There are hundreds of social media channels today, some of which are hugely famous and are known by every other person on the web. This provides so many options to business owners in terms of exploring and picking out the medium of their choice, but if only it were that easy. Statista estimates that there are 2.46 billion social media users on the planet and this number is going to escalate to more than 3 billion social media users by 2021. Social networking is one of the most popular practices out there and something the internet has always encouraged for its users. Brands who want to be seen as active and lively must stay updated with the best social mediums to get engagement and leads from these social mediums.
How can you create a social media strategy if you don’t even know which medium to use? It can be a little overwhelming, considering a number of social mediums taking over the internet, but it is not a lost cause. Of all the social mediums in the world, you have to choose the ones based on some simple factors which you already know about your business. A combination of research and internal analysis will point out the answers to you:
The first question you will ask yourself when choosing a social medium for your business is whether the medium is following the latest trends in social media marketing. Firm knowledge of the current marketing trends will enable you to take a sensible decision about the right social medium. You can follow the user patterns and predict outcomes when you keep a tab on the current trends.
Instagram, one of the world’s most famous photo-sharing apps and a Facebook-owned entity, recently announced that its user base had hit the 400 million monthly active user mark. If you know this fact, you can decide whether this medium with an active user base suits your business more than any other medium like Twitter, which has 316 million monthly active users. You will invest your time, efforts and resources into these social mediums, and this knowledge will help you land on a decision which boosts engagement and creates more customers.
There is a list of trends you must keep a watch for, like:
- Options of video marketing. Is your chosen social medium accepting video formats and encouraging video marketing through promoted posts? It can be any kind of video which is created to speak about your brand
- Search engine optimization. Can you align your search engine optimization efforts with your favourite social medium to do business? This is a very important question because search optimization affects the way users land on your site/social profiles, and you have to build a pathway which connects the dots
- A medium which supports the union of social media and traditional marketing. Over 66%of marketers enjoy enhanced lead generation benefits with social media. It is one of the hottest trends of our age because the modern customer needs to be attracted to your business through one medium or the other. It will be better if the mediums support each other and are available to turn leads into customers at any point of interaction
- Cutting the costs. Since you are a business owner, costs and expenses must always be on your mind. Choose a medium which helps you manage your costs and cuts down unnecessary expenses
- Blogging is an important matter. Don’t push it for involvement later, because blogging can take your business places. According to a study by Mediakix, people spend more than five years of their lives on social media. Choose a medium which can join your blogging and social media marketing efforts together to bring maximum engagement
- Keep an eye out for new social media channels. If you are a large organization, you have the responsibility of keeping the brand alive through the best social medium. If you have a small or medium business, it is your first and most important choice to go social on the internet. Refrain from new social mediums which are established well right now, because your efforts may get wasted. Your time and resources are important. Use them on the medium which is established and has a proper check and balance system around it
Your target audience
Who is your target audience? You have to go fishing where the fish is. Spend some time in building the ideal user persona of your customers. It can be one of multiple user personas, to help you create quality content which resonates with your audience. Find out where your target audience is spending the most time on the internet, and how you can interact with them. Picking a social medium will be easy as ABC when you know where your target users are available to interact.
If your target audience are millennials who enjoy powerful storytelling in the least amount of time, go to Snapchat and create lots of videos for these millennials. It is an engaging video storytelling space, and your target users will thoroughly enjoy your presence on the medium. Snapchat has more than 158 million daily users and more than 10 billion videos every day. It can be a great platform to promote your brand. When the famous TV show Gilmore Girls was revived in 2016, it used Snapchat to promote the revival in the best way possible. They distributed paper cups to most of the coffee shops in the US which had a snapcode. Take a photo of the snapcode with your snapchat camera, and it would unlock a special Gilmore Girls snapchat filter.
The campaign worked! It was very interactive, had a feeling of exclusivity to it and it was rewarding fans with a free piece of merchandise of the show they loved for years. It also created buzz on social media as fans went on a lookout for the coffee shops with the cups.
If you are having trouble in building the ideal user persona or finding out your target audience, you can always perform a user survey. This is the best way to learn about your chances and to learn about where you stand. The Gilmore Girls campaign worked because it was catering to the right audience which was most likely to interact with the campaigns. You can also keep this feature in mind when crafting campaigns. The more your target audience resonates with the message, the more your chances of being loved on a particular social medium.
The research you perform can be B2B and B2C since your target audience can be both. Research shows that Facebook caters more to B2C channels whereas LinkedIn is the prime choice of B2B efforts. It teaches you about relevancy and research, so you don’t put your effort into the wrong social medium. Audience presence, message, interaction, usage patterns, everything changes when you jump from one social medium to the other.
Your choice of content
What kind of content are you willing to create for your brand? Your answer will speak volumes about the kind of social medium you should follow. Select your social media channel based on the kind of content you wish to create for the brand. You must know that each social media has a different character and it caters to its audience based on this defined character. Like Snapchat deals with video marketing, Twitter deals with microblogging and Facebook is a mix of all. If you are a business which feels comfortable (or has a requirement of) creating videos, choose YouTube. Videos are what YouTube is. The famous video posting platform also happens to be one of the biggest video search engines on the world wide web. Jason Demers of Search Engineland came up with the following list of mediums, sorted by the kind of content they support:
- Image-based channels – Pinterest, Tumblrand Instagram
- Video-based channels – YouTubeand Vimeo
- Location-based channel – Foursquare
- Redditand Quora are listed as niche social media channels, designed and working very well for a specific type of audience.
Perform a content audit before you decide on the best social medium. A content audit is not complicated; it’s like a check on your current content bank and analyzing if this content can be re-shared on the social medium of your choice. It can be done in three simple steps:
- Analyze the current stock of content available to you
- Do an analysis of the kind of content which is missing from your current stock
- Make a plan on how you want to reuse this content to share it with your target audience
There is a strong chance that your content marketing will improve drastically by the use of a specific social medium. Some businesses and social mediums are made for each other. When this connection is made, each bit of content posted on these platforms is highly engaging and the user base loves it.
Nike created a highly successful Equality campaign, which involved YouTube and a set of powerfully curated videos. The campaign spoke about Nike’s struggle to cater to each person who wants to be a customer and not just to provide a set of branded sportswear to athletes. It is a great example of powerful storytelling and using a single social media platform to convey the message to a large section of the audience. Considering YouTube’s popularity, a single powerful video conveying a heart-touching message is enough to take your brand to new heights. Nike does not need validation from people about the popularity of its sportswear; they created the campaign to increase engagement with their fans and tell everyone that there is not an element of exclusivity in this brand, it is equal for all.
It’s perfectly okay to pick and choose or even abandon a few social networks in your quest for that ideal platform. The perfect equation for this process doesn’t exist. Small businesses may not get time to be present on four to five social networks at the same time, so those businesses can find the right medium by going through the tips mentioned in the article. It is not harmful to step back, realize the importance of your social media presence and take a decision. Keep going through the numbers, keep perfecting your user persona and revise your strategy based on these principles.
Also, keep asking yourself: which factors affect my social media presence the most? Do you know that more than 95 per cent retail brand use only one or two social media channels? It works well for them, as long as they are present and thriving on that one platform that matters. For example, a retail brand can enjoy their presence on Instagram and make a business profile because it is the most suitable platform for fashion niche. The same brand may not perform well on mediums like Twitter or LinkedIn. Use one voice and use it powerfully to be heard all across the social networks.