June 1, 2017

The 5 Social Media Platforms You Can’t Ignore

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Written by: Brenda Hill
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Social Media info graphic
With social media, there is no “one size” fits all. In fact, it’s less important what you like, but rather what your customers and clients like, trust, and value. Here are five social media platforms no business can leave behind!

“A professional service firm without a website is one that will be out of business in a year…two tops,” said an accounting firm managing partner recently when discussing marketing online.

Five years ago it might have been an option, but not anymore. Not having that online presence is arguably like not having a phone, it just limits your communication with the rest of the world.

Social media, though, is not the same. Yes, social media is popular. Pew Research estimates about 70% of adult Americans use some type of social media. Broken down by age, nearly 90% of millennials use social media, with Gen X at about 80%, younger baby boomers about 65%, and the biggest fall off comes at those over 65, with just 35% using social media.

Using social media is not required marketing for professional service firms, but they are, as a group, moving very rapidly in that direction. But with so many social media options, where should businesses and service firms go in the social media universe?

We counsel a lot of clients, and we have found no two are alike. What social media works for one firm, might be totally different for others. Even within the same practice area, or geography, it varies widely.

We have found that there are 5 primary social media platforms that professionals need to be aware of, monitoring, or active on, if they want to be seen as relevant with the marketplace.

We have determined these are the big five:


Now nearing the 2 billion user mark; very popular, all purpose social media; accepts text, images, and video; rapidly growing marketing tools such as advertising and boosted posts


Arguably the most respected professionally; excellent tool for pier to pier connections; used heavily in recruiting and job hunting; nearly half a billion users


Originally “image” oriented, now using video, too; used by more than 25% of Americans; currently a favorite of millennials; used by half of all major U.S. brands


More than 300 million active monthly users, but more than 700 million registered users; appeals to users when news or frequent updates are important


Yes, YouTube is social media; more than 1 billion users; reaches more 18-49 year olds than cable TV network; generating billions of view of hundreds of millions of hours of content…daily!

Social Media info graphic. Image courtesy Walter Lim

Social Media info graphic. Image courtesy Walter Lim

Our experience is that each company, firm, or brand, typically has one social media that is used the most by their clients and customers, but that it takes some research to determine which. Additionally, firms are well served by exploring what customers and clients are using social media for. Is it news, entertainment, images, videos, text, or interaction?

Typically we recommend that firms and brands create a presence on each, but focus on the one that proves most engaging with clients and customers. The reasons for being on the others, are that social media tastes change, and you don’t want someone social media “squatting”—opening an account in your name and treading on your reputation.

There are wildcards, too. For some industries and for some audiences, Pinterest has become a big player. For Digital Natives, the next generation after millennials, Snapchat is growing rapidly. Blogging is another often overlooked social media many firms are finding customer and client engagement with.

If being vibrant, relevant, and attractive to a variety of potential markets and demographics, think about social media platforms and which ones might work best for your firm. Start with those mentioned in this article, and you’ll be well on your way to social media success! •

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About the Author

Brenda Hill
Brenda Hill
Brenda Hill is a freelance writer in Los Angeles who specializes in current marketing trends.



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