28 June 2012
Choosing the Right Network
Choosing the right tool makes a difference when you are trying to accomplish the task at hand. When it comes to hanging a picture, there are several ways to hang it; however, using a hammer, nail and level to get the picture where you want it is one of the best ways. The same is true when it comes to Social Media, choosing the proper tools for the job will help you accomplish the task in an efficient manner.
In this column of Social Media for Defense, we will examine some of the tools that can be used to share your message with the audience you want to reach. After working through Step 1 as discussed in the Strategy column, there should be a team in place and a basic set of objectives that your company or organization is trying to achieve. Once these goals have been decided upon, it is time to choose a social media platform to use.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube are among the 200+ platforms available for you to use to share your message. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and challenges that will help make choosing the right platform a bit more manageable. Here we will look at the two big guns, Facebook and Twitter.
Facebook – The largest and most widely used social networking site in the world launched in February 2004. As of May 2012, Facebook has over 900 million active users, more than half of them using Facebook on a mobile device.
- Photo albums and older posts remain on your wall long after initially made;
- Not limited in length of status updates;
- Businesses can use their Facebook Page as their blogging platform;
- Large user base;
- Can send direct Facebook messages and mail to all of your fans at once;
- Capable of posting videos;
- Provides detailed insights on the users of your Page once you reach 30 “Likes”.
- Fans must initiate contact;
- Can be difficult to build fan base;
- Initial setup of a Facebook Page can be labor intensive, especially if you want it to be successful;
- Can be difficult to get fan interaction on your Pages with feedback levels commonly found at 2% or less on any given post;
- Although fans can “share” your posts, it doesn’t happen easily;
- Cannot search Facebook users’ posts;
- Users tend to be looking to connect with people or groups they already know.
Twitter – Created in March 2006, Twitter is an online social networking service and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, known as “tweets”.
- Easy to make new contacts and extend your social circle beyond your friends;
- Simple user interface;
- Extremely interactive allowing you to communicate directly with your customers and address their comments or concerns;
- “Tweets” reach tour followers and are often rebroadcast as re-tweets;
- All posts are searchable on Twitter for keywords relevant to your business;
- Twitter users are usually open to making connections with people they don’t know.
- Tweets are a moment in time;
- Can only post links to one photo at a time;
- Limited to 140 characters for a post;
- Smaller user base yet growing rapidly;
- Direct messages can only be sent to one user at a time who follows you;
- Does not provide insights or data from Twitter, must use a third-party application.
The lists above provide a basic overview of two of the most common social networks and the benefits and challenges provided by both. Is there one social media platform that would be most effective for your business? The answer to that question really depends, but by choosing the right network, you will be able to reach a greater number of people in an efficient manner.
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