Social media platforms are some of the greatest marketing channels available. With the ability to reach thousands of new and existing customers, replicating that success in traditional marketing streams would cost a significant investment of cash that most businesses don’t have. The ability to grow your business, in most cases organically, is an opportunity you cannot afford to turn down.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Using social media as a means of marketing your brand doesn’t have to be complicated, costly, or time-consuming. With the right content, a regular posting schedule, and the free nature of most social platforms, there has never been a better time to take full advantage. Don’t just take our word for it, though. Instead, look to the 3.196 billion social media users. That figure is ever growing as well, up by 13% from 2017. If that wasn’t reason enough to get excited about launching your brand on social media, 78% of companies are planning to further utilise data gathered from social media marketing to gain a better understanding of their consumer base. By delaying your presence on social media, you can be sure another company in your niche will take the time and effort to captivate customers that could be yours. The first port of call is knowing who your customers are, as different demographics favour particular social media platforms.
PICK THE PLATFORM THAT RESONATES WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS
Firmly establishing who your customers are and what the aim of your social media venture is will directly dictate which platform is best for you. If you are looking to update audiences on the latest developments of your company casually, then Facebook could prove ideal; however, if you are selling a service to other businesses, a presence on LinkedIn would be far more beneficial. Different consumer groups use each platform in varying frequencies, but with an understanding of which demographics are prevalent on which platforms and an idea of what it is you want to achieve; for example, building brand awareness or generating sales leads via posts, then success is merely a click away.
WHICH PLATFORM SHOULD YOU PICK?
Our selection of suggested social media platforms is by no means exhaustive; however, the following represent the significant majority when it comes to not only signed-up users, but active users as well. At least one of the platforms listed below will enable your company to grow through effective social media marketing, regardless of whether you are targeting individuals (B2C) or businesses (B2B).
The pool of consumers active on Twitter is somewhat mixed. 32% are aged 18 to 29, while nearly half of all girls between ages 15–17 tweet more regularly than boys. There is still a portion of the older generation that uses Twitter—ages 50–64—but the total number of users in this category is much lower at 13%. They do all, however, share one a common goal; Twitter is mainly used to provide users with a source of information. If you are a company that wants to share engaging topics or keep your customer base abreast of the latest developments, Twitter is the best social media platform to start with. The most effective way to build brand awareness is by making sure you have a two-way conversation with customers. Retweeting or responding to tweets are great ways to engage with followers. Just make sure you have the resources to deal with the frequency of customer tweets. 78% expect a response within an hour.
With nearly 2 billion active monthly users, Facebook is the largest social media platform available. It’s active user base is both a blessing and a curse. Establishing a brand presence on Facebook may attract someone’s attention, but cutting through an incredibly saturated newsfeed can make targeted marketing difficult. Users are typically between ages 25–34, with a near equal split between males and females. However, unlike Twitter, Facebook has a more significant proportion of older users. Over half of the internet users aged 65 and older are active on Facebook. Many companies choose to run multiple social media accounts; however, Facebook is nearly always considered the “home point”. Any new posts will start on Facebook before resonating outwards to other marketing streams. The only watch-out would be for companies focussed on B2B; Facebook is more frequently used socially. Business users tend to favour LinkedIn.
If you are trying to sell a product, what better way of showing it off than with an artistically shot photo. If that sounds like the ideal venue for your business, you will need to head over to Instagram. The platform can also be used to hire influencers, individuals with millions of followers who can promote your product or service.
Regarding demographics, figures are similar to Facebook when comparing the split between men and women. The most frequent users in the US are aged 18–29, with the next largest group being 30–49. Over 49 years old and the numbers start to dwindle, so know who your product is aimed at to get the best ROI. The recently updated “Stories” feature has allowed Instagram to compete directly with Snapchat, making it a great way of conveying a message to your audience. Both a positive and negative aspect of Instagram is that content is consumed incredibly fast. It is almost impossible to overshare. Be careful you have enough quality content to support a regular posting schedule!
A haven for B2B marketing, LinkedIn is where the majority of businesses look to entice other companies with their product or service. Being less socially focussed enables even big contracts to be initiated through communication on LinkedIn. The overwhelming majority of users are also aged 30–64, so a significantly more mature audience. If you want a platform to showcase professionally written content and videos, LinkedIn is perfect. Ensure the message you are trying to portray is carefully edited and reviewed, as it will be subject to a much higher level of scrutiny than a social platform like Facebook. With over 250 million active monthly users, LinkedIn is a platform worth utilising. Recently updated features for LinkedIn include the ability to upload video natively. The trend of B2B videos is gaining incredible traction, so building this into your social media strategy is vital for success on LinkedIn.
YouTube takes the visual appeal of Instagram’s photos to a whole new level. Not only is it possible to captivate businesses or individual buyers with a short video, it can also be more expensive and time-consuming to do so. YouTube is also the second largest search engine on the internet, so regularly posted videos is bound to attract high levels of traffic. YouTube is also one of the only platforms that does not have paid premium account options available. You can upload as much footage as needed without running into any restrictions.
YouTube is so popular that all demographics use it for some purpose. In fact, 33% of all internet users visit the site. With the option to monetise content, YouTube could prove to be a vital revenue stream; however, you will need to exceed 10k total channel views to enable this feature. So many eyes and ears on your content are great, but the standard of editing and production expected from companies is high, so ensure this is planned for.
Again, much like Instagram, make sure you have the content and the quality to upload regularly. One fundamental difference with YouTube is that unlike Twitter, a site ideal for two-way conversations with customers, YouTube does attract a unique type of commenter. Many companies choose to turn this feature off, although if you take the same approach, make sure other platforms are available for customers to communicate with you.