Social media marketing has drastically changed the marketing landscape. No longer is the attention of the masses the sole reserve of the behemoth businesses with massive marketing budgets for TV adverts and outside media. It has opened the door the small business to make a huge splash and fundamentally doesn’t cost anything to access.
Ok, ok…most businesses know that social media marketing is a great tool for helping promote their business and that they should be using consistently and professionally to get their brand name out there. But…
“I just don’t have time to do it”
“We don’t know what we should be saying”
“We don’t know the best social platforms for our business”
All things we as marketers hear on a day-to-day basis. They are all good points and ones that we are going to remedy in some detail in this guide.
Getting a few things in line, understanding your audience and the purpose of us using social media marketing will go a long way to answering these. Also understanding the pros and cons of the big platforms will allow you to assess and pick what is best for you moving forward.
Can I use them all?
Often you see ‘social media marketing savvy’ businesses trying to use ALL the platforms they can think of to promote their brand – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pintrest etc. In many ways this makes sense, it gives you a presence on all of the platforms and this in turn allows you to tap into all of the audience.
But let’s look at this practically. As a marketing agency we can tell you now that although social media platforms are free to use, they aren’t really free at all…this is because they all require a BIG time investment. Time to update you feed, create content, reply to comments and enquires, keep an eye on the latest trends and engage with key influencers.
Doing all this is certainly worthwhile achievable for all platforms if you have the resource – which is likely to look like a large marketing team or agency taking care of it all for you. However, for most, doing this means you will be spread too thinly.
Now think of your customers. They spot your brand on their social media platform of choice…they click your profile and your last update is from two weeks ago, you have comments and questions which have been unanswered and the profile is generally looking pretty sad…you are immediately turned off and continue with your journey.
Picking your platforms carefully will mean you can focus your attention on where it counts the most. For example, at Make It Mana we focus on Instagram (where we do a lot of business)and Twitter (where a lot of our customers are). We also have a Facebook and LinkedIn for logistical and discovery reasons, but we do not publicise this fact and simply use them as an information dissemination tool.
The first question to ask yourself when you are selecting the best platform for your business is which one works for your brand in terms of functionality and branding.
Take for example a brand that is very visual such as a cosmetic skin care brand. Usually, this sort of brand would focus widely on visual content such as beautiful photography and video. Therefore, platforms such as Instagram (photo and video) as well as YouTube (video) would be a good shortlist for this brand.
Facebook may not necessarily hit the right vibe in terms of branding, however, it may be considered as it supports both photography and video. For example, this brand may be focusing on communicating an edgy and hip message, which arguably Facebook doesn’t cater for.
Arguably more important than matching the platform to the brand is matching the brand to the audience. Although many have a large crossover, each platform naturally appeals to a certain type of audience. This includes differences in age groups, interests, styles and even position in society, career options and their values.
For example, although the majority social media platforms are used mostly by younger generations (18-30), Facebook is the one which appeals most to an older audience with similar amounts of those in the 30+ category as the younger category. This presents an opportunity for businesses that target mainly an older audience.
Similarly, Instagram widely appeals to a younger audience, with 59% of 18-29 year olds having a presence on the platform. This gives an opportunity to brands that wish to appeal to a younger audience to really tap into platform populatity. This has been seen with great results for brands such as Gymshark and Daniel Wellington which arguably owe a huge part of their success to the audiences on Instagram.
Your business, discovered
Social media marketing is all about getting discovered by customers. But the way in which social platforms do this varies widely based on their individual setup. There are also processes of discovery which work better on certain platforms over others which should be considered when deciding which social media platforms to use.
Take for example the process of discovery through hashtags. A number of platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn support this. However, hashtags are ingrained in the way some platforms work and are much more popular on these. Instagram and Twitter have both leveraged hashtags since the early days of the platform. They even facilitate a better experience with hashtags including dedicated hashtag pages and trending hashtag sections.
Influencers are also a massively important tool for brand discovery on social media. Again, influencer marketing can be used widely across social media platforms including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter. However, generally, influencers prefer the functionality of Instagram and YouTube. It also makes them easier to work with.
Social media marketing will work hardest for business which know the best platforms for their needs.
In this article, we have covered what you need to know about picking the best social platforms for your business. This has included whether you should use all the platforms you possibly can (no). We have also looked at how to match social platforms with your brand and audience you are trying to reach. Finally, we covered considerations for discovery on platforms and which ones might match your requirements for these.
Clearly, it is a good idea to carefully consider which social media you should be using to promote your brand. This is because it represents you and everything you stand for in the public eye. Getting it right means you can double-down and focus on what really counts for helping your brand grow.