As a freelance social media marketer and creative, you might have guessed that I spend a LOT of time online. My days are full of aching thumbs, constant scrolls and endless double-tapping, trying to boost views, likes, shares and comments for my clients. I switch between the same few apps on my phone and my laptop each hour of the day, and then bizarrely convince myself that staying on social media after the workday is done is ‘relaxing’.
Over the years I’ve had to wrap my head around several new and emerging social trends and platforms, and I’ve spent the majority of my professional life staring at blue bird emojis and Instagram stories, trying to create something meaningful on them. I know the ins and outs of social media, the hashtags that will work, the posts that will flop, the trends, the hacks, the gimmicks, the gifs. I can simultaneously investigate a best friend’s ex on Facebook while promoting a boosted post on Instagram with the click of a button. This is my life.
But not all social media platforms are made equally. All of them have their pluses and minuses, particularly when it comes to using them as a business and marketing tool. So today I wanted to rank our everyday social media platforms, based on my experiences of using them as a freelance social media marketer:
I’d like to believe that businesses have long since abandoned Snapchat as a useful tool in business advertising, but my heart tells me otherwise. Snapchat, for me, isn’t a tool designed for clever, imaginative or creative business marketing – particularly in 2022. Although it does have several fun features and unique updates, it largely feels like a platform designed for Gen Z friends, avoiding the crowds.
As a marketer, it’s also not a platform I would typically recommend to my clients – it’s difficult to manage and analyse effectively, and it can be tricky to prepare content for in advance. Whilst it definitely has its place and its value, particularly for those looking to market live events, active promotions and Gen Z targeted products, it’s not one of my favourites.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. Twitter has so many great and interesting features, it’s probably one of the platforms I use the most, and it can create some really interesting channels of discourse and discussion between its users. But as a business, it can be a real struggle to make a dent in it.
From a set-up perspective, it’s relatively easy to create your account and start building up your profile – and the analytics are easy to access too. As a personal profile, I really enjoy using it – but for my clients, it’s hard to truly gauge the effect and impact of their posts. Smaller brands and businesses can often get lost on Twitter, and find themselves skimmed over by the majority of users. Twitter also doesn’t present itself as a great customer service platform, despite its in-built messaging feature, making it even less business-friendly.
There’s a lot to like about Twitter, but personally, it’s not one of my favourites when it comes to business growth and outreach.
Honestly, for my number 5 pick, I was torn between Facebook and LinkedIn. Both have their plus points and their negatives, and I have elements of both that I like and dislike, but due to the recent implementation of the Meta Business Manager on Facebook, I chose to rank it here.
Facebook is, by no means, a flawless platform. It can feel downright inaccessible at times, does little to monitor its content and each new update can feel like a downgrade – but personally, I feel the Meta Business Manager is the worst update of them all. One of the main components of my job is scheduling content, and to do that, I’ll occasionally need to schedule posts directly through Facebook (rather than through a third-party site like Buffer or Hootsuite). But the Meta Suite is confusing, illogically designed and entirely inaccessible to the majority of its userbase. Scheduling a post is no longer a nice and easy action, it requires many steps and obstacles and it feels completely unfriendly to use.
I’ve even heard from clients across the board that they struggle to use Facebook to promote their business now, which is the ultimate shame given how important Facebook is for local industries and businesses. They’ve even begun allowing users to interact as businesses rather than individual profiles, which, as a social media manager, is a huge benefit to the platform – so it really is a shame that their backend so often lets them down.
Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn is next on the list. A great platform for building business connections, finding new opportunities and establishing a strong, wide-reaching networking, LinkedIn is honestly a solid and fair channel to use. Many businesses have enjoyed great success from LinkedIn and in my experience, the levels of engagement are consistently high – particularly when compared to Twitter.
However, even LinkedIn has its flaws. With a large part of my job being centred around analytics and social media monitoring, the LinkedIn analytics software is generally one of my least favourite to use. Difficult to navigate, limited in metrics and inaccessible, it can feel like a frustrating and lengthy process trying to scrape some data from it’s insights.
I can also find LinkedIn limiting as a business user, being unable to interact with other users and accounts as the business profile. As previously mentioned, Facebook has recently introduced this feature into their platform, and I’m a big fan, so hopefully, LinkedIn will pick it up soon as well!
When TikTok first emerged, I found it incredibly difficult to use and adopt from a business perspective. It was only after using the app on a personal level that I began to understand its appeal and its impact, through the sheer, unrestricted creativity the platform offers.
Whilst video content might seem like one of the biggest struggles for a small business to create, TikTok has so many tools to help you plan and shoot your videos, and uploading them is an incredibly simple and accessible process. TikTok also has the added bonus of free content inspiration and ideas literally at the click of a button – every trend, every viral video, every sound and every filter can be easily replicated and used to promote a business, with generally good levels of engagement after publishing.
I really do recommend giving TikTok a go if you’re a small, creative or personality-driven business. It’s a platform designed for fun, imagination and versatility, and it’s incredible to see what some of my favourite businesses have come up with to promote their brand.
Of course, it was Instagram at number 1! Although I understand that Instagram might not be everyone’s favourite platform to use, for me, it’s the best possible channel for promoting your business. With numerous different channels to promote your content through, a big array of hashtags and keywords to play with, solid analytics reports and a useful and accessible posting process – for me, Instagram has it all.
Additionally, one of my favourite elements of Instagram is the possibility for visual creativity to emerge. Instagram is primarily a platform of visuals and aesthetics, and creating a beautiful, seamless and coherent feed for my clients is one of my favourite activities to do. There are so many different ways to be creative, colourful, on-brand and cohesive on Instagram, and it’s always exciting to see which new features are going to be promoted and updated as time goes on. From Highlight and IGTV to Reels and Stories, there are so many ways to promote your content on Instagram – it had to be my number 1 pick!
But what would your social media ranking be? Do you agree with my choices?
Let me know in the comments, or drop me a message at [email protected] to chat!
Thanks for reading