Social media is one of the most powerful digital marketing tools nowadays. It is typically used to boost online visibility, increase brand awareness, expand audience reach, gain web traffic, as well as generate quality leads. However, it’s safe to say that not every social media platform works the same way. Some media sites are best for improving online visibility while others are used particularly for reaching a target audience.
If you’re tasked with building a social media strategy for a business profile, it’s crucial that you are well-versed in the different types of social media and platforms available for your marketing campaign. With that in mind, here’s a comprehensive guide and comparison of the different social media platforms used for digital marketing.
Benefits of Using Social Media for Marketing
According to the latest report, there are roughly 4.7 billion social media users worldwide. This accounts for more than half of the total population in the world. Taking this into account, one of the primary benefits of using social media as a marketing tool is it provides an avenue to reach a wider and larger audience.
Social media is also a viable tool used to provide important data and information about consumers and market behavior. Based on users’ online preferences, it offers marketers a picture of the current market trends and even consumer behavior. These are both crucial in creating suitable and effective digital marketing campaigns.
Lastly, social media platforms can also be a palace to provide necessary and timely customer service and support. One of the reasons why there are billions of social media users is because these platforms are easily accessible through an array of mobile devices. As much as people can browse through social media anytime and anywhere, online businesses can also offer real-time help to anyone with an inquiry. Quick-response messaging apps featured in almost every social media site serve as the primary medium for such fast and easy communication between consumers and businesses.
Types of Social Media
Before we go through the comparison between popular social media platforms, let’s first take a look at the broader spectrum of popular social media. Mistakenly, people often refer to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram generally as social media. However, social media is actually the term used to describe the categories to which these websites belong. Here’s a brief overview of the different types of social media used online.
Widely considered to be the most popular and traditional form of social media, social networking provides an avenue for its users to interact with each other to build a network of friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and the like. Some of the most popular social networking platforms include the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Account owners can connect, communicate, and interact with other users in a variety of ways. Generally, social networking sites come with features that allow content sharing such as text, photos, and video. However, it is important to note that the user interface and user experience are significantly different compared to solely photo-sharing and video-sharing platforms.
Aside from individuals, ecommerce stores and other online brands can also create a social networking account to connect with potential customers and other businesses. Through this, ecommerce businesses can utilize social networking as a marketing tool for B2B and B2C transactions.
Video content creation and video marketing are popular strategies used by digital marketers around the world. Data shows that a majority of 88% of marketers believe that video content provides significantly positive ROI. Taking this into consideration, video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and TikTok are becoming increasingly popular in recent years. Video-sharing sites are those specifically designed for users to conveniently share and consume video content.
Businesses can utilize video-sharing platforms by producing optimized video content. Using different types of videos makes it easier for businesses to engage their audience through entertaining or educational content. Marketers can post either short-form or long-form video content depending on the goal or objective of the video marketing campaign.
However, even the choice of video-sharing can influence the impact of a video marketing campaign. Generally, long-form video content performs best on platforms such as Vimeo and Youtube. On the other hand, TikTok is a video-sharing platform optimized for short-form video content.
Photo sharing is another form of social media that focuses on the type or quality of content instead of the interaction or connection. Platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram cater to this type of content and display photographs in a clean and aesthetically pleasing interface. This type of social media helps paint a picture of what is widely desirable, drawing the attention of millions of users who share the same interest and perception of what is good to look at. Whether it’s an individual, product, location, or event.
In recent years, Instagram became the home of so-called social media influencers. These people do not necessarily need to be artists, actors, or celebrities. However, they were able to establish themselves as somewhat public figures due to the number of their social media following. Given their access and influence over a large audience, marketers use these individuals to advertise or promote their products or services.
Popular Social Media Sites: Pros and Cons for Marketing
Different social media platforms offer unique advantages and disadvantages when it comes to digital marketing. This comes to the point that the success of your digital marketing campaign depends on your choice of social media and social media platforms. To help you even further, here’s a brief summary and comparison of some of the most popular social media platforms used for marketing.
With roughly 2.5 billion monthly active users in the world, Facebook ranks as the most popular social media platform globally. The latest reports show that a majority of 75% of Facebook users are women while most users belong to ages 18 to 30 years old. Facebook is also popular among the older generation with 79% and 65% of their average monthly users belonging to the 30 to 49 and 50 to 64 age groups respectively.
- A significantly large user base
- Introduction of Facebook Ads
- Detailed audience analytics
- Integrated ecommerce features through the Facebook marketplace
- Paid marketing campaigns
- Relatively low conversion rates
Instagram is the star when it comes to social media influencer marketing. While the number of average monthly users of Instagram at 1 billion is significantly lower compared to Facebook, this platform caters to a different demographic. User data shows that Instagram is more popular among younger people with the majority of its users aged between 13 to 29 years old.
- Provides one of the best UI and UX for visual content.
- Significantly high engagement rate, even higher than Facebook.
- High profile follower growth rate of 9%.
- Shoppable posts as an ecommerce-friendly feature
- Limited types of content available
- Doesn’t allow link sharing in captions and content
- Time-consuming and laborious platform upkeep
- Optimized for mobile devices
Undoubtedly, Youtube is the most popular platform when it comes to video content creation and video sharing. Surprisingly, Youtube tops Facebook as the most popular social media platform in the United States. In terms of monthly active users, Youtube also ranks high with more than 2 billion on average.
- Search engine compatibility provides better visibility
- Caters to an array of video lengths
- Includes website linking capabilities
- Provides in-depth viewers and content analytics
- Quality video content production is labor-intensive and time-consuming
- Requires search engine optimization in order to boost platform visibility
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