The Pros and Cons of Different Social Media Platforms | by Mercedes Paddock | Oct, 2021

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Mercedes Paddock

Social media is a big part of the modern world and our lives, but what are the pros and cons of social media platforms? And, how do those pros and cons tie into marketing for your small business? There are tons of social media platforms out there, so in this article we’ll be focusing on the major ones. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and TikTok.

Instagram is an image based social media platform. It has roughly one billion active users each month all around the world. The majority of their users are between 18 and 34 years old. 51% are female, 49% are male.

–Images, images, images: If you have a product based business, Instagram is the perfect match for you. Posting images of your products is the best way to promote your business and gain a following.

–Instagram Insights: If you have a business profile on Instagram you can use their insights to view your audience information, post performance, reach, follower count, and much more.

–Boosting Posts: If you don’t want to create a full ad, you can just pick one of your more popular posts to promote to a wider audience or targeted group that you pick. This allows you to expand your reach to more people.

–Location: If you have a physical business, you can tag your location in your posts to get more engagement. It also makes it easier to reach the customers you’re trying to get, in your area.

–Images shape is restrictive: Platforms like Facebook allows you a little wiggle room with the shape of the images you post. Instagram images are usually restricted to more square shapes.

–The Website Version is awful: Instagram is optimized for the mobile app, so you can forget about trying to do anything on the website version of the platform.

–eCommerce: Instagram isn’t really focused on eCommerce and businesses, most people don’t use Instagram to shop.

–Getting to know you: Since Instagram is so image and video heavy, it can be difficult to get your audience to really know who you are and what your business is all about.

Facebook is the biggest social media platform. It has about 2.89 billion monthly users in 2021. The biggest demographic for Facebook is Males aged 25–34. But, people over 55 years old is the fastest growing demographic right now.

–Pages: You can create specific pages for your business where supporters of your business can join to stay up to date.

–Affordable Marketing: You can boost your posts to a target audience for as little at $5. This makes it easy to reach your preferred customer without breaking the bank.

–Page Insights: Facebook’s page insights make is easy to see how people are interacting with you and measure results.

–Bidding on Ads: When using Facebook for advertising, you can be outbid on advertisements by your competitors. Which means your ads will run less often. This puts smaller businesses at a disadvantage over bigger ones.

–Big time commitment: Facebook is a big time commitment if you want to make it work. You’ll need to keep your page regularly updated and keep an eye out for spam and negative comments as your page grows.

Twitter is a platform where you can post pictures with a small snip of text or just very short text posts. It has around 330 million monthly active users on the platform. The majority of the users are ages 25–34. The second largest group is 35–49 years. 61.6% of the users are male.

–Your followers WILL see your posts: A lot of social media platforms have an algorithm that shows users different posts based on engagement. Twitter on the other hand doesn’t do that, it will show your posts to your followers regardless of engagement.

–Time with Content: With the short character restriction, you don’t have to take a ton of time to create content, it’s quick and easy.

–Extended reach: If someone likes your tweet enough, they may retweet it to their followers. It’s free marketing for your company.

–Content Length: While the short content posted on Twitter can be nice, it also means it can be difficult to properly communicate your ideas on the platform.

–Beware the salesman: Users on Twitter are wary of businesses that are trying to sell things to them. If you’re constantly pushing your products and trying to sell things, that can push people away from following you.

–Time Sensitive: With how many people post on Twitter, it’s easy for your tweets to get buried in the noise.

LinkedIn is a more professional social media platform. It’s meant for professionals and businesses. It has 740 million users around the world. 57% of users are male, 43% are female. 59.9% of the users are between 25 and 34.

–Legitimacy: Having a well filled out profile on LinkedIn improves the image of your business and increases your perceived legitimacy.

–Informed: LinkedIn helps you stay informed on what’s happening in your industry.

–Research: LinkedIn allows you to do research on potential customers (if your target customer is business professionals or businesses themselves). It also lets you do research on your competitors.

–Time consuming: It can take a while to launch your profile, then build up your network. LinkedIn works best when you have a large network built up.

–Spam: You’re not the only one who is joining LinkedIn to sell something. Lot’s of other businesses are doing this as well. So, don’t expect every connection on LinkedIn to be legitimate.

YouTube is the most common video sharing platform. It has 776.4 active monthly users. The biggest age group is 15–35 years. 56% of the users are male.

–High watch: Users on YouTube spend very long sessions on the platform, that means they have tons of time and opportunities to view your ads.

–Targeted ads: YouTube allows you to target your ads to specific demographics.

–Google Ads: You can use Google ads to track your ad performance.

–Selecting videos: YouTube doesn’t let you select the videos your ads play before. Which means that the video may your ads play before may not share your opinions or values.

–Skipping ads: YouTube allows users to skip ads in 5 seconds. So, if you can’t catch the attention of the viewer in 5 seconds or less, they’ll just skip over your ad.

–Low conversion: Because YouTube lets viewers skip their ads so quickly, the conversion rates on this platform are much lower than other platforms, unless you’ve paid an influencer to include an ad segment directly in their video. But, that can be far more expensive.

TikTok is a newer platform for sharing short videos, under 3 minutes. It has 1 billion monthly users. Most of the users are between 16 and 24 years old. 60% are female, 40% are male.

–Younger Reach: If your target customer is younger than 24, TikTok is the perfect platform to reach them.

–Engagement: Users on TikTok have multiple ways to interact with your ads and content. Rather than just leaving a comment, they can also stitch and duet your videos, ensuring that they reach a wider audience.

–Videos: For TikTok ads, you’ll need to create videos, not just static graphics. This is very time consuming, and can cost a lot of money if you pay someone else to make the ads for you.

–Cost: Compared to other platforms, TikTok has a higher cost to place your ads. You need a minimum daily budget of $50, where other platforms is as low as $10. Working with influencer will have the highest return, but also can have the highest cost.

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