Social Media Madness

By Theresa Braun  

With the number of social networks vying for your participation, the question, “Which social media platform(s) is (are) right for my brand?” becomes complicated. While I’m not a fan or follower of college basketball and my only madness in March comes from birthday celebrations and spring fever, I love a good theme and healthy competition. This calls for a NCAA tournament bracket social media style.*

The Elite Eight

Pinterest vs. Instagram Both Pinterest and Instagram are photo-centric platforms. Instagram offers brands a great opportunity to create user-generated content. Some brands have even stepped up their game with Instagram-powered contests and promotions. Pinterest, on the other hand, offers brands a great opportunity to curate content, as well as the ability to engage with users by repinning others’ photos. This higher interaction level, coupled with the volume, growth rate, and influence of users, puts the platform on top. Pinterest wins.

Tumblr vs. Twitter Both are blogging platforms: Tumblr traditional blogging with a twist, and Twitter microblogging. In a sense, Twitter is blogging at its best: simple to use, with extra-social features such as tagging and reblogging, allowing users to easily discover content. It’s proven to be an ideal space for fashion and media brands, and brands attracting a younger demographic, to play ball. Compared to Twitter, Tumblr is exceptionally more visual and serves as an outlet for infographics, compelling photos, and other images. And, with customizable themes, the site allows for a great deal of expression. However, Twitter’s big win is with dialogue and engagement: the platform offers a simple way to find and join conversations, and holds power to spread ideas or brand message quickly and broadly. Twitter wins.

Google+ vs. LinkedIn Both Google+ and LinkedIn offer opportunities for building B2B relationships. LinkedIn boasts a high presence of key industry decision makers. Google+ has key influencers in its own right,  but the real win for Google+ is Google itself: with the close integration of the social site in results from the leader in search, SEO is big pull for the platform. Google+ wins.

Facebook vs. Foursquare With brands, both Foursquare and Facebook have a location-based element. In regard to LBS, the numbers spell it out clearly, and the users have spoken: Foursquare rules over Facebook. But a check-in or location-share is not nearly as valuable as the opportunity to reward loyal customers. Some brands have had great success with Foursquare promotions, especially with American Express Small Business Deals. But with Facebook’s expansive and established opportunity for discounts, sweepstakes, and contests and many applications that make it incredibly easy to create, launch, and track such promotions, when it comes to rewarding fans, there’s no contest (pun somewhat intended). Facebook wins.

The Final Four

Twitter vs. Pinterest Both Twitter and Pinterest enable brands to find their niches. Twitter allows a brand to seek out its consumer base via hashtags and search. From there, the brand can jump into the existing conversation and engage, strike up a dialogue, or take it one step further by hosting a Twitter chat. Pinterest, on the other hand, consolidates its community via boards or topics. With the revamp of personal profiles, there’s hope for brand pages. But until then... Twitter wins.

Google+ vs. Facebook With the launch of Google+ brand pages in November, both Facebook and Google+ are competing for your brand’s content and community. The most differentiating feature of Google+ is hangouts, offering customer service and personable, intimate interactions, thus strengthening a brand’s connection with its audience. Yet, Facebook, with its years to grow and refine its pages, insights, ads, and mobile app, not to mention its user base, just as in the “real-life” battle between the two: Facebook wins.

Finals

Twitter vs. Facebook The two social media giants each have their pros and cons. When it comes to ads, Facebook edges out; while promoted tweets are generally smarter for bigger brands with bigger budgets, Facebook ads are fit for businesses of nearly any size and offer a hyper-targeted approach. Twitter is arguably more real-time, with tweets less likely to get lost in a shuffle like the Newsfeed and the Edgerank algorithm. Facebook hosts a forum for a brand’s fan base to easily engage with one another and the brand. But while Facebook boasts higher engagement rates, Twitter offers greater reach. On Twitter, brands are able to find followers and non-followers alike talking about the brand and relevant topics. This is especially key for customer service: brands can monitor conversation across the board, rather than relying on consumers to come to them. Twitter is open and that’s a big win. It's the underdog in size, but not in value to brands. Twitter wins.

Here’s an activity: pit each platform against each other taking into consideration your brand and its specific audience, as a method for evaluating the platforms and various solutions they can provide your brand. How would you rank each social media network for your brand?

*Please note that every business is unique, of course, each having its own audience with varying needs and behavior.