Five social media platforms your competitors are using

Alice Garland
Marketing Executive
20th February 2018

In 2018, every business knows that having a strong social media presence is no longer optional. It’s the most powerful tool available to develop relationships with consumers and to build brands.

But the world of social media never stands still. It’s not just a competition for likes and followers anymore – today, the most forward thinking businesses are concerned with getting consumers to engage with their message in a meaningful way.

While Facebook might be what springs to mind when you think of social media, newly emerging platforms should not be overlooked, particularly if you are trying to tap into the international market.

These are some of the social media platforms that growing businesses are embracing in 2018.

Facebook Ads

Facebook is changing. At the start of 2018, its relationship with businesses changed to “it’s complicated” after CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced that posts from friends and family would be prioritised in users’ newsfeeds over posts from publishers and brands.

The idea behind this is to make Facebook a more positive experience, by encouraging users to have more conversations and connections with peers. But it’s bad news for brands, who already faced an uphill struggle achieving organic reach.

With this in mind, B2C businesses should investigate Facebook paid ads. They’ve widened massively in scope – Facebook Messenger and Carousel ads have recently been launched, for example – and offer the advantages of being self-service, highly targeted, budget flexible, and measurable.


For the B2B market, LinkedIn is where you are likely to reach your most engaged audience. It offers various marketing opportunities, including:

Sponsored Content - this can be targeted to reach an audience of professionals beyond just your LinkedIn Company Page followers.

Direct Sponsored Content - this feature allows you to share content directly in the feed, giving you the ability to personalise and test content without having to originate posts on your LinkedIn Company Page. Make your content more relevant by sending personalised messages to specific audiences. Then test and retest a variety of content in real-time to optimise performance.

InMail - send personalised messages to the people who matter most to your business, with the ability to collect more leads with the lead-gen form.

Dynamic ads – these are customised messages to drive content downloads/page visits and collect quality leads.

Video and Carousel ads are also set to launch shortly, offering yet more opportunity to connect with the clients that matter.


There’s a good chance you’ve not heard of WeChat, but it’s a game-changer in China.

With around 938m monthly average users who use it to socialise, buy, game and more, WeChat is a super-app.

On average, users spend more than an hour a day using it, and 40 per cent of Chinese consumers no longer carry cash because they can buy things using WeChat Pay.

The app allows you to localise your offering to Chinese consumers - but you will need partners to help you, and a decent budget.

Setting up a WeChat store and starting marketing will cost in the region of £50,000 - but there is potentially a serious return to be had on that investment.

Instagram Stories

Of the 300 million accounts using Instagram Stories, one-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses, and one in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers.

The possibilities are endless with Instagram stories: Boomerang, live videos, event promotion, user-generated content to increase engagement…..dive in and get creative!

With the ability to target your ads by reach, video views, traffic, conversions, app installs and brand awareness, you can drive business results at the same time.


When it comes to social media, don’t assume the ‘most popular’ platforms are the most popular.

Whilst Facebook has a presence in Russia (between 13 and 20 million monthly active users, depending on which report you trust), Vkontakte demonstrates that a well-structured social platform that serves the local population can take the lead as the most popular social media site.

On the surface, Vkontakte looks a lot like Facebook and Instagram rolled into one - but there are a few differences that really set it apart.

Its embedded MP3 player and playlist tool, for example, is certainly worth investigating for anyone involved in the music industry. With access to 90 million active monthly users on the platform, it’s a potential seam waiting to be mined.

Social Media Week Bristol 2018

Most small businesses acknowledge that social media can be a wonderful way to promote their product or brand, but many are confused by whether they can still rely on organic reach (free posts) or if they should be investing their resources in paid for advertising (pay-to-play). When used properly, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can become effective and profitable sales tools.

Social Media Week, the leading global conference hosted in over 25 cities worldwide, is coming back to Bristol in February 2018 to upskill and inform the local business community on key issues in media, marketing and technology. We're proud to be the official partners of this year’s event and will be taking over Wednesday 28th February with talks from the likes of 2014 Apprentice winner and CEO of Climb Online Mark Wright, Instagram, Aardman, JustEat and many more.

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  • #SMWBristol

    Find the answers to your social media headaches at Social Media Week Bristol 2018, taking place from the 26th February – 2nd March 2018. There are over 30 events across several venues in central Bristol, with headline talks at the Everyman Cinema on Whiteladies Road and Temple Mead’s Engine Shed. To book onto an event please visit the SMW Bristol website by following the link.