The big picture is that social media is one of the most incredible mass communication channels invented by modern technology. The social media landscape has seen it’s share of growing pains, rising stars and spectacular failures, only to leave the business owner wondering which social media platforms to use. The noise on social media can get overwhelming especially without a direction or a strategy to cut through the chatter. The two primary functions of social media for business are ROI and leads. A tailored online marketing strategy should drive the business forward through social media engagement.
Here is how to determine the social media platforms to invest your time and money in:
The first question a business should ask about their online existence is: who is my audience? Social media audiences have been known to be fickle, they are a segmented bunch with short attention spans. Extensive market research about the business’ audience and where they hang out in the social media space is the recipe for success. While the big four (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram) are standard for most businesses, special attention should be paid to niche social media sites which may be beneficial for more specialized businesses.
After defining the target audience, businesses should embrace the fact that organic social media reach is a thing of the past. These days, social media is a game where you have to “pay to play”. First of all, the business has to craft optimal messages that won’t trigger ad blindness. Then, a business needs to have a social media calendar which defines posting frequency, integration with other marketing channels, and the cost of paid campaigns- all factors that need to tracked and measured. A business that has these systems in place will be able to determine which platforms perform the best and how to capitalize on the data. More valuable yet sophisticated features like remarketing on Facebook benefit from the consultation and expertise of a marketing agency.
The big four social media channels dominate the online conversation but how does a business owner determine which platform deserves the most attention? Each platform has a personality, reach, and benefits for the businessowner. The behemoth Facebook is a generalist with 2.2 billion monthly active users. Needless to say, every business should have a Facebook business page and take advantage of Facebook advertising, granular targeting, and remarketing. LinkedIn is the B2B thought leader with 500 million users, great for posting online resumes, networking, and B2B sales. Twitter is useful for posting bite-sized, time sensitive information for the tech crowd and other progressive audiences of different ages with 275 million monthly traffic. Finally, Instagram is the cool kid of social with 800 million monthly users that skews slightly female, mostly urban and millennial. Instagram is heavy on the visual content curation which is a dream come true for the product marketer.
In online existence, where social media is no longer optional for the businessowner, how does the business determine which platforms to use for the best ROI and engagement? The answer is a powerful marketing strategy which intimately knows the target audience, social media calendar, and the performance of content on each platform.