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10 March 2021
When it comes to marketing, most businesses will have dabbled with a social media strategy, but have you considered which website is most suited to your company?
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are the three most popular social networking websites and all have their own strengths and weaknesses depending on your target market and proposition to market. So you must either choose one that works best for you and your business objectives, or consider an integrated approach by using all three at the same time.
We take a look at just some of the advantages and disadvantages of the three main social networking sites to help you choose the best strategy for your business.
Twitter provides an avenue to truly engage with your audience, it is the best option for establishing a conversation with your customers, whether they are existing clients that you can thank personally for example, or prospective targets with whom you can instigate, or join, relevant conversations with.
You can also follow your competitors and start to understand how they are using Twitter to communicate with their customers. Are they offering discounts through the site? Are their customers happy with the service they have received? This insight can assist you in discovering what you could be doing better and provides an opportunity to differentiate yourself and potentially gain a competitive advantage.
However, not everyone is keen to sign up to Twitter, experts state older generations are slow on the uptake, so if this is your target demographic it may be wise to focus your efforts on a social network where the average user is older and less tech-literate, like Facebook, for example.
+ Is excellent for engaging with your existing customers as you can instigate a personal conversation with them and add additional value to your products and services through offering advice and guidance for example.
+ You can quickly position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, encouraging potential customers to find and then engage with you.
+ You can follow your competitors to see how they are engaging with their customers with a view to gaining the upper hand.
– Young people use the site more than older demographics, so you must know your target market in case they are more active on other social networking sites such as Facebook.
– The amount of information available on profiles and the 140-character limit might be restrictive, you must ensure your messages and company data is succinct and working to your advantage.
– Bad publicity can spread quickly on Twitter and you have little control over what is being said about you.
Facebook was originally launched as a consumer networking site with little value for businesses looking to communicate with their target market. However, the launch of business pages, fan pages and targeted advertising has opened an avenue for efficient business-to-consumer communication.
You can set up a profile for your company and make use of the tools Facebook provides, such as its photo uploading facility. This is perfect if your products are best showcased by great photography or you can demonstrate your previous work with a portfolio of images.
But seeking out and engaging with other businesses may be difficult, the search functions are not as sophisticated as those on Twitter, which could hamper the effectiveness of business-to-business communication on Facebook.
And remember you are at the mercy of Facebook when using its pages. Your images become linked with the brand and its privacy and security policies with regards to reproducing your content. Check these details carefully and make sure you are happy with the settings before committing your work to the web.
+ Targeted advertising could be a valuable tool for your business if their segmentations and profiling are in line with your target market. It is very sophisticated and you only pay for those that engage or click on your adverts.
+ It allows companies to showcase their portfolios with no restrictions on image uploads.
+ Dedicated business, or fan pages have made business-to-consumer communication much easier on Facebook and you are not restricted to the amount of content that can be distributed, like you are on Twitter.
– It is difficult for businesses to communicate with other businesses on the site, unless you actively seek out and engage with posts on their pages.
– Even if someone clicks the ‘like’ button on your page, you may not be able to access their profile to collate further intelligence.
– This lack of data could make it difficult to communicate with individuals who are potential customers or clients, leaving you to rely on inbound communications only.
LinkedIn was especially set up for business-to-business contact, it provides an opportunity to post an individual profile or a dedicated page for your company, which might be a great way to promote your brand among those you are already connected with.
The site has great resources for posting vast amounts of information about your business on your company profile, as it is unlimited, so use it wisely.
You may be restricted to communicating with the people you have made individual connections with, but interacting with discussions and groups could help raise awareness of your company among targeted audiences without having direct contact to decision makers in other businesses.
But if your target customers haven’t built a profile and don’t regularly engage with conversations on the site, it may be time to utilise other social media websites.
+ Is a fantastic tool for businesses that know their target market well and can search for and make connections with potential customers and clients.
+ Can be great for investigating potential targets and collating a list of people to contact in a business-to-business context.
+ You can raise the profile of your brand by engaging with groups and discussions.
– The site is not aimed at consumers and may have little or no value in communicating with end users.
– You need to be actively interacting with groups and discussions to build more connections and raise your profile, which can be time consuming.
– It could prove to be a waste of your time if your customers and target market are not using LinkedIn profiles.
No matter what social networking site you choose, make sure your social marketing strategy has a focus and is relevant to your target market. Posting constant, irrelevant updates on any of the pages is not recommended and could see people post negative feedback or stop engaging with the content you do communicate.
So ensure your strategy is well-researched, planned and effective with a view to achieving your individual business objectives.
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