After spending so much time on social media platforms, I've come to conclude, it is like dating. Each social media platform has their own personality. And just as with any other relationship you spend time with, they each have their quirks that you have to decide whether they are a good match for you.
Regardless of whether you consider yourself tech savvy or not, technology is always in the palm of your hand. You can either learn to embrace it, throw that expensive phone across the room, or just let the battery run out and keep it tucked away in the drawer. Regardless of your choice, technology isn't going away.
This post is for those who want a broad overview at what is out there for social media and written in "normal" people language. To give you a bit of background on me, by day I am a User Experience Designer. We are the ones who either make your life much easier or you want to strangle us, every time you interact with a mobile device or computer. If you touch it... we either figured out your natural workflow process or we failed miserably. Despite what you think, no... we don't sit and laugh at the idea that someone is screaming at their phone because the app isn't working the way they want it to.
After all... there are millions of you around the world, each wanting something specific. So give us a bit of break... something I have to remind myself often when I am screaming at my phone because "What the **** we're they thinking when they designed this!" Sigh... breath in... breath out.
I've been researching social media for several years now. I built up a following on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to about 40k followers, and then shut Twitter and Instagram down. So no... you'll not see me with thousands of followers. Why? It goes back to the dating analogy... they weren't a good fit for me.
Just like with dating, sometimes you see someone and you start to think... we had some good times... sigh... Which is why I started my Twitter back up.
This is a broad overview. As I continue with this series, I'll get into the details of each platform with future training.
For an author, Twitter is king. There is the strongest writing community on there. In our own little bubble within Twitter it is one of the most supportive communities I've found.
- It is the easiest platform to grow your follower base.
- It has excellent hashtag search to help you define what you want to follow.
- It doesn't have a follow cap so you don't get the follow/unfollow games like you do with Instagram which only allows you to follow 7500 people. Gab raised theirs to 10k.
- Because it's been around the longest, other apps easily integrate with it. (More on those in future posts.)
- It has scheduling capability.
- Lists help you to organize your followers, so you can better engage with them.
- It now has a story feature, similar to Instagram, which is up for 24 hours and then gone forever.
- They discourage verification.
- While it is the fastest to grow your followers, that doesn't always equate to fastest engagement growth.
- It can be a pretty toxic environment if you don't research who you are following.
- It isn't the most free speech platform.
- There is a very dark side to Twitter in terms of pornography and violence.
- You can easily silo yourself there, thinking everyone thinks just like you. This goes back to Cons #3. Diversity of voice isn't encouraged on this platform.
- Limited character count on tweets.
- Unable to edit tweets.
Telegram is one of the hardest platforms to build your follower base, which is disappointing, because it is one of the most powerful platforms out there, to embrace efficiency in using technology. Telegram is a bot lovers heaven. Now, before you gag at the word bot... let's explore why using bots are beneficial.
- One of the most stable platforms. While other platforms were taken off line during "the purge," Telegram stayed up and going, allowing people to continue sharing information around the world.
- Free speech platform. If you want diversity of thought, Telegram has it.
- One of the best platforms to get unfiltered information from around the world.
- Utilization of bot technology to help with efficiency. Bots are embrace on this platform. If you use them for efficiency, you'll love them.
- Organization of the channels you to organize who you follow, through folders.
- You're responsible to monitor your channel discussion. If someone starts commenting with content that goes against their terms of service... that's on you.
- Editing capability.
- It is the hardest platform to grow. To grow, you have to rely on having either other channels recommend you, or use your social media on other platforms to have followers also follow you there.
- Some channels can get spammy.
- It is one of the most technical and challenging platforms out there to use, when it comes to incorporating bots.
- You're responsible to monitor your channel discussion.
Minds is my favorite platform due to the beauty of how efficient it works. Minds understands how to utilize social media as a business.
- They encourage verification.
- You can become a paid pro-member, unlocking more features.
- It gives back! Minds rewards you for being active on their platform, by giving you tokens for your engagement. These tokens can then be turned in, to boost posts.
- Utilizes hashtag search.
- Allows you to save the hashtags you want to see posts from. It basically utilizes bot functionality within their app.
- It is a platform you can monetize.
- Has scheduling functionality
- Has pin post function.
- Editing Capability.
- No direct messages.
- It shows you how many views you've had on your post.
- It assumes everyone understand how to use cryptocurrency.
- Their help and support, even for pro members is lacking.
Gab is another platform which was able to stay up when other platforms were shutting down during the "purge." Gab had already been an outcast and shunned, so they were ready to take on the influx of people who had been "purged" by other social media platforms.
- They encourage verification.
- You can become a pro-member to unlock more features.
- They rely on their users to keep their platform up and running. This keeps them independent from deep pockets dictating what they can and can't do.
- They have Gab TV so you can have a video/podcast all within Gab.
- They are constantly working towards improving and integrating new features for their platform.
- Free speech platform.
- It has groups. Engagement in groups can be better than just posting to a wide audience.
- They have scheduling capability.
- Editing capability.
- No direct messages.
- They have a cap limit on how many people you can follow. It use to be similar to Instagram with 7500, but they raised it to 10k.
- Silo of thought goes to the other extreme. People who were kicked off other social media platforms first went to Parler, when it shut down they came to Gab.
- Poor hashtag search. Gab doesn't utilize hashtag search effectively, they did this because they saw how hashtag search was utilized on some platforms to harass individuals.
- Their scheduling feature is clunky.
Instagram is one of the most dictatorial platforms out there. This platform plays games the most, out of every platform. If you like five tier chess... this may be a platform for you.
- It is widely used.
- Hashtag search.
- Formatted to showcase photography.
- READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE this platform has some quirky terms of service. It is not something you don't want to thoroughly read. I had almost 20k followers and deleted my account when they updated their terms of service.
- Follow/unfollow games due to the 7500 cap limit.
- They are constantly tweaking their algorithms so what worked today to get you views, won't necessarily work tomorrow.
- Easy to get shadow banned.
- Apps have swarmed to this platform to auto like and auto comment to help them boost their views. Don't be impressed by likes and comments as these can be purchased.
- You tend to get spammed with DM... a lot.
With platforms like Telegram you can stay connected with family and friends and maintain your privacy. This is a platform I discontinued using a long time ago. There are too many other platforms which have similar and better functionality without the invasion of privacy.
While this platform has been mainly for business and job hunting, social media functionality has been creeping in.
- If you're a business, your audience is business individuals here.
- It now has a story function, similar to Instagram, which can be used for marketing.
- An excellent resource to showcase your professional skills.
- Has group functions.
- LinkedIn is one of the most underutilized social media platforms.
- It can get spammy with direct messages asking for business.
- Because it is a business minded platform, it can be a bit challenging to become an influencer, if you haven't already established yourself as an influencer on other platforms.
Oh... so you haven't heard of Canva, or you are saying, "Wait, Carin... that's not a social media platform." If you are looking to create content for social media, Canva is a must to use.
- It has templates to use for all platforms, which takes the guess work out of design.
- You can create a design from scratch, use a pre-design as a starting point, or use a pre-design to post.
- You can schedule your posts right from Canva to several social media platforms. They support, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Page, Facebook Group, Pinterest, LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn Page, Slack, and Tumbler.
- They have a free account.
- You can upgrade to Pro Account, which unlocks more features.
- A lot of their photography and illustrations are free.
- You can edit your designs.
- They provide you with a color palette, based off the photography you use in your design.
- Bottom line... Canva makes your life easier when creating social media designs.
- Their organization of your designs isn't the easiest to do. While you can create folders and put them in, when you go to "All," your designs are not in folders, you have to go to a separate link and hope you got them all. RECOMMENDATION: Put designs into folders right after you finish them.
- You use to be able to choose photography and download, but they seem to no longer have that paid service.
If you use social media platform for a business, start with one and learn the nuances of it. You can then expand out, as different platforms will draw different users. If your business or product is one that can be enjoyed by a broad range of individuals, then you may want to use a platform which you may not enjoy their content, but there may still be a audience for your business or product.
Utilize your website as the source for all your social media. That way you have control of your content and it will be easier for you to organize and maintain. Blog posts can be visual or hidden, based upon what you want to share on social medial. Future posts in this series, will go into more training detail on the functions nuances of specific social media posts.
Social media is about trying something new to figure out what works and learning from your failures. Imagine that... it sounds just like life.
Where can you find me on social media?
And yes... I HIGHLY encourage you to sign up and get your own Linktree account. It will make your life so much easier.