Which social media platforms work best for your business marketing plan?
Unless your business has a really big marketing budget, or a lot of time for effective social networking, I find it best to focus most of your time on the 2 or 3 of the social media platforms which fit best with your business goals.
I find that one of the biggest mistakes a business/brand can make, is to leap into social media while having no clue on how the platforms work, and not having goals set in mind to begin with.
I am a big fan of the SMART technique when it comes to creating actionable social media goals.
Specific: Be specific with what you would like to achieve! Are you wanting to raise brand awareness? Do you want to increase your sales? Improve your customer service? Strengthen your customer loyalty? is your target audience (B2B) Business to Business or Business to Consumer (B2C)?
Measurable: How will you know that your social media goals have been achieved? Which analytical tools will you use to track your progress?
Achievable: Are your goals realistic? When first starting to utilize social media, I suggest not aiming too high. It can be bit deflating when you are not experiencing high success right off the bat. Getting really adept to Social Media Marketing can take a bit of time, patience, and experimentation.
Relevant: Are your goals aligned with your company or business mission, vision, and values?
Time Specific: How soon do you want to achieve your goals? For adding a focus to your social marketing, have one overarching goal at a time. Example: “I would like to increase traffic to our website 15% in the next 3 months“.
There are a variety of methods and practices used for engaging your business and brand in the social media marketing world. Sharing content such as: articles, videos, images, infographics, lists, quotes, company news and events are just a few. Contact an experienced web designer if you need help with any of these tactics.
I am writing this article to specifically examine the target audience/demographics for each of the popular social media platforms, and adding some starting methods/tips in which to use these platforms to meet your business marketing goals.
Facebook is easily the most visited social network in the world with well over a billion users on desktop and mobile devices. Still the king of social networks, your target audience is pretty much guaranteed to be there.
The biggest percentage of users fall between the age range of 18-44 and there is a bit of an increase for male users. This is an excellent platform for brand awareness, paid advertising, business reviews, events and some content marketing.
- Create a Facebook business page and keep the name short. This will help if you decide to use Facebook ads. Then soon after, set up a Facebook vanity username and URL e.g. @yourcompanyname /www.facebook.com/yourcompanyname.
- Be very thorough, detailed and accurate when filling out your business information in the About section. Include your address, contact details, product info., website URLs separated by commas, and links to social profiles.
- Verify your page and get an official check mark on your cover photo. Go to Page Settings and choose Page Verification.
- Create an awesome cover photo! (820px X 312px is ideal, mobile renders 640px X 360px) Stay safe and keep text aligned in the middle. Use one powerful image that communicates who you are and what you do, or create a collage that highlights products, offers, and testimonials from one of your fans.
- Add a ‘call to action‘ button to your cover photo. “Book Now”, “Contact Us”, “Sign Up”, “Get Quote”, “Request Time”. When clicked, a Messenger thread is automatically created between your business and that person.
- You can include 5 featured photos at the top of your Facebook page. This can help show off the different elements of your business. This option sits underneath your profile photo.
- Upload a profile photo (180px X 180px) that accommodates your business. This could be your logo or a personal profile image. This will have the greatest influence overall, as it is seen on all your posts in the News Feed of followers and on your timeline.
- Create custom tabs to display on the column on the left hand side of your page. This helps promote your products and services. Add videos, contests, testimonials, news feeds, social links and more. Use Facebook search to find apps. Check out “freemium” services like: http://www.pagemodo.com/.
- Add a Facebook page plugin and share buttons to your website. Go to: https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/page-plugin.
With Twitter averaging 6,000 posts per second, this social media platform can be intimidating at first. The good news is, once you get set up and going, you can share a variety of content and have the flexibility to share often! Brand awareness, content marketing, and customer service will pay big dividends from your Twitter business account.
Engagement and interaction is made simple on Twitter. You can like, retweet, reply and quote for all posts submitted into your timeline. Twitter allows you to promote your business but gives you a more personal voice as well. This helps establish relationships as your content can be varied and reflect a bit more about your business and individual personality.
- Create a short username most likely your business/brand name for your account. It will resemble something like: www.twitter.com/yourbusinessname. Twitter allows you to easily change your username, just use caution and update web links with your new username.
- Write an engaging Twitter Bio. Provide who you are, what you do, and why people should follow you. Use ideal keywords for search, and a few hash tags are okay. Use all characters available!
- Use an effective Twitter profile image. This should either be your logo or a great head shot of you smiling. This image appears in all your tweets, so it is important to present a professional first impression for future followers!
- Create a custom Twitter header image (1500 X 500 pixels). Simple branding, highlighting promotions, featuring customers, reviews, and spelling out your mission statement are a few strategies to use. First impressions play a huge role in the fast paced world of Twitter!
Instagram is sought out by more than 800 million monthly active users, and is the fastest growing social platform. The site is especially appealing to the millenials and younger audiences. It is ideal to promote products from online stores of fashion, art, decoration, travel, beauty, etc. It has become a reference of inspiration and information.
If you have your own brand, you really should be on Instagram. This social platform allows you to share photos and videos for 15 seconds.
- Instagram is a very visual platform suitable for fashion, health, beauty and lifestyle businesses. It’s a perfect social media platform to present your literal image to users. Choosing your images well will increase your audience engagement.
- Understand the ‘Culture of Instagram‘. Quality images over quantity. Avoid selfies and blurry night club photos. Take the time for excellent editing and “Wow” your visitors with carefully crafted and alluring images that represent you and your brand.
- Optimize your Instagram profile! Use all 150 characters and give your followers a reason to follow you. Tell them what makes you unique and remind them that they will be notified of special offers and promotions.
- Make sure your profile photo fits nicely within the allotted circle!
- Don’t forget to add the URL of your company’s website! It is the only clickable link you have.
- Keep the tone light and fun. Use relevant keywords for your SEO, Emojis if the mood fits, and business specific hashtags.
- Make sure you link to your Instagram business page from your website or blog, as well as other social media platforms you are using.
YouTube is the second biggest search engine today, and processing 300 billion searches a month! Video marketing can be a valuable asset for your business, and promoting relevant, quality videos on your YouTube channel will do wonders.
Although some may question that this is a social media platform. In my mind, there is no doubt that it is. You gain subscribers, you have comments, and you build relationships.
30% of users are between 45 and 54 years old, 22% are between 35 and 44 years old and 18% between 25 and 34. It is a key piece to attract consumers through tutorials, video blogs, branded content and experiential marketing.
Brands use this medium to make viral campaigns producing original, entertaining and high quality videos.
This is an excellent platform for brand awareness and content marketing!
- Choose an optimal YouTube URL and link it to your Google+ account. Keep your username on the shorter side and have it reflect your brand.
- Take full advantage of your YouTube “About” section. Use this to sell your channel and the benefits to potential subscribers. Include all relevant social media and web links.
- Fill out a keyword rich description which will inform your viewers all about your channel, what they will gain from it, and why they should subscribe. The first 45 or so characters of this will show up in the search engines!
- Visit your Channel Settings’ “Advanced” menu and you will see an option to associate your channel with your website.
- Add a creative banner that fits your brand and is optimal and responsive for all devices. YouTube recommends 2560 x 1140 pixels.
- Create a short eye catching trailer for your Channel the only new non-subscribers will see (around 30 seconds). This is a great chance to show the why they should subscribe. Check out Animoto.com for video making tools!
Since launching in in 2010, Pinterest has reached 175 million active users and continues to keep growing. Pinterest is the second biggest driver of traffic, next to Facebook, and it is no surprise that thousands of businesses around the world use this platform to showcase their brand.
Whether pins are posted by an individual or business, they have a few things in common: they pair super images with content that solves a problem, inspires a user, offers something desirable, or appeals to a hobby or activity.
75% of Pinterest users access this platform via mobile. With the rapid rising of mobile users, this social media platform plays well for gaining overall traffic. This is a content marketing dream, as your pins (images and now videos), can link up to your website products and landing pages.
Pinterest Starting Tips:
- Sign up as a business or convert your personal Pinterest account. This option had become available in 2012. Once you have set up a business account, you will have access to a selection of business specific resources. These include analytics tools, case studies, and links to Pinterest buttons and widgets you can place on your website or blog to promote your activity on the site.
- Craft an effective username. Keep this short, simple, and memorable. You will want to publicize this online and in the real world. An example: (www.pinterest.com/yourcompanyname)
- Use the ‘About‘ section to your advantage. This appears at the top of your profile page and describes your brand and what you do. It will also appear under your URL in the Google search results. Which is crucial for including your top 2-3 keywords most relevant to your business.
- Don’t overwrite your About section. It should generally fall in the area of 160 characters. This is plenty.
- Add your website to display in the little globe icon. Show your users they can trust your business by getting your website verified. Click the “Verify your website” button next to the box in which your entered your URL.
- Upload a fantastic profile image! This should either be your company logo, or if you are the figure head of your business, this should be a personal, smiling and happy head and shoulders shot. This should fit in the 200px x 200px dimension.
- Customize the showcase at the top of your Pinterest profile. Take advantage of showcasing your five most important pin boards in the looping carousal. This can include a collection of your latest products or popular pins from the past.
LinkedIn is the central hub on the Internet for connecting professionals and businesses that want to market their expertise and skills to the world! LinkedIn is more of a professional site, and not necessarily for social enjoyment. This site acts as a professional networking event, so your approach should be treated as such.
As an individual, you can establish a professional profile, control the top search results for your name, and build a broad network of professional connections, tap into their knowledge, and discover new business opportunities.
A LinkedIn Company Page is a place for companies to provide more information about themselves and their products and services. Also, they can provide job opportunities and expert insights.
Any LinkedIn user can follow a Company Page to receive and interact with updates to their home page. This will drive brand awareness to a personal profile page and help with social engagement.
Research by LinkedIn has revealed that you only need 100-200 followers of your Company Page to reach the tipping point to start making an impact and driving engagement. It is very ideal to have a complete personal profile and Company Page acting together for maximum engagement in the LinkedIn community!
At the moment, the majority of users are men with a technological profile, at 57%, and only 44% are women.
- Personal Profile and Company Page: Fill them in completely
Have both of these pages set up as either page might be the first port of call for a potential client. You want to make a good impression for both pages!
- The Experience section is the most important part of your personal LinkedIn profile. Here, you can really expand upon your current and past roles, responsibilities, and your achievements. This is also an excellent place to drop in some relevant keywords, which increase your chances for appearing higher in the LinkedIn search.
- To make a prospect’s job easier, use short paragraphs or bullet pointed lists in your Experience section. If you use bullets, start your sentences with verbs (past tense verbs for past positions, present tense verbs for present positions).
- The Intro section is also crucial. This is your first opportunity to write an overview or statement about who you are, what you can offer your audience, and what makes you unique and desirable to prospective connections. Express who you are as a person. Use your Company Page to tell people more about your company and company overview.
- Create a Company Page: Sign into LinkedIn as a personal user and click on the “Work” link in the bar at the top of the site. Click the ‘Create a Company Page’ link in the drop down menu. You must have a company email address, e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org. You cannot use an address with a domain such as Gmail or Outlook.
- Personal Profile and Company Page: add a profile photo, logo, and banner images. LinkedIn profile pics are 200 X 200 pixels. Be smart about this and don’t post a pic of you in a swim suit at the beach, but a head and shoulders shot of you looking smart and presentable works great!
Add in an awesome cover photo! These are 1536 X 768 pixels. Use this image to showcase your brand personality, help people understand who you are, and what you do and how you can help them. A few ideas would be to include a photo of you, your contact details (email, phone, Twitter handle etc.), and a call to action.
Launched in September of 2011, Snapchat has garnered 150 million users daily, and in its own right, has become a very effective social media marketing tool. Millennials eat, breathe, and sleep with this popular app.
This video and photo sharing app is worlds apart from its rivals: all messages shared between friends via Snapchat, will self-destruct, never to be seen again! If you switch your thinking to view that this time limit is an opportunity, rather than a limitation, then this tool can be very effective for your business marketing!
When a customer is notified of a Snapchat message, first – they will be excited about the mystery it holds, and second – they know as soon as they open it, the need to pay close attention as they know that soon it will disappear forever!
By today’s standards, 10 seconds of someone’s undivided attention like this – especially on a medium as personal as mobile, is as valuable as gold!
Snapchat Starting Tips:
- FOMO (fear of missing out) – is one of the biggest emotional triggers for brands on social media. Use Snapchat to involve humor, sharing secrets, having fun, holding small conversations, and capturing share-worthy moments. The promise of unique, one of a kind – real time content, is your customer’s incentive for following you.
- Take advantage of Snapchat stories. Snapchat stories allow you to join multiple snaps together, to create a rolling 24-hour reel of content for all your followers to enjoy again and again.
- Think about the three pillars of storytelling: each one needs a logical beginning, middle and end, where each pillar of the story gives your fans a reason to view to the end.
- Brands with successful view rates tend to keep their snaps brief, and their stories anywhere between 1 and 2 minutes long.
- Don’t make the mistake of creating mixed messages for stories that don’t connect with your audience!
- Use Memories to develop new, repackage and repurpose content. As of July of 2016, you can now create content in any app or software to be uploaded into Snapchat. This opens up a whole new world of opportunity. Now you can repurpose this content with very little effort. For example: A long YouTube video can be chopped into 10 second clips to be repackaged into a serialize Snapchat story.
- Ask simple questions: A shoe brand might ask their fans something as simple as “Show us your shoes!” or “Snap us a photo when you’re in our store!”
- Show sneak previews: Snapchat is a great platform for showing a sneaky peak behind the curtain of your business. You can tease in some news, a new product launch, or an upcoming offer. Possibly tease out the content over the course of several snaps to keep it digestible and encourage people to look out for more!
- Offer coupons or special offers: As the promotion will be seen so briefly, make sure that your message is extra clear and succinct. An example: “15% off today only with promo code SNAP”. Consider sending out a heads up snap, alerting people to the day and time the promotion will be landing in their inbox.
- Have fun, be funny: Snapchat’s majority audience is teenagers and young adults and the app is dominated by fun and humorous pieces of content. If your brand image allows, don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Doodle on top of your snaps, use Emojis and stickers to tell a story, pull a face, or just surprise your audience with the use of your marketing imagination!
Five tips for good practices on social media platforms
After choosing the most effective social media platforms for your business toward reaching your target audience, it is important to take into account some practical advice when starting to use these tools. Here are a few tips:
- Produce a and optimal content strategy for each social media platform.
- Research all pertinent logistics and collect data for your target audience.
- Humanize your brand, especially in the area of customer service.
- Listen to complaints from users with attention and patience, and offer a quick response.
- Take advantage of the analytics marketing tools to better understand your target customers and ROI.
Social media marketing (SMM) can’t be ignored. Using the most effective platforms and an optimal strategy, your business can easily achieve desired results in no time. Remember that it is not about quantity, but about the quality of the most effective platforms which allow you to capture your target audience and help you grow your brand.
Your social media marketing is certainly connected to your SEO efforts. No mistake about it. It is important to remember how successful SMM will have a positive affect on your search results as well!