Social Media Marketing is not a fad or a trend, it is here to stay and it is super effective to boot. Some businesses are hesitant to start social media marketing, either because they don’t realize the usefulness of it or more likely because they are unsure of where to start. Did you know that about 70% of people use social media? So using social media to market to this audience just makes sense. It is a readymade platform with a ready source of people to target. It does half the work for you. All an effective marketer has to do is to know the type of people they want to target and use their social media accounts to connect to them. Something that is easier said than done.
Still there are so many social media platforms out there that it can get a bit confusing to know which platform is right for you. Social Media Platforms keep on changing – there was Myspace, Vine, Friendster, and many others that came and left. While platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are currently going strong. However, only time will tell how exactly will these fare in the distant future. So, the million dollar question is which social media platforms should you focus on?
Which social media platforms will you the best bang for the buck?
Facebook is the biggest social media platform out there. Nearly 80% of adults who use the internet are on Facebook, making Facebook the best Social Media to use for just about any business. Due to its huge following, the likelihood is that most businesses will find some part of their targeted audience online. Facebook also allows businesses to make their own Facebook Pages, where people can follow that business for news, announcements, and even write reviews. Facebook also has a great Advertisement Network which allows businesses to run advertisements targeting their audiences. These ad campaigns can run for as less than a dollar to thousands of dollars depending on the business or the marketer.
Most people try to shy away from Twitter due to the sheer amount of noise on the platform. This is primarily due to the fact that anyone can tag, reply to, or follow anyone else. Not to mention people on Twitter have this habit of posting tweets by the dozen. However, it is primarily this attribute that makes Twitter a great way to connect with audiences. Brands and businesses can directly talk to each individual customer if need be, similarly people are quick to tag the brands they love and share what they think about them and their products. This ends up creating really good word of mouth promotion from real customers, and also helps businesses create brand loyalty.
Instagram originally started off as an innocent platform for people to post their images; however, it soon developed into a huge marketing platform. Many brands try to post aesthetically pleasing or artistic images of their products to showcase them in the best light possible. Another way to promote the products is to post images of real people using the products. Many Instagrammers have created entire business models by promoting other brands and products. These Instagrammers have thousands, if not millions of followers whom they can share your product with. Instagram has now expanded into video which opened it up to a whole new different format of content. Instagram Stories can be used to post behind the scenes, office photos, the making of, etc. which can give audiences a real look at how the business operates, thus creating a more personal connection between the brand and the audience.
Like Instagram, Snapchat allows users to post photos that typically disappear after 24 hours. Though this might sound horrible for marketing (who wants their ad to disappear after a day), the truth is that the platform has millions of users. Hence, a well posted ad here can get more views in a day than an ad running for days in other platforms, especially in traditional platforms. Brands can even create their own Snapchat filter for people use, and hence directly promote the brand every time they use that filter, however, a Snapchat filter needs to be approved for use by the Snapchat team. One point to note here is that both Instagram and Snapchat are ideal for targeting younger audiences, much more so than other platforms.
Most professionals will have a personal LinkedIn profile which is used to have an online CV and to make connections in the professional world. However, what most people don’t realize is that LinkedIn can be quite effectively used in marketing as well. Brands can create a Company Page or a Showcase Page for a product. They can then post updates and announcements about their company and/or products here to keep their followers appraised. LinkedIn is especially effective for companies that work in a B2B capacity, as its core function is to create connections with professionals in the field whether they are in a different business or in a completely different field.
Most marketers often write off Pinterest when they think about social media marketing. However, Pinterest can be used as a hidden tool in a marketer’s arsenal. Pinterest’s main selling point is the user-friendly ‘pins of visual inspiration’ that users can save and share with followers. They effectively allow users to create a digital mood board, for whatever their hearts desire. One of these things they desire can be your product if it is effectively clubbed with other mood boosting products. Pinterest’s main audience is affluent women, which is why the site is great for fashion, beauty, and home lifestyle companies who use often use direct links to sell their products by creating a link between inspiration and commerce.
YouTube is huge. It has the second largest number of followers behind Facebook. YouTube’s primary demographic is the 18- to 34-year-old age group, many of whom would rather watch videos on YouTube than watch television. Hence, many companies are now turning towards running advertisements on YouTube than on TV. Companies can use their YouTube account to upload advertisements, how-to tutorials, behind the scenes, etc. Literally the sky is the limit when it comes to content on YouTube.
Yelp’s prime selling point is that it collates reviews from real customers. Yelp allows its users to find local businesses online and allows them to read and write customer reviews. If a business has mainly positive reviews on a site like Yelp, then they are bound to get more customers. It is a great source promotion as people are more likely to trust an authentic review from another customer than they are any number of advertisements.
Social Media Marketing may sound confusing and ever scary; however, it can be a great asset if used effectively. 53% of small businesses say that Social Media Marketing is the number one source for their leads, yet many small businesses are hesitant to create their own social media accounts and start engaging their clients. Not to mention that social media marketing has certain advantages especially over traditional marketing techniques. Social Media Marketing is by far cheaper and much more customizable. One can run an ad campaign for as less than a dollar, and even interact with customers for free. Another benefit of Social Media Marketing is that it is trackable. One can easily track how many people saw the post, how many people like or commented on the post, etc. This makes is easy to see what is working and what is not.
Businesses that are still apprehensive about social media should keep in mind that the most important thing for an effective social media marketing strategy here is to figure out which social media platforms does your target audience use, and just start posting engaging material. A social media strategy can be as simple as you need it to be or as complicated. Sometimes, just opening a social media account and posting stuff that you like to see will be enough to start connecting with your audience and to start generating business leads.