Mike Connell

The Spin Sucks Question: Best Social Media Platform

By: Mike Connell | November 16, 2018 | 
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best social media platformWay back in February, we asked what your favorite social network was, and why.

There was a mix of personal and professional preference, with the ultimate answer being a very unsatisfactory: It depends.

So, with many months of social evolution and change between then and now, we thought we’d ask the question again, but this time from a purely professional perspective.

This week’s Spin Sucks Question asks:

Whether you like or loathe Twitter personally, or can’t get enough of Instagram outside of your “day” job, what social network do you rely on the most when it comes to your communications strategy (and that includes paid social)?

Your client’s audience may very well be on LinkedIn, but Facebook ads can be very effective in almost any situation. Thoughts?

Best Social Media Platform: An Evolution

Unsurprisingly, there were more than a few responses to this week’s Spin Sucks Question.

Preferences ranged far and wide with regard to the “best” or most effective social channel.

The answers, though, reminded me how important these conversations are.

Keeping up to date with the changes in the landscape is no easy task.

There was one submission touting Google+ as the best and brightest social star, lamenting the fact that so many organizations and brands ignore the channel.

My first-blush reaction? “Um, didn’t Google announce that they were shuttering Google+?”

And they are (a “wind-down over a 10-month period, slated for completion by the end of next August”).

But if we unpack that announcement, we learn Google isn’t completely abandoning the platform. Rather, they’re refocusing:

At the same time, we have many enterprise customers who are finding great value in using Google+ within their companies.

Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network.

Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization.

We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses. We will share more information in the coming days.

Google+ for consumers is going away, but not for businesses.

Interesting.

And while I’m not necessarily convinced that Google+ will ever become a viable option in a communicator’s toolkit, this is Google we’re talking about.

It’s all about education and knowing how the channels are changing and improving. Or if they’re not…

If I had relied on my less-than-exhaustive understanding of Google+, I’d never have known they actually have a plan moving forward. Yay research.

Best Social Media Platform: All About the #Hashtag

Regardless of the platform, cutting through the clutter is paramount. Getting found is key.

“Good” (or great) content isn’t always going to do that on its own, so Amanda Abella has some tips to share:

I’m all about microblogging and Instagram stories.

My actual posts are microblogs of my day or business or money lessons. I use my stories to interact with my audience, answer their questions, show the behind the scenes of my life and generally just have fun.

Tips I personally use:

  • Have a very strong hashtag game. I’ve got my hashtags for my market down pat.
  • Use geotagging.
  • Show yourself! Stop hiding behind stock photos because no one cares. They want to see YOU.
  • If something goes down in your industry and you have an opinion, you have a golden opportunity to talk about it and assert yourself as an expert with IG stories. It’s literally on your phone. Take the opportunity. Because if YOU don’t do it, someone else will.
  • I had a client who I taught to start addressing client objections in her IG stories and she was able to convert someone who had previously shot her down.
  • Share screenshots of client testimonials and wins. I have a whole highlight called Client Stories where I showcase their successes. This has helped me land high ticket clients.

Best Social Media Platform: LinkedIn

From Henry McIntosh:

The platform I rely on for communication is LinkedIn.

I tend to find the relationships on other platforms quite fickle.

LinkedIn allows me to build real relationships with relevant professionals, whether they’re peers or represent our target market.

A personalized introduction with a connection request goes a long way on LinkedIn. With this simple approach, I’ve been able to create useful business contacts and even generate work.

My LinkedIn connections are far more valuable to my business’ bottom line than any other social media audience. Once they’ve connected, it’s important they don’t lie dormant. So I regularly post content to engage with them and this helps spark interesting conversations and generate leads.

Heidi Lynn Kurter concurs:

LinkedIn has hands down been the most effective platform for my communication strategy.

It’s the platform that comes most naturally to me when it comes to connecting with my audience. As a former corporate HR professional turned entrepreneur, I still have the corporate mentality ingrained in me and it’s what my entire career has consisted of.

My audience makes up the corporate demographic, CHRO and CEO, so naturally, they’re hanging out on LinkedIn. I’ve tried other avenues with little success, although Twitter falls right behind.

From Lukas Treu:

For B2B (the vast majority of my clients), I think LinkedIn has to be the priority.

It’s a true business social network, and it’s where their audiences are going to think/talk about business.

As Sima Dahl is known to say, LinkedIn is like a networking event, Twitter is a cocktail party and Facebook is a backyard BBQ.

Especially with B2B targeting, you’ve got to keep the mindset of the audience in mind when engaging with them. LI seems to fit.

Best Social Media Platform: Results Matter

For Bruce Gray, who’s not a communications professional, it was all about where he could get results:

I rely on Facebook and Instagram for getting out news on my sculptures.

They both work quite well for me, and each reaches a very different audience.

Linkedin I have nearly 8,000 connections, but never get any sales.

Similarly, Kylie Kreischer speaks to a platform’s effectiveness and consistency:

While Pinterest performs more as a search engine than a social network, it often is lumped into the social media category with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

That said, Pinterest is an incredibly strong platform to put energy into.

It is very effective in driving traffic to a website or blog, and, unlike many social media channels, it continues to drive traffic year after year or month after month as pins are repinned.

Your reach is also much more expansive when present on Pinterest.

When reporting social media numbers to in-house teams or clients, Pinterest contributes a heavy boost to reach and impressions.

As a professional communication and visual content creator, Instagram gives me the most creative authority to showcase my brand.

Between creating a grid that performs as a portfolio, showcasing personality through Instagram stories, and utilizing new and innovative content creation channels such as IGTV, Instagram is perfect for those wanting to showcase a visual personality.

Best Social Media Platform: Facebook

From Ryan Hanser:

Facebook for the cheapest engagement and the fact that it converts as well as LinkedIn for B2B.

Sherrilynn Starkie:

Facebook gives you the best bang for your buck overall.

Greg Brooks on Facebook and LinkedIn:

I’m with Ryan Hanser—you can do great B2B on FB. However, LinkedIn *does* have some tricks up its sleeve.

If you know you want to get into a specific company, LinkedIn makes it pretty trivial to, say, target all directors and VPs within that company.

That narrowness, in turn, lets you run hyper-specific ads that mention your target’s company by name, cutting through a lot of clutter.

Biggest problem? Very few folks actually browse/graze LinkedIn… they dive in, look up what they need, and move on.

Best Social Media Platform: Keep the Social in Social

A good rule of thumb? Don’t make blanket statements (does saying “don’t make blanket statements” count as a blanket statement?), and keep the social in your social media platform tactics.

From Betsy Decillis:

Every time I hear a social media professional say that Facebook is dying and such-and-such social network is the way to go, I know they have no idea what they are doing. I needed to put that out there.

If you just engage in push marketing and don’t take the time to craft content your audience wants and needs, you’re not doing social media marketing.

There is no social in that tactic.

Betsy’s take on Twitter:

It’s still good for writers and bloggers, so advising clients to get off of Twitter isn’t in the cards. But I’m more managing expectations.

You won’t get big numbers but you might get the right relationships to lead to bigger number later.

Best Social Media Platform: No Really, It Depends

While we all know that “it depends” is a very unsatisfactory answer to almost any question, the fact remains that audiences get older.

They adapt, evolve, and move on from one platform to another. And then they go back sometimes.

New audiences are born and flock to one platform or another. New platforms are created.

Platforms themselves evolve. They add new functionality. They get rid of features that aren’t being used or that negatively affect the conversation (like the whole to-kill-or-not-to-kill the retweet discussion).

From Mary Barber:

I know you said we can’t answer that it all depends, but it truly does.

LinkedIn is where B2B relations are started. It’s where you can be discovered as a professional and where businesses go to grow, but not for B2C.

Nine months ago I would have said Facebook but it is becoming a pit of inane stories and comments; a place to complain and spread falsehoods.

I do still like to see updates from high school friends and such but they are much harder to find.

And I fear FB is turning Instagram into a similar, but different quagmire.

Up Next: Quora

From out of nowhere, Hung Nguyen came to the “best social media platform” discussion with Quora:

Quora is our go-to social media platform, as it leads the correct group of customers that matches our ICP (ideal customer profile) to our platform.

We consistently answer questions relating to users’ issues about our product as well as the industry that we operate in. Our Quora profile currently gathers over 10,000 views every month and over 100,000 views in total.

This social media site is excellent for *branding *as it drives engagement, brand loyalty, and good PR—by merely showing that we allocate resources to support users for free.

Furthermore, the site also *generates a lot of free traffic, and high-quality leads*—as we refer the customers that need our product the most to our platform.

The best part – all of this was done for free. As Quora has over 300 million unique visitors every month, this is the social platform to look out for.

A response which, of course, got us thinking. Quora for communicators isn’t new, and it isn’t intimidating like reddit can be.

And yet we still don’t hear about it that much in our strategic or tactical discussions.

So, the next Spin Sucks Question asks:

Do you use Quora? How and why?

What do you love about it? What do you not like about it?

You can answer here, in the free Spin Sucks community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

About Mike Connell


Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

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