7 Top Social Media Platforms Explained

Social media marketing is expanding rapidly, along with the number of platforms available. Below is a brief explanation of the top 7 platforms along with some advice to help you choose the best one to meet the needs of your business.

Depending on your business one platform alone is not necessarily enough. The best social media marketing plan often includes various platforms, but used for different purposes. The graphic below shows the top 7, and the percentage of marketers using each in 2016.

  1. Facebook: An on-line social networking service launched in 2004. It has 1.65 billion monthly active users, of which 31 million are in UK. 60% of the population have a Facebook account. It is the most recognised platform and seen as an “all-rounder”, making it a great starting point for a company taking the first steps into social media marketing. Business pages can attract page likes from ‘fans’ who can then interact and engage with content posts. Paid for advertising is available. Businesses can use it to:
    • Share useful information
    • Gather feedback
    • Promote goods & services
    • Create awareness
    • Handle complaints
    • Boost sales (via paid for advertising)
  2. Twitter: An on-line social networking service launched in 2006. It has 310 million monthly active users, of which it is estimated that 14 million are in the UK. A Tweet is a short message, 140 characters max. It can include videos and photos, you can prefix your words with hashtags to make them a searchable link. Twitter can work as an extension of your customer service department, it’s also a great tool for listening to what your competitors are up to or updates in your industry sector. Businesses can use it to:
    • Share short updates, videos and images
    • Handle customer service by maintaining an active presence, positive and negative
    • Quickly spread content messages – retweets (when users share your content) is very simple
    • Promote goods and services. The use of hashtags and if yours starts trending you have the potential to reach a huge audience at a faster speed than any other platform
    • Brand awareness
  3. LinkedIn: A business-orientated social networking service launched in 2003. It has over 60 million views in the UK each month. Over 1 million professionals have written a post on LinkedIn. It differs to other platforms as it is almost all business to business, not business to consumer. Businesses can use it to:
    • Boost leads via introductions
    • Gain client retention through relationship building
    • Recruit quality personnel
  4. YouTube: A video sharing website launched in 2005. It has 1.3 billion monthly users, of which 80% are outside the US. 5 billion videos are watched every day on this platform. A huge advantage of YouTube is it allows you to reach a worldwide audience. There is no language barrier with video material. Businesses can use it to:
    • Market products or services
    • Gain global product and brand awareness
    • Improve google search results when combining articles with video material
  5. Google+: An interest-based social network launched in 2011. It is popular with online marketing professionals. It is not as popular as the other platforms but it shouldn’t be overlooked because of its connection to Google. Nearly 70% of searches are conducted on Google. Businesses can use it to:
    • Share content
    • Increase chance of Google’s local search results, especially if the business has an actual location
    • Appear higher in google search ratings as everything posted on Google Plus for Business pages is immediately indexed by Google
    • Boost footfall and website traffic
  6. Instagram: An app based mobile photo and video sharing social network service launched in 2010. The network, owned by Facebook, has more than 400 million monthly active users, 14 million of which are in the UK. It is almost entirely mobile and is growing fast! The platform is all about pictures and short videos, seeing is believing. Businesses can use it to:
    • Increase brand and product awareness by showcasing products visually
    • Ensure content is seen by followers as unlike some of the larger platforms there is no algorithm used that decides who sees what content
    • Engage with customers as statistically Instagram, although a smaller audience, has the highest engagement rate
  7. Pinterest: A web and mobile application that operates a photo sharing website launched in 2010. It attracts around 11 million unique visitors in the UK. Similar to Instagram this is purely visual and completely image based. Users create themed digital bulletin boards where images can be “pinned”. In the UK it receives over 3 million pins a day. It is becoming increasingly popular as it is quick and easy to use. Businesses can use it to:
    • Increase brand and product awareness as users repin or link your images
    • Quickly convert leads as Pinterest is proven to achieve this faster than any other social media source
    • Track customers trends as it is easy to see what people engage with and share

As you can see the choice is vast, and there are others too. However, social media networks are important resources for businesses, the opportunity to reach a much wider audience simply cannot be overlooked. Remember though it’s important to choose and use with the social platforms that work best for your business.

Need more advice?

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