Although broadly similar on the surface, the various social media platforms can differ widely in the intent of their users, and as a result, choosing the right social media platform to promote or advertise your business is an essential part of an effective marketing strategy. Each can have benefits and drawbacks, depending on the type of business you’re in, and the objectives you want to achieve on the platform.

Ideally, you want to be able to base this on performance data gathered by testing on all relevant platforms,

Facebook

Facebook, (along with its subsidiaries, Instagram, Messenger, and the Facebook Audience Network), with its advanced targeting possibilities, and its 2.45 billion strong monthly audience figures, is certainly one of the most prevalent platforms for marketing.

Ecommerce & Retail Businesses

If you have a new e-commerce or retail business, or otherwise currently enjoy low brand recognition and awareness, then this can be the ideal place to get the news about your offerings out there, using their powerful demographic segmenting to reach your ideal potential market.

If your e-commerce / retail business is already an established one, the Facebooks audience matching features can prove invaluable in reaching your already established clients, educating them about new offerings and specials, and keeping them coming back for more.

Business To Business

Although Facebook isn’t usually considered the best place for B2B offerings, they have recently broadened their focus to encourage B2B advertising on the platform, despite lacking specialised targeting options for B2B.

Despite this, Facebook is allocating more resources to improving their B2B advertising features, and it can be worth complementing your LinkedIn campaign with a small Facebook campaign, as your target market there is also likely to be a Facebook user, and in general, will spend considerably more time on Facebook than they do on LinkedIn.

Professional Services

Although users can’t purchase directly from the platform, Facebook does offer excellent lead generation and appointment booking options compared to other platforms. In addition, references are easily available directly from the reviews on a page, increasing credibility.

Pinterest

Pinterest has made strides toward improving their advertising platform in recent years, and pinterest users are demonstrating a high level of intent, with 66% of users saying that they had made a purchase after seeing branded content on the platform.

Although Pinterest shopping is available in a few countries from limited brands, we can’t do that in south Africa yet. You can still link directly to your product for sale from the ad or pin, but that said, Pinterest also has one of the smallest user bases of any social platform in South Africa, so while it can be beneficial to maintain a presence, (depending on your industry), it probably won’t be a major driver of traffic for you.

Pinterest is traditionally more a discovery platform than a “proper” social media channel, but their ad formats have been enhanced over the last few years, allowing a high level of product detail, combined with relatively low advertising costs.

If your product or service embraces a very visual style, maintaining a Pinterest presence is definitely something you should consider, even if it forms a relatively small part of your efforts. (That’s not to say you should just create an account, put up a few posts, and leave it…maintain it as you would any other social profile.)

LinkedIn

The traditional B2B platform, LinkedIn provides you with a number of tools that let you target users based on their job titles, their industries, and their companies, among others. It should always form part of your social channel mix if you provide a B2B service, as it can allow you to build an audience even for a fairly niche product or service.

The information available via LinkedIn is of a type unlikely to necessarily be shared with any other platform, and the nature of the platform means it is more likely to be kept up to date. In addition, LinkedIn provides reporting across the specific segments you’re targeting, which can be an invaluable source of data in planning such highly targeted campaigns.