SMM is a form of internet marketing on social networks, as you already know from our previous blog post. People regularly interact with brands through social media, give feedback, request new features and get caught up in debates with other users on what is best about this brand or that. People post, like and share content on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram every day. What does it mean for your businesses? It means that if you’re not speaking directly to your audience through social platforms and don’t use networks for building up your community and brands recognition, you’re missing out.
Well-performed SMM helps improve communication with the community, increase brand exposure, create a brand identity and positive brand association, and broaden customer reach. It’s also great for getting direct feedback from the community. If a company is able to react to feedback fast, it appears to be more connected with its users.
Choosing Social Media Platforms For Your Business
There are many social media platforms, and they vary in popularity. Have a look at these statistics you might already have seen in our previous post:
Most popular social networks worldwide as of January 2019 (in millions)
We see that Facebook is a prominent leader, and it’s hard to imagine an SMM campaign that doesn’t use Facebook. But the choice cannot be based only on the popularity of the platform—you need to focus on the social media networks that your target audience is most likely to use. People use different social media for different purposes. For example, Facebook is more focused on exchanges between friends and family and are encouraging interaction through features like photo or status sharing and social games. Whereas platforms like Tumblr or Twitter focus on rapid communication and microblogging. And of course different platforms require different marketing approaches, and for best results, we’d recommend developing a unique strategy for every platform.
Basically, you need to ask yourself several questions to understand if you need a particular social media platform in your marketing plan.
- Which audience uses this platform?
- What is this platform’s unique approach?
- How do its features meet the needs of my company?
Features Of Major Social Networks
Each social media platform has its benefits and weaknesses. When you understand your target audience and your marketing goals, it’s useful to analyze the features of each social network.
Facebook is the largest social platform in the world with more than 2 billion active monthly users. Here you can post almost any content you want, from images to videos and articles, although the visual component is a vital aspect of the Facebook experience. A company can create a Facebook page and share posts, audio and video including live video. The latter is excellent, for example, when you want to tell about an event your team members are currently participating in.
Facebook is considered as a place for communication between friends and family, so it’s recommended to keep the tone of your content light and friendly and don’t try to force users’ actions.
You have to remember that organic reach on Facebook is minimal, and it’s useful to prepare a cost-effective ad strategy. Several tips here:
- Specify and narrow your targeting.
- Implement custom audiences.
- Make your ads visually captivating.
- Prepare a retargeting strategy.
- Test campaigns.
Youtube was created as a platform for sharing user-generated videos, such as video blogging, tutorials or original series. The site grew rapidly and was reportedly receiving 100 million video views per day and had more than 65 thousand daily uploads only a year later. In 2015, 31% of YouTube users accessed it more than once a day. We can definitely say that YouTube is the number one platform for sharing video content.
Creating video content is a must for any businesses, but the process consumes time and money, so it needs considerable planning and a clear understanding of your goals. In general, useful, instructive “how-to” videos always have good users’ feedback.
Youtube is also the best place for video blogging as a part of the PR campaign. Competent promotion of such a blog run by one of the company execs can help that person become an industry opinion leader.
Instagram is a visual-based social platform with 1 billion monthly active users. It allows users to take photos, edit them with filters as well as post and share images on their profile pages and directly with their friends on the network.
The Instagram audience is considerably young: in November 2018 32.6% of U.S. network users were between 25 and 34 years old. The second-largest user group was 18 to 24-year-olds with a 23.7% share. According to spring 2018 data, Instagram is also the second most important social network of teenage internet users.
Although it is a visual platform, it best suits companies that can showcase physical products and locations, service-based businesses can also find creative ways to demonstrate their brand, especially utilizing the Instagram story service. 53% of users follow at least one brand on Instagram to keep up with news or trends. Instagram users show high engagement rates with displayed content. The most popular fashion brand on Instagram at the end of 2017 was Nike, and it had over 69 million followers.
Twitter is a platform for fast communication with short messages. Users can like, comment and share their short messages called “tweets”. The platform allows users to follow any other user with a public profile, enabling users to interact with celebrities or companies’ execs who regularly post on social media.
Previously, the length of messages in Twitter was limited with 140 characters, but recently it was increased to 280. Videos and images are allowed as well. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, Twitter had more than 321 million monthly active users.
Via Twitter, it’s easy to keep in contact with the community and react to people’s complaints or compliments promptly. Considering this, Twitter is, even more, a PR-tool, and you have to pay attention at the fast reaction and informal style of tweets where your SMM-specialists will, however, keep expressing the major position of the company. Twitter is very suitable for posting news, important announcement, and real-time information.
Twitter users willingly share mems, so it’s a good idea to alternate your business news with related entertaining content to provoke your audience to retweet it and thus broaden coverage and gain new followers. It’s also useful to categorize content using hashtags—keywords or trending topics.
To reach more of the target audience, you can tweet multiple times a day. It’s is a considerable advantage of Twitter as posting so often is not recommended on other popular social platforms. As people share their thoughts on current experiences on Twitter in real time, companies can utilize live-tweeting during events.
LinkedIn is the social media platform for business professionals with over 3 million active monthly users. One in four social media users has a Linkedin account. Members can create profiles and make connections with others as a way of establishing professional relationships.
Employers feel comfortable to advertise jobs on the platform and search for candidates while job seekers have the opportunity to search and view the profiles of hiring companies via connections. They can connect with colleagues as well as build new relationships with influencers. LinkedIn enables users to see who recently viewed their profile, and users consider this feature the most useful.
Although Linkedin is known as a social network for professional, functional purposes, it’s not just an online CV and hiring tool. It generates 15 times more impressions on general content than job postings.
Linkedin is probably the go-to place for a B2B company, as you have the ability to find and engage with representatives of either a particular company or even a business niche or market.
It’s a good idea to encourage clients to give a company recommendation on the Linkedin page. Recommendations make brands appear more reliable.
Consider Your Goals
So, how to decide what social media to use in your marketing campaign? Analyze your marketing goals, human and financial resources you have, get a good understanding of your target audience and review different social media. Usually, in the SMM campaign, you want to focus on two or three platforms that are the most useful for your company, but the decision is always up to you and should correlate with your business goals.
In the next posts we’re going to discuss PPC marketing, stay tuned.