A good social media marketing strategy is an essential part of running any business. There’s a potential market of over two billion social media users out there. You’d be crazy not to reach out to it, right? But for social media to work for your business, you need to invest time in it. Engaging with your audience is something you should ideally devote some time to every day. For the big brands, that’s no problem. They have round-the-clock social media teams running all of their online marketing. I’m guessing you don’t have the budget for that!
And that means it’s even more important to invest your limited time wisely by choosing the right social media platforms for your business. I’m going to show you how to decide which social media platform to invest in. From Facebook to Snapchat, each platform has its benefits and its drawbacks. Let’s take a look:
Facebook is the world’s biggest social media platform, with around two billion monthly active users at the last count. Almost half of these users will check their account several times each day. Businesses can share a growing choice of content, including photos, updates, offers, events, links and live video. You can also make use of Facebook’s relatively affordable advertising tools to help your posts reach their target audience. Facebook users tend to be a little older than those of the newer social media platforms, with the majority falling in the 25-54 age range. So if this is your target audience, Facebook could be for you.
It’s also a good choice for the time-poor, as it’s important not to post too often. One quality post a day is the maximum you should be aiming for – that’s pretty low-maintenance. Facebook is a great platform for running brand contests. On Qwertee’s Facebook page, for example, they run a daily T-shirt giveaway. Users have to like, share and comment to be in with a chance of winning, giving their page a great boost and increasing visibility. The more engagement your post receives, the more visible it will become on Facebook.
Using Twitter for your business is a highly effective way to connect with some of its 328 million active users. Many businesses use it both to promote their brand (with short 140-character Tweets) and handle customer service enquiries. Retweeting and sharing is key on Twitter, so take the time to get involved in conversations relevant to your business, link with influencers and celebrate your followers.
If networking and customer service are important parts of your business, Twitter could be an excellent choice for you. On the downside, click-through rates are usually pretty low in terms of driving traffic to your website. Innocent drinks have nailed their Twitter marketing by keeping content light, funny and friendly – then slipping in the odd tweet promoting their products.
This popular photo-sharing platform has around 700 million active users and boasts way higher engagement stats than Facebook and Twitter. Businesses can share captioned photos and videos, with a selection of easy-to-use filters and editing tools on hand to make your content look its best. It’s a great place to build brand loyalty, although recent changes to their algorithm and the inability to include clickable links in your posts can make it difficult to convert engagement into sales.
The platform is in the process of launching Instagram Shopping, which allows users to tap directly on a photo to shop the product. So watch this space if your business sells clothes, jewellery or beauty products – you could potentially have a fantastic e-commerce platform here.
With its focus on visual imagery, Instagram is well-suited to businesses selling attractive products. Take online lifestyle store YOOX. Their Instagram account is packed with beautiful, feel-good images that not only feature their products, but help create the brand’s cohesive style and identity.
If you fancy building a video presence online, YouTube can be an excellent platform for your business. Over 4 billion videos are being viewed every day – and that’s growing fast. Using YouTube as part of your marketing strategy will also help improve your authority and visibility in Google’s search results. You’ve probably noticed that YouTube videos feature more and more in their search results.
If your business is devoted to selling products with a practical application, YouTube is a great place to both demonstrate your products and establish yourself as a source of useful information. Lush Hair Extensions are nailing this with a regular stream of helpful and creative video tutorials, organised into easy-to-find categories. Their YouTube channel is all about subtly promoting their products while providing a valuable service to their subscribers.
This content-sharing platform is one for the ladies. Around 80% of Pinterest’s 100 million active users are women, making it the ideal choice for businesses reaching out to a female market. You can develop your own Pinterest boards to showcase products and build your brand identity, as well adding ‘Save’ buttons to your website so that visitors can ‘Pin’ your images to their own boards. This is a great way to grow traffic.
Pinterest can be one of the more time-consuming platforms to manage, but once your images start being shared traffic can grow exponentially as users effectively act as your promoters. There’s also a new Pinterest buy button that allows customers to buy your product without leaving Pinterest – and it’s free!
If your business is all about beautiful products, whether that’s fashion, food or interiors, Pinterest could be your ideal match. Green Wedding Shoes are a big Pinterest success story, creating inspirational boards showcasing wedding trends and ideas, as well as adding ‘Save’ buttons to their site.
If your business has a young target market, you might want to consider using mobile app, Snapchat. Over 60% of its 166 million daily users are under the age of 24. It might take a little time to get your head around but, used creatively, Snapchat can be a fantastic way of reaching the millennial market.
You basically create photo and video content, or Snaps, that disappear after 10 seconds of viewing – great for building hype around short-term deals. There are also chat features along with loads of fun filters and effects to play around with. You can even pay to create your own Snapchat filter for your business. Make-up brand Birchbox use Snapchat to showcase their products with ingenious Snapchat Stories charting the stages of real makeovers. They also offer up exclusive Snapchat deals and host live chats once a week.