice mostly depends on your goals and objectives, and it’s important to weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of each platform before making a firm decision.
If you’re looking to tell your brand story, then, in Mr. Asad’s opinion, the best way to do this is to use visual content such as photography and video. This is the primary function of Instagram and YouTube and, purely due to limited expense and ease-of-use, we think you could do a lot worse than focus your time and energy onto Instagram.
To find out more about how to utilize Instagram as a tool to market your business, check out the new e-book, Instant Profits with Instagram, by marketing and social media strategist and best-selling author, Issa Asad.