A Minimalist Guide to Social Media for Your Brand
We all have those periods in our lives where we’re spread thin. We’re working too hard, not sleeping enough, and just trying to cram one more task into our already busy schedules. A society that tells you that you can do anything has become a culture that tries to do everything.
Our “everything” mentality has, of course, translated to the Internet. In between texting and phone calls, we’re checking Twitter, posting to Instagram, and looking at the latest stories on Snapchat. For many businesses, it feels like the only solution is scrambling to post on every social channel, to push content on every platform just in case your ideal customer might be hiding on Periscope instead of Snapchat.
The Minimalists, best selling authors with a blog on living a meaningful life, define minimalism as “a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth and contribution.” Many of these principles can easily be applied to your brand.
You can choose to minimize the number of platforms you use to promote your brand. Maybe go from seven accounts to three or four quality channels that align with the vision of your brand. Focus on the health of your brand by growing customer relationships and contributing to a conversation. Just think of the kind of value this could add to your business.
The hard part of pursuing a minimalist social media strategy is selecting which channels are the ones that will bring you the most value. To help with that decision making process, here are the major social media platforms, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Advantages: LinkedIn is the ideal platform for professional development, particularly for B2B companies. Using LinkedIn will allow you to share your industry-specific knowledge with likeminded individuals and potentially convert followers to customers of your product or service. LinkedIn also targets a higher age range than most other social media platforms, with the majority of users being between 30 to 64 years old.
Disadvantages: LinkedIn isn’t the best place to highlight the personality of your brand. The content you share should be industry specific and highly professional. If your information isn’t relevant to business, you’ll likely find that your information is quickly passed over.
Advantages: Twitter is great for participating in conversations and can be a useful venue for upping your customer service game. Certain brands excel at responding quickly to their customer’s praise and concerns. If you’re looking to engage in dialogue with your customers, this is the platform to do so.
Disadvantages: Staying relevant on Twitter can require a lot of upkeep and consistent posting to get noticed. While you do get notifications for responses specifically tagging you, you’ll have to work to appear in the newsfeeds of other users. If you don’t have the time to devote to monitoring your account and the people you follow, this might not be the best choice for you.
Advantages: Instagram is perfect for the company that has the capability to create stunning visual images. Short captions and beautiful photos can easily encourage more people to engage with your brand. The age group that uses Instagram is also varied and doesn’t lean too closely to the millennial generation. If you have quality images and are looking for a growth opportunity, Instagram would be a great channel to devote your time to.
Disadvantages: On the other hand, if you’re not able to create high quality, well-shot images, you might want to avoid Instagram. Users are only going to engage with your brand if they find your images appealing. You won’t get a click through to the link in your profile unless your photo has enough intrigue to create a conversion. Including photos that are of less than stellar quality can also negatively affect your brand’s image and give you a reputation for poor content. Additionally, with potential algorithm changes in the pipeline for Instagram, it’s more vital than ever to make sure what you’re producing is the best it can be.
Advantages: Facebook is a tried and true standby in the world of social media. Everyone and their great grandmother is on Facebook at this point, which pretty much means the demographic reach is endless. If you’re looking to have your brand reach a wide variety of users, this could be the ideal platform for you.
Disadvantages: The major downfall of Facebook? It’s mainly become pay to play and organic reach is significantly down. So unless you’re willing to pay for advertising, focusing your time on Facebook might not be the right choice for you
Advantages: Pinterest is a haven for retailers and e-commerce sites. Post a well-styled image and users can easily purchase the item within the app on their phone. Also, if you’re looking to target women, the majority of Pinterest users are female, which is ideal for brands that are target toward women. If you have the imagery and a female clientele, sign your business up for Pinterest stat!
Disadvantages: Pinterest is another platform that requires a lot of work and attention. An ideal pin needs to be visually appealing and high quality. Even if you meet these criteria, it can still be difficult to stand out because your image may blend in with other pins and get lost in a tidal wave of pins. One way to increase engagement is to promote pins, but again this requires at least a small budget. Unless you have a distinct visual brand, you might want to pass on Pinterest.
Advantages: Periscope is an offshoot of Twitter and has just reached its first birthday. Within its first year, Periscope has succeeded mainly due to its ephemeral nature. Users can log on live to view your cast and ask questions or merely “heart” what you’re discussing. If a user isn’t available to log on live, the video stores for 24 hours so followers can view it later. Periscope is great for live question and answer sessions or special announcements. If you’re looking to put a face to your brand and provide live interaction, Periscope could be a good fit for you.
Disadvantages: The major downside to Periscope is that it’s relatively young in the world of social media, meaning that less people are on the platform. Perhaps even more concerning is that many people aren’t even sure how to use it. As for a brand’s side of things, you might be putting in more effort to create quality content that might not be able to reach as many people as you would on other platforms.
Advantages: Similar to Periscope, Snapchat also has the appeal of being a transitory image platform. While users generally don’t tune in live to view your snaps, they can watch them immediately when you add to your story. Snapchat is a great way to provide behind-the-scenes footage that gives your followers a look at what goes into making your brand awesome. If you’re looking for a way to showcase your business in a more authentic, less filtered way, Snapchat would be a worthwhile time investment.
Disadvantages: Snapchat is another relatively new form of media that requires dedication to deliver a good product. Snapchat has also been fine-tuning its product and providing users with new features, which may require a learning curve for less savvy tech users. If you don’t have time to actively engage users on a relatively new platform or don’t have much going on behind the scenes, it’s probably best to invest your time elsewhere.
Simply put, consider each social media platform and its purpose. Does this purpose align with your business and its goals? If not, then perhaps it’s not worth investing time in, at least initially, and you could find more value on another platform.