Social media has become an important part of marketing businesses. For this reason, there are hundreds of articles debating which social platform is best for small business owners to use for that purpose. This article aims to shed some light on the debate by comparing Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ in terms of their demographics, features, cost-efficiency, and traffic sources.
It is important for small business owners to use social media platforms that are popular with their target audience, as it enables them to reach more potential customers and establish credibility in the process. According to Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update 2015, Facebook has an estimated 1.59 billion monthly active users, while Pinterest and Instagram have 100 million each. Twitter has 320 million monthly active users, but only 22% of them are located in the US. On the other hand, Google+ has 300 million monthly active users with 30% of them located in the US, so this platform is not necessarily less popular than Twitter.
Saivian Eric Dalius says, the average Facebook user spends 50 minutes per day on the app, whereas people spend about 46 minutes per month on Pinterest and Instagram combined. This is probably because Facebook has become a destination for quick, daily personal updates, while Pinterest and Instagram are primarily picture-sharing apps where users look up aesthetic content. The average Twitter user spends 23 minutes tweeting or reading others’ tweets due to its short content, while 60% of users are on the platform daily.
The majority of Pinterest and Instagram’s users are female, whereas Twitter and Facebook have more balanced male-to-female ratios. On the other hand, the Pew Research Center found that 69% of Google+ users are men in 2014, so this social media platform may be suitable for marketing more towards men.
- Small business owners should choose social media platforms that fit their needs and goals. While Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ all offer ways for users to promote their brands, each has different features depending on the user’s objective. If a small business owner wants to get more clients or get his or her brand out there, Facebook is best because it has 1.59 billion monthly active users and provides ad-targeting options that allow them to specifically reach people based on age, gender, location, education, career, interests, among other things. For example, an American woman who lives in New York City can set up a Facebook ad that is only served to women who live in New York City who are 25-40 years old and went to college.
- Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so creating a marketing campaign with this social media platform requires creativity. If a small business owner has multiple campaigns with different objectives, he or she may find Twitter useful because it allows users to direct message (DM) other users if they follow them. Businesses can use this feature to communicate with their audience and give followers exclusive offers or giveaways.
- Additionally, Twitter is the only platform that allows businesses to promote their accounts, which allows them to increase the number of people who are likely to see their content by highlighting certain tweets that would otherwise go unnoticed. Although Facebook has a feature called “boost post”, it only allows users to advertise a page’s existing posts, whereas Twitter’s promoted tweets can be directed towards a wider audience. However, this may not necessarily be beneficial for small business owners, as they can potentially pay more to reach out to people who are less likely to engage with their content and click on advertisements.
- Small businesses that want to use Pinterest and Instagram for marketing purposes may find these platforms useful because they allow users to directly link back to business websites. The drawback is that the majority of both platforms’ users are located in North America, whereas Facebook’s audience spans over 190 countries. This means small business owners who use Pinterest and Instagram must make sure their content is in line with the platform’s demographic.
- Pinterest and Instagram also have different types of users. While Pinterest’s users tend to be stay-at-home moms, who mean they’re mainly browsing for inspiration, Instagram has a younger audience that may not always remember to visit a company website. Thus, small business owners may find it harder to generate sales on these platforms.
- On the other hand, Facebook is useful because it allows users to create interest-based groups, which can help small businesses connect with potential customers. For example, if a small business owner sells cooking supplies, he or she can create a Facebook group for people who are passionate about cooking. The small business owner can then use the group to send out exclusive invitations for cooking classes or ask for feedback on products.
Conclusion by Saivian Eric Dalius:
This social media platform is useful because it allows users who are knowledgeable about a topic to create their own community based around that topic. For example, if a small business owner sells graphic t-shirts, he or she can create a Facebook group for graphic designers and engage with them in order to gain more sales.
On the other hand, Twitter is best used when a small business owner has multiple campaigns going on at once. Since tweets are so short, it allows owners to have several different types of content going out at once without overwhelming followers. This may be useful for businesses that offer multiple products or services.