Social media has erupted over the last 5 years making it impossible for it not to be a part of your marketing plan. This however, doesn’t mean that just because you have a Facebook page or Twitter account you’re doing social right. Knowing what channel you should be posting and engaging on is crucial from the very beginning, so to make it easier, we’ve pulled together a basic guide on how to decide what social media channels your business should be signed up to.
Define your audience & your goals
Before we dig into each social channel and what they’re best for, we need to go back to basics. Just like you would for your other marketing plans, you need to define your audience and your goals.
Outlining who your brand is appealing to will make it 10x easier to alienate the channels further along the lines. Similarly, you should ask yourself what you want to achieve from being on social media and whether social media is the right way to achieve this.
Once you’ve had a brainstorming session drawing out your Suzies and Johns and you’ve created some goals, it’s time to look at how these fit in with each social media channel.
Facebook is the most popular of all the platforms with over 1.7 billion users, and is also the most competitive with over 40 million small business pages. This shouldn’t be a reason to prevent you from creating a page for your company if your audience are actively using their Facebook account, and not to just share cat memes.
Out of all the networks, Facebook has the largest blend of demographics and dominates at engagement, sparking conversations day and night. Typically, the best interaction rates peak outside of work hours, but this depends on your audience members, as the Facebook schedule of a full-time parent is going to be different to a 9-5 office worker. Your posting schedule should also differ depending on who you’re talking to. Industry benchmarks suggest no more than two times a day is enough, but if your audience only check their Facebook once a day, two posts from you is going to invade their feed. To manage this, create a content calendar so that you know what you’re posting and when – this should include any national days or events that tie into your brand or industry that you can create engagement around.
Twitter is the social media network of the now. It gives brands the chance to react to real time occurrences and really let their personalities shine, especially when more than 500 million people visit Twitter every month without logging on.
With only 140 characters to play with, it means your tweets are short and sweet, making it perfect to distribute content or share some Monday motivation, with a gif attached of course. Hashtags are essential if you want to go viral, or on a more realistic level, become a part of a trending conversation or reach an interested audience.
For many companies, Twitter is also the perfect platform to set up a support account. This obviously isn’t for everyone, however, the first place many people turn to in order to complain is Twitter, so a dedicated customer service account will prevent your brand’s reputation from being damaged, and turn your customer’s frowns upside down.
LinkedIn is mainly populated by college or university graduates who are looking to establish their professional network and find their first job. This shouldn’t mean you rule out creating a LinkedIn profile as this is the perfect place to share company news and knowledge.
Become an industry leader by distributing content that those in your network will want to read and share. Showcase your company as a desirable place to work for people looking for a new job by sharing culture related posts such as fundraising events or special events. To top it all off, attract new business opportunities with stories about business growth, new staff members or new case studies and testimonials; it’s the perfect platform for B2B.
One thing you do need to remember is that LinkedIn isn’t Facebook or Twitter. Posting like the hip, down-to-earth mum from Mean Girls may be your tone of voice, but no CEO of a company is going to take you seriously if you haven’t smartened up your appearance and put on your top hat. You can also straighten your tie by making sure your employee’s profiles are as optimised as can be. This can included standardised profile pictures and personal URLs. To find out more head on over to our LinkedIn Optimisation Blog Post.
When you think of Instagram you probably think of food flat lays and tropical destinations, but there is a horizon beyond this on Instagram. Photos and videos are a powerful marketing tool, so if you’re an image heavy company and your audience is under thirty-five years old, then this one is a no brainer for you. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your content. Explore and experiment with all the features that are on offer to find what works and what doesn’t work.
Have no fears though, if you don’t feel like your business relies on high quality imagery, Instagram can also be the place to be to show behind the scenes action, showing off your workplace culture or sneak peaks of new products that leave followers feeling privileged that they are a part of something. Instagram is also the place of influence. Influencers have the power to make or break a brand, so take advantage of any user generated content; these are the posts that will really sell your service or products.
High quality images are fundamental if you decide to venture into the realms of Pinterest. Described as a digital scrapbook, Pinterest is a place of inspiration and ideas, and is growing beyond the parameters of social media. Many state that Pinterest now has more similarities to Google, with a searchable databank that is curated by its users, and exciting features such as rich and buyable pins.
If you’re a brand that falls into the categories of fashion, interiors, food, travel or DIY then this has to be a part of your social strategy, especially as a staggering 87% of people have purchased something they found whilst pinning. But even if you don’t feel like Pinterest is a natural fit for your brand due to your target audience or industry, you may be surprised. What started off as an 80% female user base has now reduced to an almost 50/50 split, meaning there is a place for you on this visual network.
When it comes to videos, some brands lend themselves better to it than others due to their industry or nature of their audience, so if this is you, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. It’s climbed its way (pretty darn quickly) to second place in the largest search engine competition, and is owned by Google. This is something you should always keep in mind when posting videos to YouTube as Google looks after its young, meaning your videos have a high chance of appearing in search results if they’re optimised.
What type of videos work well for you depends on your audience. If you’re a knitting or baking brand, how to videos go down a treat. If your audience is more corporate or you’re marketing B2B, expertise and interview style videos work well. Another avenue you should consider is collaborating with Vloggers that would be the natural audience for your products and/or services. Their ability to influence their viewers is second to none, meaning you can skip that tricky stage of convincing those why they need you in their life.
To see what we’re up to on social media, head on over to each of our different social channels and say hello. We’re a friendly bunch!