If you’re deciding to join the social-media world, congratulations! It’s a big wide universe out there filled with opportunities and potential – and just plain fun.
Now, here’s the first question you need to ask yourself: what social-media platform should I choose?
There are so many out there that we can’t possibly begin to cover all of them in this article, so let’s just start two of the big ones: Facebook and Google+. Of course, nothing’s stopping you from creating accounts on both, and many people do, but it’s likely that you’re going to want to choose one as your primary account.
It’s helpful to break down the basics on each platform. Let’s start with Facebook. Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, Facebook was founded in 2004 and in 2013 made $7,872 million in estimated revenue. Today it’s a fairly ubiquitous platform, with 1.3 billion users as of July 2014. With Facebook you can grow a community of friends, share updates and photos with those friends and follow their own activities, chat with people and create groupings of friends based on your relationship with them.
Now, let’s look at Google+. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Google+ was founded in 2011 and in today claims 300 million monthly active users. Here’s where decisions get tricky: Google+ looks a lot like Facebook in terms of the way users can engage with it. Like Facebook, you can add friends and share photos and updates with them along with following what they do on the network. You can also chat with people and create what Google+ calls “circles” of friends depending on what category you place them into.
So one of the major factors in your decision will be whether or not you’re looking with the dominant force in social media, which is arguably Facebook.
But here are a few things that Google+ has going for it, especially if you’re using it for business:
- It’s growing quickly. While it’s not the dominant force yet, it may well become that in the future. Remember, Google+ is still relatively young. Many of its good years lie ahead of it.
- Google+ offers you access to Google and the tons of resources therein. From YouTube to Gmail to Hangouts, it’s all there once you sign in.
- Since your brand can participate in various communities without waiting for people to like your page, you can get to growing your business the minute you sign up.
Here’s a few Facebook offerings for business users:
- Facebook Insights give you the opportunity to measure your statistics and adjust your posting to take optimal advantage of user preferences.
- The Pages to Watch feature lets you spy on your competition, seeing how others in your industry are faring in current market conditions.
- Facebook Places allows you to offer deals – and the check-in feature lets you see which retail locations are faring the best.
Ultimately, of course, the decision is yours. It’s crucial to take stock of your needs and then examine both platforms. Are you on both platforms or one or the other? I’d love to hear from you – post a comment below!