Developing a strong presence and personality through social media marketing is a low-cost, high-impact strategy to reach sales goals. In order to reap the most benefit, companies must assess which social networks are most suited to their business model and industry.
For companies not yet using social media for business, they may be missing out on audience building and profitable engagement opportunities which can solidify a loyal customer base.
Since its inception, social media has branched out from being a communication and social tool to become one of the main arenas for business marketing and product advertising. Before social media, businesses had to produce product advertisements through physical marketing efforts such as print ads, physical billboards, and television adverts.
This all required a business to have considerable capital to invest, making it more difficult for startups to enter the market and position themselves in front of the target audience.
With social media, businesses can position their products and services in front of their chosen audience instantly, over each platform through text, photo, and video advertising. This has changed the way that businesses communicate with their shoppers, significantly widening the pool of people that they have access to on a global scale.
It's essential to know the social media platforms available to businesses and how they work. Understanding each platform's core mission, the demographics of users, and other key trends will be beneficial for businesses to know when considering a platform for their social media marketing strategy.
With more than 2.7 billion monthly active users in 2020, this network is invaluable to businesses wanting to capture a large audience, target specific consumers, and offer information about the company.
Updates about the business, communication with customers, and key information about the products and opening hours can be shared on the business page. Facebook can also give companies access to in-depth analytics and advanced social media advertising tools.
Owned by Facebook, this platform has approximately 1 billion active users as of 2020. Tools that businesses can leverage include Instagram stories, paid ads, Instagram live, and daily posts.
Based on photo and video posts, this platform's visual aspect is advantageous for companies that benefit from sharing visual content, such as photos of menu items or demo videos.
Generally, Foodservice and Artistic businesses, like design companies, will benefit most from Instagram. As Instagram is almost entirely for mobile usage, content should be catered to smartphone users and younger demographics.
Similar to Instagram in its visual content focus, Pinterest allows the user to save content by pinning' it to their virtual bulletin boards. Often, the pins are organized by category, such as recipes, home decor ideas, etc.
Popular among businesses that focus on design, food, fashion, beauty, exercise, and more, Pinterest isn't likely to be beneficial for companies outside of these visual-focused areas.
With 240 characters of fewer in short text posts, Twitter is ideal for businesses that wish to share brief updates, promotions, or engage with target audiences.
Uploaded content can include images, links, and videos, but Twitter is often focused on the text. People can like, comment and retweet the posts, driving engagement, and awareness for the business.
YouTube is a video content platform where users upload, share, watch, rate, and comment on content. Owned by Google, the platform essentially works as a search engine in the same way that Google does, but for videos.
There are techniques that creators can use to grow their channels and access a global audience within their niche. As a business can choose to share entertaining or educational content, the platform is ideal for a wide range of businesses.
With approximately 260 million monthly users, this platform is based on professional networking. It is primarily used to find top talent in a specific area, position the company as an industry leader, or promote products and services.
LinkedIn is more of a professional industry-specific platform, which is most advantageous for companies looking for strategic partnerships or new talent.
This mobile-only social media platform is a visual application known for its temporary content which disappears after 24 hours.
The app also includes chat, image storage, and more, with new features allowing users to save and reupload content. The stories feature on Snapchat is similar to Instagram, so businesses may choose to simply utilize one of these platforms rather than both.
This platform grew in popularity in recent years, with users creating and sharing short videos meant to entertain or educate.
Businesses with a clear and established voice or brands that are more playful in their approach may find success in creative TikTok videos. The primary users of this app are young Millennials and Generation Z, so businesses that are focused on more mature audiences may not benefit as much from TikTok.
Businesses looking to incorporate social media into their marketing strategies should note the following tips.
- Social Content - Focus on curating and posting high-quality social content such as images, videos, how-tos, and infographics. The more consistent and valuable the content, the more engagement the business will receive.
- Content Planning - Creating a social media marketing plan is vital for success. This strategy includes competitor research and keyword planning to brainstorm ideas for content that will be the most well-received by the target audience.
- Content Promotion - Sharing new content on social media sites, like blog articles and podcast episodes, will foster brand loyalty from existing audiences, as well as show prospective consumers the value of the information and expertise of the brand.
- Consistent Branding - Businesses can showcase their branding across a variety of platforms, which allows the business to express their unique branding in imagery, voice, written text, etc. The main tip here is to have a consistent brand voice throughout.
- Track Competitors - Keeping up-to-date with what competitors are doing through keyword and hashtag research and other marketing analysis allows a business to stay ahead of the competition by finding ways to create different and better content.
- Measure Success - It's imperative to track data and key performance indicators to determine the success of marketing strategies. Google Analytics and internal reporting, such as Instagram's business account analytic feature, is a good place to start.
- Crisis and Reputation Management - Having a set plan in place for potential challenges on social media platforms, such as customer backlash, bad reviews, and hackers, will ensure that businesses can effectively handle the situation with a fast response time.