Choosing the right social media as your marketing tool is like picking the right café for the right occasion. You don’t want an overly intimate setting café for a creative meeting where the person sitting right beside you could be a competitor that’s eavesdropping on your amazing idea and implementing it before you do without any credits. Just like finding the right café, you want to make sure that you are choosing the right form of social media as your channel of communication with your end users. With the ever growing industrial in the social media sector, it can be hard for businesses to harness and keep up with all the new forms of social presences. So to help those who are a bit overwhelmed by social media, here’s a quick summary of various social media and how it can be your ideal marketing tool.
Facebook is the most popular type of social media that has yet to face a competitor with the ability to replace its status quo. It’s a user friendly and collaboration friendly platform where you can link all the other social media you have into one central place like a virtual hub. It’s good for organizations and company to utilize their ‘Pages’ function where users can connect, comment and share the contents. It’s a great way for people to have a direct dialogue (ie. customer service related issue) and have an approachable persona where the users feel like they are valued.
Twitter is also a must have for most businesses as it is very similar to Facebook in the sense that users are included to the discussions around a particular company/organization. You can chime in your two cents without the judgmental feeling as others are only limited to the information you post on your profile, which is different compared to Facebook where people can see additional information if you don’t restrict your security settings. The challenge with Twitter is that it is a very time sensitive medium (which is why people consider this the newest form of modern day journalism) largely due to the fact that it has a limit of 150 characters. It’s the most direct and fastest way to get your ideas out especially when you know which specific kinds of hashtag (#) will help leverage/spread the word.
In my own opinion, Pinterest is like the digital facelift of scrapbooking. It’s all about the visuals and putting together mood boards that reflect on certain projects, whether it’s an event, a hobby or for product ideation. It’s also a great way for companies/organizations to display their catalogue since users can share the images and categorize them for different usages as well as engaging in direct contact for making purchases without going to an alternative website.
Instagram is like the visual version of Twitter. Since most people are visual readers (preferring images over texts) the content is more engaging compared to a tweet. The advantage for companies/organizations to use Instagram is that they can create a more intimate ‘behind the scene’ scenarios with it’s end user such as major labels posting pictures of behind the scenes before the fashion show starts. Again, you can also increase your viewership by using hashtags (#) as well as being featured on their ‘Explore’ page if you receive enough ‘likes’.
Youtube is the platform that revolutionized on how the average Joe can make an impact in society with digital media. It’s a video sharing application where viewership of videos posted on the website is driven by the mass public. Most companies/organizations that has a strong media presence (such as record labels and TV production) utilizes Youtube to create attention in the virtual world with minimal production cost as memberships are free and non-register users can also contribute to the number of views per video (a key KPI for the account users).
Vimeo is like Youtube’s artsy cousin whose main users are predominantly design professionals (unless you are a video game producer/promoter since they banned all gaming videos as of July 21, 2008 due to the file sizes). Like Youtube, Vimeo allows users share videos by posting them on the website. The main difference aside from the audience base of Vimeo is that the interaction on the website is mostly between account holders. The level of presence from large corporate companies is also a lot lower (no advertisement before or after viewing any videos) which gives it a more grassroot feel.
LinkedIn is almost like the business version of Facebook (also reminds me a bit of online dating site except the person you are trying to impress are recruiters/hiring managers from various companies). It transforms your resume into an engaging profile where new connections are made with potential and existing professional contacts. LinkedIn is viewed to be more professional/work related mainly because a lot of companies (large firms and small startups) acquire talents directly by previewing the candidate’s experiences online with their profile before having further engaging into a work prospect. By having a social presence in LinkedIn, the company/organization or the individual would appear to be more experienced.
Being the newest member of the social media family, Google+ is still making its way to match the popularity levels of Facebook and Twitter. The main difference that it has compared to its counterparts is that it enables the users to ‘organize’ their social relations with the ‘Circle’ function. ‘Stream’ is similar to Facebook’s commenting function and like Facebook, you can filter which posts you want to view from specific ‘Circles. Another unique social aspect of Google+ is their ‘Hangouts’. You’ve probably heard and have used video chat in one application or another but Google ‘Hangouts’ takes video group chat to the next level but facilitating it to a maximum of 10 people in a single video session. Although Google ‘Hangout’ is only currently available to a few countries, a lot of active social media users take advantage of this function to convey their message to a mass audience in real time, like a virtual social lounge. Google+ enables the user to overlap various Google functions such as Gchat and Google Events, which makes it a multi purpose platform.
I know this may seem overwhelming due to the amount of information so on my next post, I will try to create a diagram which visualizes these social mediums with their main usages.