How to Know What Social Media Platform is Perfect for You
Why Choose a Channel at all?
With so many social media channels available, each with marketing potential, why not just chose the platforms you're already comfortable with to market on? Or maybe try a new-to-you platform that seems intriguing? While there's certainly nothing wrong with utilizing your comfort zone, or following a hunch, each platform has it's unique strengths, audience types, and content trends. Unless you have an unlimited amount of time to dedicate to your social media marketing efforts, this necessitates picking and choosing the channels best suited for your products. While this can seem like a daunting task, we at Social-Caffeine believe that anything can be made easier; to that end, we have compiled some of the basic information you need to make your decision well along with a handy flow chart at the end for you to follow!
Facebook is a mixed media platform and can be used for a variety of purposes. Currently, it is also the most popular social media networks. While other platforms have come, gone, put up and fight and some even continue to rise through the ranks, Facebook remains the most used social media channel. This begs the question, “How do I optimize my posts on Facebook?”
One of the greatest advantages of Facebook is branding. The greatest strength to play your content are graphics and quotes, both of which are easy to make relate to your company without being an obvious add. DO NOT be afraid to use this to your advantage. No one likes being pitched to constantly, especially when they only liked your page so they wouldn’t forget about it. Through a series of posts which push relatable pictures and quotes as well as useful information (articles), specials, and information about your products and services you create a varied, yet cohesive library of content that makes people feel connected to you and loyal to your brand.
People often make the mistake of thinking that just because conversions aren’t happening immediately or in mass volume, their ads and campaigns aren’t working. However, the truth is, while conversions from social media referrals are great, you’re promoted content is doing its job just by being seen. If you have a Long Distance Thrift Store, ThriftBox, and want customers to use your business rather than other through-the-mail shopping services you have two obvious options.
A) Immediately shove a terrifying amount of ads in front of your audience. Make every single post about how great your company and why everyone should utilize ThriftBox.
B) Start making graphics with timeless fashion staples, newest trends, quotes from designers, tutorials on how to upcycle clothes they may already have, etc… Think outside the box about what type of content your audience would like to see and start posting.
The overwhelming response to the first one will be desensitizing. People’s eyes will just start skimming over your ads and few people respond to an obvious gimmick. However, with the second strategy, you will immediate begin to see interaction with your material. People will share information they think pertains to friends or they loved, they’ll respond to your content, and while there may not be a ton of immediate conversions, when people are done window shopping or are dissatisfied with the service they have (something that is more likely to occur if they think something better is out there) they will immediate sign on as a client of ThriftBox. In the meantime, if someone they know starts thinking about wanting to use a through-the-mail shopping service, they will immediate recommend you. This method has the bonus of not only putting your company in front of potential clients, but turning loyal clients and potential clients into more advertising.
The savvy marketer NEVER underestimates word of mouth!
Pinterest is a graphics based platform that came out of seemingly nowhere and, unlike many overnight sensations, seems to be standing the test of time. The invaluable aspect of Pinterest is that it not only engages you with your target audience, but also gives you the opportunity to network in a fun, stress-free way with other companies.
The key to Pinterest is simple.
4. Oh, did we mention Graphics?
Too often people get stuck in a rut with their image creativity, but that can’t be the case on Pinterest. Because of their sheer volume, three elements become necessary.
1. Have a graphic designer or someone who is (incredibly) strong on graphic design on staff
2. Have reliable information your pins can trace back to
3. BE CREATIVE
Pinterest is a great place to get infographics, DIY tutorials, contests, advice and inspiration on everything from growing better tomatoes to tattoos. To stand out, you need quality images that convey your message and a fun and innovative way to make potential-consumers click on your pin.
Again, as with any account managed by a company, the end result is conversions, however, the longer run on Pinterest is far more effective. For starters, you need to have pins that are searched often. If you have a company that specializes in organic cosmetics, Bare Faced, you have the same options as ThriftBox did in the scenario for Facebook. With the same results
Blatant advertising all the time is passé, boring and no one wants to deal with it. Start with tips on how to contour, wash all the make-up off your face each night, homemade face and hair masks, etc… The more someone clicks on your pins, the more of your pins show up when they log in. So while someone may not search for organic cosmetic choices all the time, you can expand your content and boards to other very commonly searched subjects like “The Face That Launched a Thousand Ships” Beauty Tips, Tricks & Hacks, “Complete the Look” Fashion, “Beautiful from the Inside Out” Healthy living, “Healthy and Nutritious” Delicious & Healthy Meals & Snacks, etc… The more relatable, reliable, and beautiful your pins and linked content pieces are, the more pins, likes, and shares you’ll get. Just like with Facebook this will cultivate brand loyalty to you and ultimately bring in those coveted conversions.
Instagram is another graphics based platform. However, while Pinterest has more sizes you can upload, Instagram only has one – making the quality of your graphics even more important. While Instagram is still relatively new and most account holders have only been on the platform for a few years, it’s already a giant. It’s one of the best ways to market, cultivate consumer loyalty and create engagement over your brand or an event.
If you want to do well on Instagram there are two basic aspects you desperately need to master.
Firstly, you need to attention-grabbing, eye-popping graphics. If you haven’t been convinced why you need someone in house with graphics training, try managing – let alone standing out – on Instagram without one and you’ll quickly come around. Speaking of speed, it is the name of the game on Instagram. With just a single column of posts flying by, you have to make your posts vibrant and immediately captivating to get people to stop. The competition is unbearably steep, and with the addition of paid ads last year, a feed dedicated solely to obvious marketing campaigns are quickly lost in the volume of posts. Stunning graphics, photos, ads, and fun videos open the gates for creativity to grow and flourish a new and different challenge from other platforms.
Second, TAG!!!! Tag your photographer, get followers involved in your photo and videoshoots and tag them. Not only does it get people involved on an individual level, but it exponentially increases the views your posts get. Anyone tagged will have the post be included in their stream as well (unless they actively remove it). Obviously, this drastically extends your audience as well as potential customers. But those aren’t the only tags; don’t forget about hashtags! If tagging a person expands your audience using hashtags will increase your credibility. There are millions of hashtags to choose from, so do your research, find the most popular ones for themed, or topical, posts as well as the best ones for your industry. It’s also a good idea to have one or two specific hashtags to your brand as well as any events or campaigns (specials, new products, etc…).
As with all other social media platforms, providing a varied an engaging stream of content is vital to developing a following and loyalty to your brand. Run contests and events with customized hashtags to get people involved and follow your following, in both senses. Don’t just click the button and leave it at that. If someone posts a great picture or video using your products or crediting your services share it and…anyone..? TAG THEM! It creates an immediate conversation with you consumers, makes you relatable, and puts your brand in front of more people!
Twitter is a text centric platform, and while graphics are important for any excellent content piece, they are not the focus of Twitter. Solid, engaging content with quippy, eye catching posts to make your audience click on it. Twitter has been a staple of social media since its conception in 2006.
The greatest advantage Twitter has is its flexibility. Twitter has adjusted to the trends of social media by not only releasing new features and following trends, but also by recognizing what their platform was best used for and facilitating those changes (a lesson good for any business). While it started as just another channel to post daily updates about personal schedules on (daily highlights, funny occurrences, etc…), Twitter has transcended to a new bled of professional as well as personal information. Celebrities post to their fans companies use it as a fun way to keep their consumers and peers updated with informational content. The current trend on Twitter is towards factoid and tip-based posts.
As with any platform, knowing the type of content that does best can be a temptation to get lazy in your production. This is no less true on Twitter; however, it is especially important to keep your content fresh and engaging on this platform. Twitter is made for not only sharing posts, but was tailored to encourage conversation which, obviously, be to your detriment or to your extreme benefit. This makes it especially important that all of the content you share is of the highest quality. Make your graphics something you’ll be proud of when you see people retweeting your content piece and your content reliable and fresh.
Another excellent use of Twitter is for live events, especially in situations with massive crowds or broadcasting of some kind. Agree on a manager for people to tag in their posts or a specific hashtag to use at the end that’s been designed exclusively for your event and you immediately have a direct line open to your public audience. Listeners of webinars can tweet in questions, vendors can sell “backstage passes” for tele-broadcasted concerts and fans can tweet questions or remarks to the artist, have people retweet about your event or promotion to be entered for a drawing, the applications are endless. The flexibility of this network and its ability to be a direct conduit of conversation to your audience are its greatest strengths and value to marketers.
The only bounds to how you use Twitter for marketing are the ones your creativity puts on it.
LinkedIn is another text driven channel, though this one focusses more toward professional habits and tips to increase and mistakes to avoid for the sake of productivity and quality control. Think of it as a mix between a professional Facebook and Twitter.
As with most other important aspects in life, social media has a big three, and LinkedIn is part of it. Greek mythology had Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades; organized crime had Gabriel ‘Al’ Copone, George ‘Bugsy’ Maron, and Charles 'Lucky' Luciano; World War II had Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, and Teddy Roosevelt; social media has Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The unique power of this platform is not to be taken lightly, but should be taken advantage of by proficient social media marketers.
The biggest advantage to LinkedIn is the networking opportunity. Since it’s a professional site and both individuals as well as companies have accounts, it’s a great way to get the word out about your business. However, what it has in common with other platforms is that a well-rounded feed is the key. If you just start advertising your company to other businesses straight out of the gate, you’ll be a ginormous flop. People like the idea that they are doing business with other people vs a faceless corporation. Target your audience to both other businesses in your company you can partner with to expand your reach as well as companies in complimentary industries.
They key to the type of data needed for platforms like LinkedIn is data and lots of it. Take the time to do your research and really know what you’re talking about. Your content may be going to professionals in other industries who won’t notice a mistake or faux pas, or it could be read by a peer in your industry who has a full grasp of what you’re talking about. The first step to maintaining credibility within your industry circle is make sure that information you’re putting out there is correct and up to date rather recapping an already fading trend.
You can also connect your LinkedIn to your website to add credibility to your brand. Think of it as a resume and portfolio for your business. If you want to start doing business on a higher level with bigger clients or partner with other businesses to host events or large promotions, LinkingIn to your website is the first step to that end.