The world of social media marketing is evolving every day as it becomes increasingly integral to any brand’s digital strategy. If you haven’t gotten your brand on board with social media yet, now is the time to make it happen. Each popular social media platform can offer value to your brand or business in various ways. Instead of attempting to grow a following on every single platform available, it’s better to narrow down your options and focus your efforts on the best platform for your brand’s specific needs. To help you make the right decision, we’ve compiled the pros and cons of three of the most popular social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Weigh out your options and use our research to help you make the best possible decision for your brand.
Pros of Facebook
Reach Potential: As of 2018, Facebook has over 2 billion active users from all over the globe. Facebook’s massive user base means it can enable brands to reach the largest amount of people possible. If your brand’s demographic is wide and diverse, Facebook can be incredibly valuable as it allows you to reach a large audience.
Information Tool: Brands and businesses are able to include vital details about their business directly on their Facebook page. This includes everything from business contact details to information on products or services offered. In fact, some businesses are forgoing a standard website altogether and navigating their customers to visit their Facebook profiles instead. If you’re big on consolidating your digital footprint, Facebook may be your best option.
Content Variety: Unlike some other social media platforms, Facebook allows you to post various types of content, giving you a broad range of options. Photos, videos, text, and links to blog posts can all be shared on Facebook and integrated into your social media marketing strategy. This makes it simple to play around with different types of content to see what resonates most with your targeted demographic. Facebook lets you get your feet wet with numerous types of content, making it a good choice for those just starting out on their social media marketing journey.
Ad Options: Facebook offers some of the most detailed targeted advertising options available for any social media platform. It’s no wonder, then, that 93% of digital marketers use Facebook Advertising for their brand or business. Facebook Advertising enables you to show your content to those most likely to have an interest in your product or service so you won’t waste money showing your ad to people who are unlikely to convert. If done properly, a social media marketing campaign implemented on Facebook can result in an excellent return on investment without spending big bucks. Facebook’s massive user base means it’s one of the easiest ways to reach a large pool of people all over the world.
Cons of Facebook
Pay to Play: Organic reach recently plummeted on Facebook after they tweaked their News Feed algorithm to primarily show content from users’ Friends as opposed to company pages. Now, if brands want their content to be seen, they’ll most likely need to pay. Although it may not break your budget, it’s still more expensive than focusing your efforts on a platform that has a larger potential for organic reach.
Negative Feedback: Facebook’s massive user base can be a big positive, but it can have adverse effects as well. Facebook users are able to post directly to a company’s page, which opens up the opportunity for negative feedback in a very public setting. While transparency is generally encouraged, using Facebook opens the door for pretty much anyone to share their opinion of your brand right on your own page, meaning negative comments will be privy to all of your page’s visitors and followers.
More Competition: As mentioned above, Facebook’s massive user base can be a positive or a negative, depending on your brands’ specific needs. Another possible con to Facebook’s massive following is that you’ll be opening up your brand to copycats. If you have a great social media marketing campaign in place on Facebook, chances are high that it will be seen by other brands who may then take your idea and use it for themselves. If you don’t want to run the risk of others copying your brand’s unique ideas, Facebook may not be the place for you.
Pros of Instagram
Visual Storytelling: Instagram is a photo and video-based social media platform that enables brands to tell their story in visually appealing ways. This can be an incredibly valuable tool, as it enables brands to craft and curate their image through specific photo and video content that appeals to their chosen demographic. According to Instagram, 80% of users follow a brand, so there is a huge opportunity to connect and engage with people. This opportunity is only increasing with the growing popularity of Instagram Stories, which allow users to view condensed videos and short-lived photo posts that are typically only available for a limited time.
Millennial Appeal: Instagram is the most popular social media platform for the coveted millennial demographic. In fact, 59% of 18-29-year-olds use Instagram. If your brand is targeted towards the younger generations, there’s no better platform than Instagram to implement a strategy and build a following. In addition to organic posting, Instagram’s targeting options allow you to promote content to your chosen demographic, so you can increase the chances of reaching and converting potential leads. Instagram is owned by Facebook, so it’s advertising capabilities are very similar.
Hashtag Opportunities: Another big pro to using Instagram is the ability to grow brand awareness, hold contests, and reach potential leads through the usage of hashtags. Instagram users are able to click and follow hashtags that are relevant to their interests. If you use the right hashtags on your posts, interested people can discover and interact with your brand. Additionally, you can start your own hashtag campaign and encourage engagement with your followers by asking them to use the hashtag in their own posts. This will help to build a community and spread awareness of your brand. One popular way to jumpstart a hashtag campaign is by hosting a contest, where a brand asks followers to use the hashtag as a way to be eligible to win a prize.
Cons of Instagram:
Limited Editing Options: As a visually-focused social media platform, Instagram content is often highly edited. However, the app itself offers limited editing tools. Although the basics may work for some brands, many find it necessary to download additional apps or use alternate software to achieve the look they’re aiming for. If you plan to use Instagram for your brand, you’ll likely need to work with other apps or tools to put the finishing touches on your content before sharing it.
Pros of Twitter:
Visibility of Posts: Unlike Facebook or Instagram, Twitter does not have an algorithm in place that favors certain posts above others. On Twitter, your followers are going to see your message no matter what. You don’t have to pay extra for your brand’s voice to be heard.
Short & Sweet: Twitter encourages short and concise posts that get straight to the point. It limits its text posts to 280 characters (previously 140 characters), so you won’t ever feel pressured to add in any “fluff” to your text. If you prefer to keep things short and sweet, Twitter is the way to go.
Extend Your Reach: Twitter makes extending your reach easy by allowing users to retweet your content instantly. If a tweet is particularly successful, it may be retweeted numerous times by other accounts with large followings. When combined with the use of hashtags, Twitter can be one of the most effective ways to quickly reach a wide audience. This tool can be extremely valuable for brands who may be hosting live events and need to share updates and information fast.
Cons of Twitter:
Time Constraining: Twitter is a rapidly moving social media platform, with “hundreds of millions” of people tweeting updates on the daily. Due to its fast-paced feed, Twitter requires a social media manager who will monitor posts and tweet new content almost constantly. This may be a limitation for brands who cannot afford to have someone monitor their social presence on a near 24/7 basis.
Social media marketing can be an excellent tool for your brand’s growth and success. Depending on your brand’s needs, it’s best to focus your efforts on one or two social media platforms instead of trying to perfect every option out there. To make an informed choice, review the pros and cons of the most popular platforms, then pick the one that will meet the needs of your brand best. Once you get a feel for one of the platforms, it can be easier to branch out into other outlets and attempt to utilize their features as well.