42% of the global population is using social media.
An even more dramatic stat says that the average person spends approximately 5 years of their life on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels, which means that brands can use this social media addiction to their advantage.
People have become extremely skillful when it comes to avoiding and blocking traditional ads and commercials. Social media platforms have given brands a new, powerful way of reaching their target audiences, raising awareness and recognition, as well as interacting with their customers.
But, there are numerous social media channels and if you don’t want to spread yourself too thin and waste your resources on the ones that won’t contribute to the growth of your business, it’s important to make a smart selection.
Here are some tips to help you figure out how to navigate your way through the social media marketing maze.
Some Important Considerations
Before we get down to dissecting each individual channel and discussing whether your business should be using it, it’s essential to identify a couple of things relevant to making your decision.
First of all, you need to find out what the preferred social media channels of your audience are. Since the whole point of maintaining a social media presence on a particular platform is to get in touch with your customers and prospects, there’s no use creating content or paying for ads when the people you want to target don’t hang out there.
Instead of that, conduct a survey and ask your audience about their social media preferences. Besides this direct approach, you can also fine-tune your outreach by taking advantage of precise targeting options on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Are you in the B2B or B2C industry?
This makes a big difference as certain networks are more suitable for the serious and educational content used for lead generation, which is the main focus of B2B companies. Very few people purchase software or a tool on impulse. On the other hand, B2C companies use some platforms to directly sell to their customers, and their content is more relaxed, visually oriented, and fun.
With 2.27 billion monthly active users, Facebook is by far the most popular and versatile social network. Also, there are about 60 million active business pages.
It’s clear that this network can do wonders for your reach and exposure.
However, some other stats cast a shadow over the network’s obvious benefits. For example, only 20 Fortune 500 companies use Facebook to interact and engage with their audience.
Does this mean that your business doesn’t need a Facebook page?
Quite the opposite.
Although this network might seem pretty ineffective for B2B businesses, it’s still important to maintain an active, strong presence no matter what industry you’re in. As it was mentioned above, Facebook has exceptionally powerful audience targeting options, which means that your ads will be shown to the right people, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of this feature.
79% of all Americans are on Facebook. As for the demographics, this channel has been known to attract younger folks aged 18-29. But as of recently, the number of users older than 65 is on the rise. Gender-wise, it should be mentioned that women have a slight advantage over the male population, as 83% of them use FB in contrast to 75% of men.
Finally, having a business page on this network can significantly amp up your SEO efforts. Although social media isn’t officially recognized as a ranking signal, Google and Bing do take all your social engagement metrics into consideration, and Facebook surely has a big share in this department.
- Use Facebook not to sell but to share useful, engaging, and entertaining high-quality content;
- Include images and videos in your posts, as these boost engagement, and make sure to leverage the Facebook Live option which will allow your audience to interact with you in real time;
- Run giveaways and contests to additionally engage your audience.
This one seems fairly straightforward – Instagram relies on cool, filtered images and short, captivating videos, which means that the fashion, food, and other glamorous industries can make the most of it.
But, all this doesn’t necessarily imply that traditionally stuffy B2B businesses such as SaaS companies would be only wasting their time posting on such a flashy platform. Still, if you’re a software business owner, then you should try and see whether Instagram with its almost 1 billion users can be of any use to you. By monitoring the relevant metrics as well as the traffic generated from this channel, you’ll be able to see if it deserves your full attention and resources.
When it comes to B2C companies, the sky’s the limit. It’s worth noting that over 70% of Instagrammers are younger than 35, so depending on what you’re offering, make sure to adjust your lingo and content to be appealing to them.
Brands can see great benefits from this platform – Instagram images get 23% more engagement than those on Facebook. Similarly, brands can experience engagement rates 10 times higher than on Facebook.
- B2B companies can build attractive profiles by sharing short and useful how-to posts, pics showing their employees at work, representing their corporate culture, taking their customer behind the scenes, and displaying cool merch;
- Research relevant hashtags and include them in your posts – 30 is a maximum, while 11 is a sweet spot;
- Posts with a location get 79% more engagement, so make sure to use it.
This is a network for business professionals, and it’s a perfect fit for the B2B industry, while B2C companies can use it for recruiting employees.
If lead generation is what you’re after, then LinkedIn, with its 575 million users, is a must. A well-crafted profile and a strong presence can help you connect with numerous business professionals, build your network, and attract the attention of your prospective clients, top talent, and potential partners.
LinkedIn boasts a powerful option for targeting audiences which will push your ads and content right in front of your ideal customers’ eyes and subtly but effectively push them towards your website.
Besides being successfully used for the marketing and thought leadership purposes which can help you build an enviable professional reputation and cement it, this platform can be used for reaching out to your potential clients via direct messages.
If you’re a business owner or CEO, it’s highly recommendable to maintain both your company page as well as your personal LinkedIn profile. The latter will allow you to build authority and trust, and establish yourself as a thought leader, all of which will positively impact your company.
- Make sure that you have a high-quality, professional photo or a logo of your company as a profile image.
- Include relevant keywords in the summary.
- Update your business page and personal profile on a regular basis, and post and share only valuable, educational content.
- Join different groups related to your industry, start participating in discussions and chats, and offer solutions to common pain points. This way you’ll demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as an authority in your field.
This micro-blogging platform is particularly useful for sharing company news, updates, and participating in trending conversations. Many popular brands, both B2B and B2C have profiles on Twitter and use its 280 characters to promote their products and services in a concise and fast-paced manner.
Tweets are the modern equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing, and they’re extremely powerful in terms of building (or ruining) a business reputation. That’s why this platform should be used carefully, which means that you should monitor all the metrics and mentions, and respond to all comments in a timely manner. In case that you’re not sure whether this social media network is suitable for your business, it’s a good idea to hire a social media mentor who will show you the ropes and point you in the right direction.
Due to its dynamic nature, Twitter is perfect for customer service, and one of the most prominent examples is how General Motors handled the crisis in the wake of recalling 1.6 million cars by interacting with their customers on Twitter and offering help and advice.
- Follow influencers from your niche, retweet their tweets, and share your opinion on important topics.
- It’s crucial to tweet on a daily basis if you want to stay relevant.
- Always respond to any feedback, even if it’s negative, and make sure that you’re polite and helpful.
- Identify relevant hashtags, but don’t get carried away because if you put too many of them, you’ll come off as a spammer.
As you can see, all these social media channels can be used for any type of business. However, you should focus on those preferred by your audience, and start with just one or two. Once you establish your presence on them, you can gradually expand to new platforms and see how they work for you.