When it comes to digital marketing, the sheer number of social media platforms can be daunting. What’s the best one to use? Do you really need ten different social media profiles?

In this article, we’ll highlight the five essential social media platforms you need to be on.

We’ll explain the benefits (and drawbacks of each). We’ll take you through the dos and don’ts of each platform. And we’ll give you our top tips to make your social media marketing as efficient as possible.

1. Facebook

Facebook is the undisputed king of social media. Founded in 2004, it boasts two and a half million monthly active users and reaches over 60% of all the entire internet world.

So a Facebook presence is a must for digital marketing. With over 80m business pages, it’s become an indispensable way to share your business details (name, address, contact details, business activity…). It’s also a great way to reach out and connect to potential customers.

The best Facebook pages strike a balanced tone: not as serious and corporate as LinkedIn (see below), but not as irreverent as some of the newer social platforms.

Facebook also allows you to advertise on the platform, which can be a great way to reach a highly targeted audience. We offer a dedicated Facebook Ads management package for all budgets.

2. Instagram

If you only enjoy going on Facebook for the pictures, Instagram is for you! In fact, Facebook was so concerned about the growth of Instagram in the early 2010s, it decided to buy its competitor in 2012.

It paid around $1b, which raised eyebrows at the time. Over the last 8 years, it’s become clear that was one of the biggest bargains of all time. Bloomberg recently estimated that Instagram would be worth more than $100 billion if it was a standalone company.

Instagram is incredibly popular with young people, so it’s a great option if you want to access that demographic. Make sure you steer clear of stock images, and try to create content that is “shareable”.

Also, think about how your customers might use Instagram to promote you. For example, if you are a restaurant, consider the presentation of your dishes. Millennials love to share photos of what they’re eating – free advertising for you!

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a business and employment oriented social network founded in 2002. It’s incredibly popular in professional fields. In fact, two professionals join LinkedIn every second!

It is the most corporate of all social networks, so treat it accordingly. Make sure your profile picture (business or personal) is formal. Keep your language professional. Think job interview rather than hanging out with friends.

Most of all, add value! Don’t approach LinkedIn with a “what’s in it for me” mindset. Like, share, comment and engage. Start conversations. Introduce people to each other.

4. Twitter

Twitter was launched as a “microblogging” service in 2006, but soon became an indispensable news, search and social platform.

Twitter generates an incredible amount of content, and is a great place to build an online presence. It’s especially good for direct contact with your customers. Young people in particular love to reach out to brands via Twitter rather than e-mailing or calling.

A couple of caveats. A badly-judged tweet can have serious consequences. Twitter uses are very unforgiving, so if in doubt don’t tweet!

Also, Twitter isn’t as big as the likes of Facebook. It has around 145m daily users (compared to Facebook, which is in the billions). So while Twitter is useful, don’t make it your only social media marketing platform.

5. YouTube

YouTube (which is owned by Google) has been described as the search engine for videos. The scale of the platform is vast – 400 hours of new videos are uploaded every minute.

What’s more, young people love to learn and discover by video. 59% of 14-23 year olds prefer YouTube to any other method (including in-person teaching and books).

So it’s a great way to add value, share tips and inform your customers. As with the other platforms, just make sure the majority of your content is for the viewer’s entertainment or benefit. Don’t be too “salesy”.

Yes you can add a call-to-action at the end of the video, but don’t just churn out adverts. Your viewers will soon find something else to watch.

If you’d like to discuss how we work with brands to help them master social media marketing, please get in touch.

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