Social media marketing is a fundamental element for any business’ promotion strategy. Projections published by Statista estimate that by 2016, there will be at least 2.13 billion social network users in the world. In the USA alone, 170 million people are active on at least one social network to this day.
But how can business owners and managers make sure that their money and time will be used as efficiently as possible? The first step to achieving this is to focus your efforts in the right place.
There are hundreds of social networking websites (yes, hundreds), but only a handful are used by companies for business purposes. One rule applies to them all: in order to build a presence and a community that will be beneficial to your business, you need to be consistent, which means spending time and resources on an ongoing basis.
Companies do not have an unlimited supply of this, that’s why it is important to decide the best channels for you to reach the right people. How will you know which social media platform offers you better chances of success?
For detailed information about the best platforms for your particular industry or your business, we encourage you to request a FREE strategy analysis right here. To get a general perspective, we share with you the basic aspects of your business you need to consider before launching a digital strategy.
1) Who is your target? You need to know who is the decision-maker, the one that will be buying from you. For example, if you are a toy manufacturer, your product might be for children, but the person that buys from you is a parent. So you need to be where moms and dads are.
2) Where is your target most active? Everyone has Facebook, right? Sure. But is your target actually using it or do they spend most of their time elsewhere? For instance, teenagers are no longer so excited about Facebook, with only 23% considering it the most relevant social network. These days you might try finding them buzzing on Instagram or Tumblr instead.
3) What kind of product or service do you offer? Every social network has different communication strategies. Is your product visually appealing? Then photo-centric networks such as Pinterest or Instagram might yield better results for you.
Out of the whole spectrum, four platforms remain as top choices for most businesses. This doesn’t mean you need to be on every single one of these or that you should not take any others into consideration. Each business is different and there are no fixed formulas that work for everyone.
However, it is important to know what each social network offers in order to get a wider panorama of what might work best for your business.
Here are the main aspects of the leading social networks used by companies to promote their products and services.
Founded on 2004, today it is the leading social network in the world with around 1.35 billion monthly active users worldwide. For that same reason, it is the most popular for business. However, recent reports indicate that it might not be so forever. Younger audiences are already shifting to other platforms and older users (55+) being the fastest growing group. As some would say, Facebook is aging.
Advantages: The advanced targeting options available for advertisers are priceless, and the costs are still accessible for all types of business.
Disadvantages: Because it is the largest and the most popular, it’s also the social network with fiercest competition. Although it’s not impossible to get good results organically, Facebook makes it harder every day, so most companies will need to allocate some budget for paid advertising.
• Companies whose target is very wide, international or global. Facebook is still the biggest network in the world.
• Companies whose target can be split into specific segments for which targeted advertising is a more cost-effective strategy.
• Companies whose marketing strategy and engagement tactics rely heavily on users’ closest personal connections such as friends and family.
Description: Founded on 2006, only two years after Facebook, it has an average of 284 million active users every month. Its main characteristic is that messages, of any format (link, video, image or text), can only be 140 characters long. Unlike Facebook, most of the content is available for anyone to see (unless you protect your Tweets).
Advantages: Twitter has recently been upgrading its platform to better respond to business needs. Its native analytics and advertising services open many possibilities for companies that were not available before. Targeting your audience will become increasingly easy.
Disadvantages: The immediateness of Twitter makes it a permanent liability for companies who do not have a crisis management plan in place. Trends shift in the blink of an eye on Twitter, and a small conversation can escalate in minutes.
• Companies that require a fast and on-the-spot communication channel with their audience. Client management and feedback is one of the strongest advantages of Twitter for businesses.
• Companies that need their message to spread from local to global or vice versa.
• Companies whose marketing strategy and engagement tactics rely mostly on influential users, trends, public opinion, ongoing conversations and time-sensitive subjects. Twitter is a network for immediateness.
Description: Founded on 2002, LinkedIn is the place where professional and business connections are easier to come by. With around 330 million registered users, it’s the best option to find new contacts, referrals and clients.
Advantages: Both search and advertising allow you to find and reach people based on their job title, industry, education, professional experience, and much more. Once you find them, you can personally connect with them and build new business relationships.
Disadvantages: In order to see people’s complete information and send messages, a Premium account is required. In the case of company pages, organic reach is very limited, which often makes an advertising budget necessary.
• B2B companies whose target can be split by industry, company-size and other business-oriented demographics.
• Job seekers and human resource specialists can also benefit from LinkedIn’s user-friendly search features.
Description: Launched on 2011, many consider this a late-comer to the social media networks’ party. However, the growth rates are more optimistic than many believe, with estimations putting it at the same level of Facebook by 2016. It currently has 300 million active users a month, a number that is still growing.
Advantages: It’s owned by Google, which means that having a Google Plus page helps your SEO. Also, the Hangouts feature is a priceless resource to host live events and transmissions to your followers, free of charge.
Disadvantages: Google Plus was not designed to generate personal connections as Facebook. Its objectives are more business oriented. This has generated confusion through the years as to the best ways to use and yield positive results from this platform when you do not have an already popular or established brand.
• Companies whose promotion strategy relies strongly on SEO and other Google services such as YouTube, Hangouts and AdWords.
• Companies searching for unexplored niches outside the more commonly used Facebook and Twitter platforms.
Of course, there are other popular platforms that businesses use, and we totally encourage you to evaluate every option. If interested, we’re currently offering a free strategy consultation for business owners and managers. We perform an analysis of your business and current strategy in order to determine which channels might yield better results for you based on your goals. Claim yours now here.
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