Social media is an endless hub of cute puppy videos, funny memes and skits that keep you entertained in the gloominess that is your work day (unless you work at a super cool place that’s pretty fun on its own – like the Circus perhaps).
Nevertheless, the endless stream of updates you see from your family and friends is only the surface of what social media actually offers. Apart from providing daily entertainment on your morning commute, helping you catch up with friends and family, social media is a vital, if not the most important marketing tool in today’s world.
Budget projections, valuable insights on consumer behaviour, getting exposure, targeting the right audience – you can do all that and much more if you’re willing to do the grunt work and dig beneath the surface. The difficult part is choosing where to start digging and which shovels to use (i.e. which social media network to choose for your business, and what type of content you should post).
Shovels ready? Choose your network wisely
We’ve seen it a million times, a brand new business opens up and they start opening accounts on every social media network out there, thinking that this is the right way to reach their target audience. Then they start posting the same content across all those platforms. Here’s why doing that is a major no-no::
- There’s a reason why there are so many different channels to post on. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest… they all have their own audience that has a certain taste when it comes to visual content, and they want to see social media updates tailored specifically to their needs. Sure, your bakery will get plenty of likes if you post some amazing shots of those delicious muffins on Instagram – but will posting that same content have the same effect on LinkedIn? Not so much, because LinkedIn has a more professional tone. This leads us to the second point:
- Keeping your options open is good, but if you start digging too many holes at once, you might never get to the bottom. It’s better to focus on key audiences on social networks that will actually bring you the results you need, rather than scratch the surface of multiple channels and get the same results over and over. That’s a waste of your time and energy. Focusing on the right social networks and exploring their advertising possibilities is the right way to go. Here’s how you do it:
- Keep posting relevant, engaging content.
- Adjust your content to your target audience.
- Keep improving your page and be patient.
The big 6
Let’s start digging into the 6 biggest and most relevant social media networks today, and whether they’re the right fit for your business.
The largest of all social media networks, Facebook still maintains the highest number of active users per month (2.41 billion). With an estimate of over 665 million daily users, Facebook is one social media network that helps you reach all kinds of age groups and target key audiences with specific interests. Facebook advertising has almost become a standard in the digital marketing industry, and it should always take a portion of your digital marketing budget, no matter how big or small it may be.
Move on if: Don’t move on from Facebook. It helps you present your products, services and overall your brand to the right audience. You just need to play your cards right.
With an estimated 330 million monthly users, Twitter takes up a big chunk of the Social Media cake. This social media network offers a great way to communicate with customers and get involved in what’s trendy today.
Move on if: Viral content is not your primary concern and you’re more interested in promoting your products and services than engaging with consumers. However, keep in mind that Twitter does provide valuable insights into hot topics of the modern world, so you might want to keep an eye on it from the background, even if it’s just from your personal account.
Dubbed as the most popular social network after Facebook, Instagram’s number of active monthly users surpasses a whopping 1 billion. This unique photo sharing program is not something you should use if you don’t plan on using your smartphone, and it is great for posting product pictures, your business’ developments and adding the human factor to your brand.
Move on if: Your target audience is older than 40.
As the largest social media network for businesses and professionals, LinkedIn has the reputation of being the most serious of the group. This is where you post job postings, industry developments, company developments and so forth.
Move on if: Your company isn’t into industry related news and you’re not targeting businesses. However, don’t avoid completely. Use it to connect with similar professionals and learn about their experiences. Such insights might come in handy.
With an estimate of 291 million active monthly users, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing networks for content sharing. It’s a platform that allows users to post, share and follow visual content (images, GIFs, videos) that fits their personal lifestyle. Not exactly the social network for an IT company, but great for interior designers, builders, cooks, make-up artists, stylists and so on.
Move on if: Your services or products don’t bring value to a particular lifestyle.
YouTube is the biggest video sharing platform in the world, and it boasts an amazing 1.9 billion monthly active users. It is a network used to share interesting video content with a huge number of users.
Move on if: Don’t move on from YouTube. Video content is one of the most important tools of digital marketing, and there is always room to make use of it. Whether you want to teach your audience about your services or your cause, help them learn a new skill or present innovative solutions, creating quality video content is great for growing and getting exposure.
Determining which social media network to choose for your business is tough. Regardless of which one you choose, we recommend you always follow the 3 golden rules of social media marketing:
Have a plan
Set your goals and stick to them. Determine your target audience, your budget and your goals (brand awareness, leads, conversions, joining your cause) before you start social media advertising.
Stay relevant and unique
Whatever the social network, make sure your content is relevant to your industry and interesting to your audience. Social media marketing is competitive (to say the least), which is why you should always post content that has a purpose (teach your audience, make them smile, offer a solution or a product they need).
Last but not least, be very patient. Social media marketing takes a lot of effort before it starts giving results. But, if you dig deep enough and keep pushing at it, you’ll end up discovering a gold mine.