How Social Media Can Benefit Your Business
When you’re thinking about creating a social media strategy for your business, a few leading platforms probably come to mind right away: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe YouTube or Pinterest, depending on your industry.
However, there are many types of social media sites out there, with new platforms and formats popping up regularly. Some of them are pretty niche, while others have the potential to become the next Instagram or TikTok.
One thing that’s changed since the early days of social media is that many platforms used to focus on one function, such as social networking or image sharing. Now, most established social media platforms have expanded to incorporate live streaming, augmented reality, shopping, social audio, and more.
What Is Social Media?
Social media facilitates the sharing of ideas and information through virtual networks. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, social media covers a broad universe of apps and platforms that allow users to share content, interact online, and build communities. More than 4.7 billion people use social media, equal to roughly 60% of the world’s population.
Today, social media messaging apps and platforms are the most commonly used sites worldwide. In early 2023, 94.8% of users accessed chat and messaging apps and websites, followed closely by social platforms, at 94.6% of users. Search engine sites were next, with 81.8% of users accessing them.
What Is the Use of Social Media?
Social media allows individuals to keep in touch with friends and extended family. Some people will use various social media applications to network and find career opportunities, connect with people across the globe with like-minded interests, and share their own thoughts, personal updates, and insights online.
What Are the Benefits of Social Media?
With hundreds of social media sites globally, these platforms offer users the ability to access information in real time, connect, and find niche communities. On one hand, social media has helped many individuals find common ground with others online, making the world seem more interconnected and within reach. Yet on the other hand, social media is prone to spreading disinformation, creating polarization, and causing harmful psychological effects.
Still, according to a 2019 survey by Pew Research Center, people’s use of social media is correlated with having more friends and more diverse personal networks, especially within emerging economies. For 80% of teenagers, social media allows them to feel more connected to peers, according to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17. Overall, one in three said that social media has had a mostly positive effect on them, while 59% said it had neither a positive nor a negative effect.
Businesses are also using social media marketing to target their consumers, establish a following in order to build a loyal fan base and create a culture behind their own brand. According to Facebook, more than 200 million small businesses use their platform for marketing purposes. Separately, 90% of marketers say they use Facebook for promotion
With the ever-growing number of social media platforms, it can be overwhelming to constantly wonder whether each of them is worth your time.
To avoid spending too much of your time learning the ropes of every new platform, let your social media marketing strategy guide your decisions, and only join the networks that support your goals.
Follow these three tips to build your own criteria that will help you evaluate any new social media platform, no matter what it is or how it works.
Keep up to date with social media statistics
Whenever a new social media platform emerges, it’s essential to know the difference between a shiny new object and a fast-growing platform that has the potential to stick.
Although no one can tell the future, one way to know if a platform has staying power is to compare its statistics to established social media platforms.
Know your audience
The first question you should ask before joining a new social media platform is: where is your audience?
It makes more sense to go where your audience is already hanging out than to join a new platform and attract your audience to it.
The second thing to understand is how your audience is using that platform. What type of content are they looking for? Which types of accounts do they follow? Are they passive consumers or content creators?
For detailed insights into how people use different social media platforms, dive into our State of Digital 2021 report.
Align to your key business goals
Ask yourself: which platforms match my business goals best?
For example, if one of your goals is to increase awareness about a new product or service that could benefit from video tutorials, you should focus on video-only platforms (like YouTube and Vimeo) or video formats available on the sites you’re already active on.
What are the business applications of social media?
In business, social media is used to market products, promote brands, connect to customers, and foster new businesses. As a communication platform, social media promotes customer feedback and makes it easy for customers to share their experiences with a company. Businesses can respond quickly to positive and negative feedback, address customer problems, and maintain or rebuild customer confidence.
Social media is also used for crowdsourcing. That’s the practice of using social networking to gather knowledge, goods, or services. Companies use crowdsourcing to get ideas from employees, customers, and the general public for improving products or developing future products or services.
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