Which Social Media Networks Are Actually Worth Your Time?

by Sarah Quinn on 12 March 2014
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With so many social media platforms out there, how do you know which ones are right for your business? From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Pinterest, we take a look into the best social sites for you…

Facebook

As the largest social network to date, it makes sense to kick things off with Facebook. In today’s social media obsessed world, this site is a must for any business because it’s so damn huge.

The thing about Facebook is that it’s a long-term commitment; you need to be communicating with your audience on a daily basis, with 80% of your time spent posting unique content and 20% posting promotional stuff. Don’t think of this as a way to sell you self. Think of it as more of a way to show off your personality and the face behind your logo.

When it comes to advertising on Facebook, it’s definitely worth your time buying ads and promoted posts. This will help you reach a wider audience and it will be targeted to people that actually want to hear what you’ve got to say. It ensures the amazing content you’ve created doesn’t go to waste and it’s flexible with every budget.

Is Facebook for me?

Pros
• You can reach a wide audience – 1.8 billion in fact
• It’s cost effective
• Likes, Comments and Shares are great for engagement
• You can personalize it to your brand

Cons
• It takes time to monitor, update and engage with users
• Your posts will not reach all of your followers every time, because of its algorithm

Twitter

Twitter is a lot more fast paced than Facebook so you may feel like you’re not getting anywhere with it. But with approximately 288 million active users, it’s not one to pass up. The great thing about Twitter is you can re-use your content and you wont risk irritating people because things move so quickly.

Engagement is easier on Twitter. Once you tweet, your entire followers will be able to see it. Plus, if you add a hashtag to your tweet then it’s more likely to be seen by people who are also talking about the same thing. You can join in with trending topics to help gain more followers and you can tweet any user you like by adding their @ username in your tweet. Again similar to Facebook, you need to stay on top of your Twitter by sharing great content throughout the day and following people who follow you. It’s best to build your personality on Twitter, rather than using it as a sales forum.

Is Twitter for me?

Pros
• Even if you have a small, niche business, Twitter is so big that you will be able to reach the audience you need.
• Each tweet you send will reach all of your followers
• You can re-use content that you’ve created for your blog and direct your followers to it
• Engaging with people is so easy

Cons
• Your tweets can get buried because people follow so many users
• You are limited to 140 characters so you have to be creative

Google+

In the short years that Google+ has been around, it has improved significantly and is definitely beneficial for business (particularly a start-up). Visually, Google+ looks great and you can share all of your blog posts on your feed. Not only that, you can join communities that are relevant to your business and share your content with them for further reach.

Another great reason to use Google+ is that it does actually help with your Google rankings. If people following you +1 your content on Google+, then you are more likely to move up the search rankings. And when people +1 your content, their followers will then see it – so you’ll reach a much wider audience!

Is Google+ for me?

Pros
• Connect with the right audience in Google+ communities
• Helps with SEO
• You can sort your followers into groups and personalize who to share content with
• Expand your network

Cons
• It doesn’t have as many users as Facebook or Twitter
• It’s probably not worthwhile for larger businesses

Pinterest

The users on Pinterest are predominantly female so that’s definitely something to think about if you are considering setting up an account. Pinterest is basically a way of ‘pinning’ nice visuals to a pin board and it can help drive business to your website if you understand the Pinterest audience. Businesses that would benefit from this site would be those in fashion, design and travel. Techy businesses may want to reconsider.

Is Pinterest for me?

Pros
• It looks great and is easy to use
• It’s ideal for interior designers, fashion, travel and lifestyle companies
• The average user will spend over an hour on the site, which is much longer than Facebook and Twitter

Cons
• It’s a very niche audience
• You can't self promote
• Copyright is an issue with certain images being posted

Stumble Upon

Stumble Upon is a bookmarking social site, so if you see a website you like then you can post it on Stumble Upon for everyone to see. The more people that vote on your content, the more likely it will be seen. If you want to get more traffic then you can pay for clicks and it’s surprisingly cheap. Plus you can integrate it with Google analytics to see how well your profile is being received.

Is Stumble Upon for me?

Pros
• The lowest price you will pay is $0.05 per visitor
• If you content is good enough to get likes, you will get free exposure
• You can target people based on interests, location and demographics
• The audience is pretty balanced

Cons
• Advertising doesn’t always work and it may effect your bounce rate
• It can be pretty time consuming

Instagram

Instagram is a great social media app to help you visually promote your business. You could take a photo of anything and make it look great with a variety of filters to choose from. It’s not a social network that you should solely rely on, but it can be useful in building up your brand and showing off your personality.

Once you’ve uploaded a picture, the way to gain maximum exposure is by hashtagging everything so that other people can find it. People then have the option to like and comment on your photo, and they can check out your company page if they want to. If you have products to sell, then taking a photo of them and putting them on Instagram is a smart move.

Is Instagram for me?

Pros
• Allows customers to get behind the scenes exclusives
• Can make products look great
• Really easy to use
• Reach a wide audience

Cons
• You can only use it on your phone or tablet
• It doesn’t allow for much interaction
• It may be difficult to get exposure

Tumblr

Tumblr is basically a micro blogging platform, and with more than 216 million monthly users, it’s a popular choice for many businesses. You can share a varied range of content including images, links and text. Users will then get the chance to comment and share your posts using a reblogging feature. Tumblr is a great platform for shorter posts, rather than anything lengthy.

You can find people that will be interested in what you’ve got to say as every post is marked with a keyword that will describe what the post is all about. You can track hashtags and see what everyone else is doing with their hashtags in order to suit your customer’s needs.

Is Tumblr for me?

Pros
• Reach a wide audience
• Not much content needed
• Images are better received
• Customize your blog to suit your brand

Cons
• Your customers may not be using it
• There is plenty of competition

YouTube

YouTube may not be the first site when you think of when it comes to social media, but it can definitely help you gain exposure online. As the second largest search engine, YouTube is not one to pass up. It gets 100 million video views per day and the type of audience pretty much covers everyone, so you are likely to target your customers. The basic functions are free so you don’t need to worry about cost, and it makes it easy to share your videos from YouTube and embed it onto your website.

Is YouTube for me?

Pros
• It’s free to use
• It reaches a HUGE audience
• You don’t need to worry about hosting, streaming or formatting
• It’s integrated with Google+

Cons
• YouTube has unlimited rights to your video
• Each user can download your video content

Linkedin

Didn’t think Linkedin was a social media network? Think again. Linkedin is a networking site for professionals but it also provides a huge opportunity for businesses. It can help you find partners, new employees and it is also great business prospects.

Alongside building up your team of contacts, you can post your interesting content to your feed of followers and start discussion groups with like-minded people in order to reach a wider audience.

Is Linkedin for me?

Pros
• Helps grow exposure
• Helps grow partnerships
• Keeps you up to date with the latest industry news
• Gives your company credibility

Cons
• Can irritate users with spam
• Takes up a lot of time
• Tend to just reach other businesses rather than customers

The choice is yours…

So there you have it, the pros and cons of social media platforms for business.
Don’t forget, SproutSocial or HootSuite are great tools to help you manage your social media sites all in one place, but social media takes time and effort, so if you can, it is definitely worth employing somebody to manage this for you.

Feel free to say hello to us on our chosen social sites: Facebook, Twitter or Google+ - we’d love to hear from you!

Content Marketing

Sarah Quinn

Written by Sarah Quinn

I eat, sleep and breathe great content so it kinda works out for me that I get to do this as a job. But waaaaait, I'm not one dimensional..... I also LOVE peanut butter, odd socks, running, daydreaming about time and space, corgis in top hats, afternoon tea and Chandler Bing.