Now that we are a solid decade+ into using social media, podcasts, and YouTube to market our businesses and build brand awareness, I find more and more people asking me how to choose between platforms and where they should focus their efforts. Each of these mediums has evolved a lot since their beginning and the answers that experts gave to that question even 2 years ago have changed.
I wanted to share some high-level thoughts on each of these mediums to help you make strategic decisions about where to invest your own marketing budget, energy, and time for the best return on investment that you can get in today’s media landscape. These are my current perspectives based on producing media for all of these platforms simultaneously over the last 8 years, specifically with personal brands.
Social media started as a personal connection tool and has become an e-commerce tool for businesses (whether selling goods and services direct to consumer or harvesting user data to re-target ads elsewhere). If you are selling your low-ticket products direct to consumer, these apps can be really useful. However, if you are trying to use them as a personal connection tool or brand building tool, the tone and usefulness has changed quite a bit – especially if you are trying to talk about something that is complex.
These apps are currently best used for sharing snapshot moments and highlights, representing the vibe of your brand visually, and keeping you top of mind to those who follow you. Think of it like the new version of the Yellow Pages or your resume. It just shows a bit of your story, services, and credentials, but it’s the quickest and easiest way to remind people you exist or send an immediate announcement to the public. People will see and take in very few of your posts, but if they need to check you out or look you up, it’s helpful to be easily found on these apps. *Note: there are always exceptions to this, and you know if you are one of them 😉
Podcasts started as an open source audio version of blogging that anyone could make and share and they have become mainstream media outlets like radio or TV. They are really good at sharing education, news, expertise, complex conversations, and more because people will spend the time listening that they wouldn’t spend watching a lower budget production. There is still a significant skill set needed to make them good though, so it’s not the best fit for everyone.
If you are a storyteller, teacher, or professional entertainer, this medium can be golden for you. It can be used for lots of different content, but the sweet spot is typically ideas that need some space and time to be explained well. You can build huge authority and trust with your audience by podcasting, but you need to be specific in what you make for them and always be thinking of what they need, not what you need.
YouTube started as a free video hosting service to the world and has become a major production house, ad agency, and network. It’s a much more time intensive platform if you want to make good money on it, but it lets you monetize purely from a view count, which is the lowest barrier to getting paid of any platform we’ve talked about. YouTube also has a pretty global reach compared to individual social media and podcast apps, and it’s a search engine (owned by Google), so it makes your content easily found and consumed by the general public.
To do YouTube well takes a specific strategy and a lot of time (and usually money), but it pays off huge over the long run. The content that does best on YouTube is typically 2 – 10 minute videos that are entertaining, beautiful, inspiring, or educational. Of course you can do a lot of things with YouTube, but when choosing it for a business strategy, it’s the most effective at building social proof and visual recognizability, which makes it really attractive for speakers, coaches, and media “personalities.” If you’re good on camera, you probably already know it, and this platform will reward you for it.
That’s my high level perspective on each of the 3 big media platforms in use online today. They are all evolving constantly, so I’m sure I’ll have an update in a year (or sooner), but I hope this explanation helps you hone in on what platforms will let you play to your strengths, bring you the desired return on investment, and free you up to focus on what works best for you.
More resources on choosing a platform for your media:
- EP 8 Audio v. Video Podcasts: What You Need to Know
- EP 44 Picking Your Marketing Social Platforms
- Contact us if you’re interested in discussing how we can produce your long form media with you!