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Pro’s and con’s of the biggest social media platforms for business

It can be overwhelming when deciding which social media platforms you should use for your new business. Numerous questions often arise; ‘Does Facebook suit the nature of my business?’, ‘My competitors are on twitter, should I be?’, ‘How do I use Instagram effectively?’ or ‘Do I have time to run a LinkedIn account?’.

However, through trial and error, looking at current businesses in your market and your businesses wants and needs, you can discover which socials work the most effectively for your business - creating huge brand exposure and attracting more clients.

Here are some of the most popular social media platforms used amongst all businesses and a little bit about their benefits and the not so good stuff:



Facebook 

Running a Facebook business page can help you reach and connect with your existing and potential customers. From the start of 2017, Facebook has seen more than 2 billion monthly active users, so it is not surprising that the B2C & B2B companies are successfully using Facebook for promoting their business. There are several benefits of using Facebook for businesses, as well as some challenges:

Pro's

 
  • Brand awareness
    Facebook is one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Your business’ presence will help you gain exposure to potential customers.

     
  • Drive website traffic
    By posting links to your website, you can help increase online visits. 

     
  • Targeted advertising
    Facebook advertising allows you to target very specific demographics; this can be from location, age, gender, interests etc.

     
  • Generate business leads
    Your audience of Facebook likes can be a great starting point to gather sales leads. You can use competitions and giveaways to gather email address to build your marketing lists.

     
  • Customer service & feedback
    Facebook allows two-way communication between businesses and their customers. You can use the messaging service to deal directly with your customers. Reviews and comments can be a great way to gather customer feedback and find areas for improvement.

     
Con's
 
  • Time and resources
    Setting up and running a Facebook page requires a large amount of time and effort. You may need a member of staff who can take on the social media role ensuring they have enough time to manage the page well and create engaging content.

     
  • Skills
    The staff member who manages your Facebook page may need training to ensure they have the right skills to do so. They need the ability to plan and create content, respond to enquiries and complaints, and effectively represent your business.

     
  • Budget
    Although a free platform, to make the most of Facebook you may need to invest in paid-for advertising. This will require a budget of its own.


LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest professional network in the world. The channel has over 500 million members. By having a LinkedIn company page, your business will be able to share its latest products, services or updates with its followers. Some businesses use the platform for other purposes to, e.g. to find staff or list job vacancies.

Pro's

 
  • Easy to understand
    LinkedIn presents itself as the social network for businesspeople. It allows people and businesses to network with great efficiency. As such, it attracts professionals.

     
  • Multiple uses
    LinkedIn is often used for many reasons, not just to increase sales. Businesses often use it to find their next employee and business professionals can use the platform to see what jobs are available in today’s ever competitive labour market.

     
  • Provides key information
    LinkedIn is also a great asset because of the amount of information it can give you about a potential client or employee.  Like Facebook, LinkedIn will tell you all the major data you need to know about a company as well as lead you the professional profiles of the individuals within the business.  Having access to this type of specific data and information allows users to easily find potential partners or recruit new employees, saving you a lot of time, energy, and resources.

     
Con's
  • SPAM
    One of the major negatives is the way some users use LinkedIn as an advertising megaphone via SPAM so brace yourself for the slew of SPAM coming your way. Although this may work for you sometimes, be careful not to damage your brand image and be known as a company that ‘SPAMS’. 

     
  • Time and effort
    Setting up a LinkedIn page from scratch requires a lot of personal time and work to get your connections flowing and conversations started. This task can be sidestepped with the paid version of LinkedIn, but that might not be an option for companies with a limited budget – especially as a start-up. 


Twitter

With more than 300 million monthly active users, Twitter is one of the best platforms to keep up to date with your industries current ‘hot topics’. According to a CMI report, 87% of B2B marketers use Twitter for content marketing, suggesting it enables businesses to effectively reach and connect with their customers.

Pro's

 
  • Reach a wide audience
    As shown above, Twitter has a large user base, which could include your potential customers. Using hashtags can help you reach an audience interested in a particular topic or who come from a specific location.

     
  • Brand identity
    Utilising Twitter can help communicate your brand ethos and personality. This should help your business appeal to your target audience.

     
  • Feedback
    Twitter can be a useful resource for gathering feedback from customers.

     
  • Cost-effective
    It is completely free to set up a Twitter account. While paid ads are available, many businesses see benefits from organic posts and interactions.

     
Con's
 
  • Negative criticism
    A Twitter presence unfortunately creates the possibility of customers complaining publicly about product or services. Negative comments can reflect badly on your business, however, dealing with complaints well can have a positive impact on your reputation.  

     
  • Time sensitive
    It is key to learn when your followers/potential customers are online as this should influence when you post. If you just tweet whenever you feel like it, your tweets could easily be missed.

     
  • Post limitations
    You are restricted by Twitter’s 280-character limit. It can take time to learn how to communicate effectively with such restraints


Ideally of course you want to be on all three - but it's better to do one well than all three badly. A good social media presence says alot to prospects these days, and it's important to share regular updates and correct information.

For practical advice from the experts, why not visit the Northern Business Expo? It's free to attend, and you can hear tips direct from Google, attend digital marketing masterclasses and speak to social media experts to pick their brains! Held in Manchester on 17th & 18th March, it's the biggest event on the North's business calendar and you can come along free by getting your free ticket online here.
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