Did you know that there are more than 200 social media websites out there? Over 70% of the internet users have at least one social media profile. It would be such a shame if you didn’t take advantage of this enormous audience – you can advertise, you can sell, you can target old and new customers, as well just be where your target audience is.
The question is – how do we know which social channel is best for us? The endless ocean can shipwreck your company if you fail to steer your marketing strategy properly. First and foremost, make sure you focus solely on the social media that your target audience uses. Now is the exact moment to tell you that you shouldn’t be everywhere. If you try to manage more than 5-6 profiles you would do more harm than good to your brand. Especially, if you are a small/local business with limited resources. Social media management is time-consuming and you might end up spending your time posting, newsjacking, curating and so on. The wisest thing to do is to stick to these channels, which have the largest user bases. That’s right, Facebook tops the charts with its 2.234 billion users.
Great, we narrowed your choice to just 20 social channels. Still, this is way too much for you to handle, though. In order to choose best, you first got to have clear business goals. Think for a second whether you’d like to target your local market (Germany, USA, Taiwan, etc) or you prefer to step on the global market and operate in several states. Your business goals by far define your marketing strategy, so think twice. For instance, if you target other markets apart from your native you should have at least two Facebook Pages – one in English and one in your native language.
So which are the most popular social media channels and how do they differ?
The tremendous user base is undoubtedly Facebook’s strongest hand. This means that virtually every business from every niche has its rightful place on Facebook. And it doesn’t matter whether you are Coca-Cola, local furniture manufacturer, a big hotel chain or a media. There will always someone somewhere digging you and your services. Luckily there is one tool that is completely free and it will help you understand your audience better. It’s dubbed Audience Insights and it allows page administrators to filter results based on interests, age, gender, location, and tens of others variables.
On Facebook Audience Insights you can virtually find all the necessary information required to run a successful ad campaign. For example, you get an idea of who are your competitors, what content do they use, how does their audience engage with this content and so on. There is one simple rule – keep an eye on what the bigger players are doing and try to implement their tactics and even build upon them.
Due to the gigantic user base of Facebook, it is impossible to determine what the average user cares about. You can take advantage of that by promoting your brand, selling products and services, content marketing, to generate traffic to your website, brand awareness, and whatever else comes to your mind. This is not the case with the other social media websites, however.
On LinkedIn, you won’t find funny videos of golden retrievers playing in the snow or photos from your best friend’s wedding. LinkedIn is the largest professional social media worldwide. Its users talk about work and work only. However, you would often stumble upon lengthy blog posts or videos telling stories about success, failures, and how to overcome each and every obstacle and achieve your goals in business and life. If you need some business-related inspiration, LinkedIn is your place.
That being said, LinkedIn is obviously not the place for direct sales but this doesn’t mean you cannot benefit from its 303 million users. Instead of targeting end-customers you can focus on establishing valuable business relations with managers, CEOs, and all of these big bosses. This audience is reluctant to purchase on-the-spot as its decision-making process is time-consuming. Still, if you put your bets on a proper content marketing strategy you will draw the attention of the managers and they might contact you at some point.
LinkedIn recently launched two super intuitive features called LinkedIn Publishing and LinkedIn SlideShare. The first allows you to write wordy articles and liven them up with hyperlinks, photos, videos and other media (think of it as a mini WordPress), while the latter hosts courses, presentations, and tons of valuable business information that might help you boost your brand. Additionally, you can set up a brand page (just like on Facebook) and use it to enhance your brand awareness.
Instagram cares only about visual content. Period. There are almost no posts (except for super short ones), no links, nothing. Yeah, you read right. Instagram blocks links leading to external websites, meaning you cannot use this platform to generate traffic. However, if you are active on Instagram and regularly post captivating content, people will notice you. Once they do, they may check you out on Google. This is how they could end up on your website.
Just like Facebook users, Instagram users are there just to have fun, to follow influencers, travel bloggers, and practically enjoy lives of other from the comfort of their smartphone. And no, you don’t have to be an adventurer or an athlete to reap the benefits of Instagram. On the other hand, this social media channel is great for businesses offering products or services leading to some kind of emotional experience. What I am trying to say is – restaurants, craft beer breweries, cafeterias, and sorts of handmade things will definitely fascinate the audience on Instagram. In contrast, if you deal with agriculture or machine tools, forget about Instagram as your target audience is simply not there.
We mentioned it earlier, we’ll mention it again. Always take into account who is using the social media in question. According to Spredfast, the majority of people on Instagram are aged between 18 and 29. This is why you don’t promote machinery there. However, if you try out with food supplements and sports equipment then your chances are much bigger.
Pinterest and Instagram might look like one and the same thing to the untrained eye. Unlike Instagram, Pinterest allows you to post large infographics, to add hyperlinks, and pin (share) images from other websites (think blogs). Put simply, if you promote your brand on Pinterest using stunning visual content you might bring in tons of traffic. I will give you an example. You are good at converting buses and SUVs into camper vans. Pinterest is the perfect social media to show the others how awesome your campervans are.
You can think of Pinterest as the Google of images. In the search field, you type your keywords and voila! Some stunning content pops up. The best thing about Pinterest is that I can save my favorite pins in different folders and browse them later. Let’s go back to the campervan example for a second. You write an interesting and informative blog post on your website where you discuss interesting topics such as campervan wirings, DYI water systems and so on. You know that a good blog post needs a couple of images here and there and you throw them in. In order to make people visit your website, you should share these images on Pinterest and once I stumble upon them… Well, you just won a new client 🙂
In short, Twitter is a microblogging platform where users share interesting content found across the internet. Moreover, you can write short posts (up to 240 characters long) and upload images and video as well. Twitter might help you boost your brand awareness. To further make sure your posts reach your target audience make a good use of hashtags. We have to note, however, that a large portion of profiles on Twitter are actually fake. As of October 2018, there were 335 profiles roughly half of which were real. At least, according to David Caplan from TwitterAudit.
Well, Reddit is just one giant forum where everyone discusses everything. As simple as that. Reddit might help you promote your businesses because you can always find a thread that suits your niche and join the discussion. The more active you are the better. This is the perfect spot for you to share your expertise with the others. Of course, you can always mix informative and lengthy responses with funnier ones, just to make sure people like you.
We do not pretend these are the only social media channels you can benefit from. However, we do believe these are the ones every business should refer to. The goal of this article was to showcase how some of the most popular social media channels differ from each other. The latter is crucial when preparing your content marketing strategy. Try different tactics and find out what works best for you.
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