Are All Social Media Platforms Created Equal?

Digital marketing channels have become more important over the past decade, through everything from email to served advertising and data collection. The real confluence point has been social media, which has quickly become both the driving force and a primary avenue for advertising and interacting with customers.

Social media isn’t a monolithic entity, however. While giants such as Facebook boast enormous monthly user bases, many smaller and more specialised platforms exist, from Youtube focusing on content creators and interaction to the professional-focus of LinkedIn.

In considering advertising on social media, then, a single approach won’t be equally effective across platforms. You need to consider each platform on its merits, such as the audience size, demographic makeup and even the sort of approach that might be most effective, in order to make best use of your social media marketing efforts.

Reach

An important metric when considering any marketing channel is the reach. Social media has a clear leader in Facebook, with nearly 1.5 billion active users monthly.

That said, the other contenders are far from small: Instagram sees over 100 million daily users, both Twitter and LinkedIn boast user counts in excess of 300 million, and Youtube claims five billion videos watched per day.

For strategies appealing to wide user bases, or preliminary efforts looking for data to help refine focus, Facebook would appear to be an obvious choice, simply because of market share. Almost one-quarter of the world’s population active monthly is hard to ignore.

The question then becomes: are numbers everything?

Audience

While Facebook clearly wins the numbers game, that isn’t always the most important factor to consider. If your customers are primarily professionals and businesses, the unfocused nature of Facebook isn’t likely to serve your purposes as well as another platform.

This is, however, where other platforms excel. LinkedIn, for example, may not have the raw user base, but it has an extremely high proportion of professionals, with almost 50 percent of its users claiming higher education qualifications and salaries greater than USD$75,000 per year, making it appealing for those marketing premium products and business services.

Approach

Different platforms will also benefit from vastly different approaches. Facebook is ideal for traditional marketing messaging, but simply posting these same messages on Twitter will get you nowhere.

On platforms focused on interactivity, such as Twitter and YouTube, marketers have the ability to engage directly with individuals who have self-selected as being interested in an issue or product. While this will never produce the raw reach of a platform such as Facebook, it allows businesses to interact directly with potential customers and enthusiasts; people who are far more likely to become keen followers of your brand.

What we have, therefore, are a number of platforms with different strengths, weaknesses, and effective approaches. If traditional messaging is what you pushing, reach might be your driving force. For a smaller business with a low budget but willing to put in some time, interacting directly with customers and potential partners on niche platforms may pay dividends. Matching your strategy and approach to the platform you choose is the recipe for success with social media.

Sources:
Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy:https://sproutsocial.com/insights/new-social-media-demographics/

 

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