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What is the best social media platform? Part One

Ben Pindar posted this on

At every training session I host, I tell those attending to consider what questions their customers are asking so they can identify the key words they need to be using in their online and social content. By targeting these key words and phrases they can quickly create content that guarantees they are found on search engines like Google and, ultimately, win the business and build the contacts they need.

And, at these sessions and in my day to day life, the question I’m asked the most is: “What is the best social media platform?”

The quick answer is there isn’t one.

A guide to social media platforms

With that in mind, I’ve created this guide to social media. The truth is, the more platforms you use to share your content and insights, the better. However, you also need to make sure the time you are investing in social media updates is well spent and that means targeting the platforms your customers are using.

I’d thought I’d use this blog to highlight some of the key platforms now available and provide a simple guide to those that are most suitable for your business. With sites including a social network for cooks called Cucumbertown, house music focussed PartyFlock and the intriguingly titled VampireFreaks.com muddying the waters, I’ve picked out the best for businesses and provided an overview of their uses.

Crucially, I’ve provided some tips on what they should be used for.

In part one of the blog I’ll look at the mainstream platforms and in part two, I’ll look at the rising stars, the potential next big thing and some of the international social media platforms that may be worth considering.

The social media big five

  • Facebook – The big daddy of the social media world with around 1.3bn active users worldwide. The site has a shifting demographic with younger users now moving to alternatives, but it still spans a wide age range and the globe.
    How should you use it? Facebook is best suited for business to consumer marketing and is currently seen as the most effective for consumer engagement and for consumer advertising.
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    Twitter – Instant, engaging and hugely popular with around 560 million active users. Twitter is the Swiss Army Knife of the social media world and is effective for both B2C and B2B communications.

    How should you use it? Use this site to share links to your content, engage with key contacts, join conversations and promote your offer.

     

  •  LinkedIn – The undisputed champion of the B2B world, LinkedIn has around 240 million users worldwide and is growing fast. It has a clear goal to be the world’s leading database of professionals in the world and is ideal for targeting businesses, finding key contacts and seeking and sharing business insights.
    How should you use it? Use this to demonstrate your expertise, identify potential customers and build relationships.
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    Google+ – The problem child of the social media giants. Google has big ambitions for its social media offer but is still struggling to sell the benefits to the online world. It has 1.6bn registered users, but only around 400 million of these actively use it. The chances are that Google+ will become the social media king so it’s worth engaging with the platform now. Most importantly, share all of your content through Google+ as Google rewards this loyalty by ranking you higher in search results.

  • How should you use it? It’s a must use, even if you don’t really get it. By sharing content on Google+ you stand a much better chance of getting to the top of page one.
  • YouTube – With 1bn visitors a month, Youtube is a powerful marketing channel for businesses. Couple this with the increased impact video has in communicating messages to your potential customers and it cannot be ignored.

  • How should you use it? Youtube is best used by creating a dedicated channel and then embedding the videos in your site. Also share links to your Youtube content through the others social media channels.
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    Put simply, Facebook is the best platform for business to consumer and LinkedIn is the best for business to business. Everyone should be using Twitter and Google+ to make sure their message is heard and ranked accordingly.

    YouTube is growing in importance because of the growing impact of videos for business marketing. Again, everyone should look to create a stream of video content and for some top tips on how to do that, check out this blog.

    Inevitably, I’ll have overlooked or overstated something, so I’d love to hear your thoughts on what platforms work for you and what tips you have for anyone else trying to navigate the choppy waters of social media.

    Social media is an ever-changing feast and, in part two, I’ll look at the sites that may one day topple these online giants.

    Comments:

    1. Hi Ben,
      Wanted to present view from Cucumbertown perspective. The platform is intended not to be just a social network for cooks. We also aim to provide all the home cooks out there an opportunity to present their craft to a like-minded community – reach out of their circle of family and friends to a wider audience. In that sense, Cucumbertown is like Dribbble or Soundcloud. If you love cooking, I hope you will try out the platform and comment upon the tools we have developed specifically for recipe writing, showcasing you to an existing community and elegant design in which your content is published. Thanks!

    2. Ankit, many thanks for expanding on the benefits of Cucumbertown and outlining how people can engage with this social media platform.
      It’s a great example of how social media can be used to unite like-minded individuals and create a community where insights and experiences can be shared to the benefit of all.
      Social media presents significant opportunities to communicate with a targeted audience and Cucumbertown is testament to that. By delivering the content people want to read and being generous with your experiences, you can quickly establish yourself as an expert in your field and, crucially, improve your search engine rankings and ensure your message is being heard.

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