Welcome to the first week of our next Fearey’s Fearless Series. In this series, we’ll focus on and explore elements of SOCIAL MEDIA strategy and execution. You can find our previous series, all about communicating through a CRISIS, here.
Today, we’re bringing you the basics with SOCIAL MEDIA 101: FINDING YOUR PLATFORM.
Social media is one of the most critical components of digital marketing.
In the early 2000s, when social media platforms were first beginning, it was primarily used by individuals. Using social media for business? A “fad.”
Today, we know that’s not the case. Social media’s popularity and influence among companies and brands of all sizes only continue to increase.
Integrating social media into your company’s overall business strategy is a must. Using social media can benefit your business and brand in a few ways by:
- Building brand awareness/loyalty
- Deepening relationships with your audience, including stakeholders, customers, employees, etc.
- Fueling meaningful discussions, whether feedback from external audiences or messages from within the company
- Increasing traffic to your company’s website and improve Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Positioning your company as a thought leader
- Engaging in lead generation campaigns with key audiences
The list goes on.
But, with so many platforms in the mix, how do you know which to prioritize? Below, we share our tips on finding the social media platform that’s the best fit for you and your business.
Choosing which social media platforms are best for you
The four most-used social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Here, we’ll provide a high-level overview of each platform to help you get to know them more and choose which is right for your business.
Facebook is one of the most established social media platforms and a fairly universal platform for business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing
With more than 2.7 billion active users, Facebook is the perfect place for consumers to share their experiences with a product or service, interact with others and stay up-to-date with their favorite brands.
When it comes to demographics, males between the ages of 25–34 are the most active on Facebook. Males between the ages of 18-24 are second, with females between the ages of 25-34 following shortly behind.
Facebook is great for reaching consumers, and if your company leans towards business-to-business (B2B) outreach, have no fear. Facebook is also an effective platform for B2B marketing.
Companies can build Facebook Business pages to display pertinent details like contact information, hours of operation, company updates, etc. Updates can be sent in real time, such as changes in hours of operation, services or inventory.
When creating content, it’s important to note that Facebook’s algorithm favors visual content like images and longer-form videos.
The types of content you can post to Facebook vary. Users can upload plain text, visual text, videos or images. For a temporary post, page administrators can upload to the Facebook Story, which will remain featured on their profile and the Stories section of users’ feeds for 24 hours.
Lastly, Facebook allows businesses and brands to create ads, which can be an effective channel for business advertising. We’ll talk about this more in our upcoming blog post on paid social media strategy.
The Bottom Line
If you desire a 1) social environment to connect with consumers and other businesses, 2) a brand page that houses information about your company, 3) a central hub for regularly shared content or 4) an additional channel for advertising, then Facebook may be the platform for you.
Similar to (and owned by) Facebook, Instagram relies heavily on visual content, with every post requiring an image or video. Facebook’s ownership of Instagram means the two platforms are connected, allowing for cross-posting from one account to another.
As in the case with Facebook, Instagram is also more ideal for (but not limited to) B2C marketing.
Instagram users are comprised primarily of younger audiences. Males between the ages of 25-34 the most active on Instagram, followed by females between the ages of 25-34 and males between the ages of 18-24.
What Instagram truly succeeds at is visual storytelling, which is helpful whether you’re directly engaging with your audience or sharing product or service updates.
It’s critical to have high-resolution, regularly updated photos to showcase your business on Instagram. Think of your profile as a wall of images that tell your business’ story.
Like Facebook, Instagram also employs the use of Stories for temporary content. When Instagram users upload visual content to their Story, that content remains on the user’s profile for 24 hours. Stories can be curated into “highlights” based on different topics (i.e. new products, various locations, Q&A’s) which are featured at the top of the profile. Most recently, Instagram created IGTV — longer-former videos up to 10 minutes — and Reels — 15-second, short-form videos — which are stored on profiles separately from the standard feed.
Businesses, brands and influencers can create an Instagram Business page. The main benefit of this is to see Post Insights or the number of likes, impressions, profile visits, etc. on a post, story or video.
For a cohesive social media strategy and easier cross-promotion, try integrating your Instagram Business page with your Facebook Business page.
The Bottom Line
If you’re searching for a creative, visual way to tell the story of your business that also easily aligns with at least one other platform, Instagram’s the platform for you and your brand.
When you think about Twitter, think microblogging. Think short and snappy. What information can you convey in real time, all with 280 characters or less?
Is it an urgent update you wish to get out as soon as possible?
The urgency that Twitter offers makes it effective for both B2B and B2C marketing – and in the case of crisis communications, it can be the most helpful in sharing proactive messaging.
Of course, when crafting brief and quick Tweets for other businesses or consumers, it helps to know who you’re talking to. 65% of Twitter users are male and 35% are female. The most active age groups are those between the ages of 18-29 and 13-17, respectively.
On Twitter, B2C initiatives can include starting conversations with consumers via Tweets, hashtags and campaigns, while B2B initiatives can incorporate thought leadership among industry leaders and promoting messaging via Tweets. Twitter is fast-paced and requires clear, concise authorship in combination with quick responses and engagements with followers.
The Bottom Line
Is Twitter the platform for you and your business? If you need a place to release information in real time and start and participate conversations with consumers, other brands or industry leaders, then it definitely can help you. If you also want to emphasize your business’ thought leadership initiatives via select messaging, Twitter may be the platform for you.
LinkedIn is very much concentrated on B2B marketing, serving as a network for professionals to connect with other professionals and to discuss industry and career trends.
As a platform, content type can vary widely, including links, photos, videos, text articles. This makes LinkedIn adaptable for a variety of purposes beyond just B2B marketing.
When it comes to LinedIn users, 57% are male and 43% are female. The most active age groups are those between the ages of 30-49 and 18-29 respectively.
On LinkedIn, your business and your employees can publish details about their own professional experiences while networking with other professionals within other businesses – all ways to help your business gain more online traction and find new opportunities. You should have a LinkedIn page for both your company and as an individual. There are also ways for others LinkedIn users to help you showcase your expertise by leaving comments, reviews or endorsing you for particular skills.
While ideal for B2B marketing, some B2C companies may utilize LinkedIn for the purpose of recruiting new talent or as means of conducting competitive market research.
The Bottom Line
LinkedIn is the primary social media platform for professional networking, and it doubles as an excellent platform for positioning your brand or business as a thought leader or conversation starter in your industry. If you’re searching for a way to connect with other industry professionals or businesses, showcase your own expertise and leadership in your field or even recruit top-tier talent, LinkedIn may be the platform for you.
So, which platform is best?
Deciding where to post may feel overwhelming at first. Whether you decide to use all the platforms above, or just one, is entirely up to the needs of you and your business.
If you’d like more help deciding which platform will work best for you or how to properly leverage social media for your particular business goals, feel free to reach out.
Coming up next, we’ll talk about best practices for posting on social media.
Until then, stay fearless.