Six social media marketing channels for business
The last decade has seen social media take the digital marketing world by storm - it has been a game changer for almost every company.
Ever since the evolution of social platforms, specific customer targeting has become more poignant and yet now also easier than ever. Social media is in fact one of the greater technological innovations of the modern era, for both communication and marketing purposes, being so direct and relatively easy to use.
Through social media, marketers are able to expand their reach to those users who are actually interested in specific services or products being offered by companies. One of the best features being offered my social media platforms is the ability to lower costs for clients - gone are those days where businesses were required to pay excessive amounts in the hope of advertising and reaching a few potential clients. Businesses are now able to reach a specific target audience with fees as low as 5 Euros per day (in order to achieve actual results).
That said, different social media platforms appeal to different kinds of audiences so it is important to identify which platform a business should use to market online. In order to establish this, one needs to be familiar with the workings of each platform. Below is a list of some of the favoured social media platforms, from a marketing perspective where the aim is to acquire new clients.
Currently the largest social media platform in the world, with over two billion monthly active users, it also has the largest demographic blend of all social media platforms. Facebook provides an easy yet extraordinary medium for any business to connect with prospective customers all over the world. It probably offers one of the best, most accurate forms of targeting and is one of the easiest to manage. Facebook is a great tool for getting users from the Facebook news feed to reach a business/personal website (sign up page or specific page) with a simple click of a button.
Originally launched in 2010, Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for approximately US$1 billion, which says a lot about how its new owners perceived the platforms’ potential. Instagram is a very popular photo sharing platform that enables users to share and view high quality imagery and descriptions with friends. With visual based messaging coming to the fore, this tool can be seen as a great platform for businesses. What better way to market your product than with a high quality image, on a widely used platform made specifically for that purpose. With integration into Facebook’s advertising platform, it is now a simple click of a button that enables adverts for products and services to be distributed to the Instagram platform, directly into user feeds. Although some might disregarded the value of Instagram, the emphasis being given by Facebook suggests that this is a viable marketing stream for reaching teens and young adults.
Marketing on twitter is quite straight forwards, relying mainly on the ability of posts going viral. The more your a is shared and retweeted by users, the higher chance it has of going viral, which will help companies who are seeking to gain more followers of their products and services. Hashtags are an important part of the Twitter world where ‘#’ is placed in front of a word which promotes it as a potential topic for trending. Hashtags that are ‘in trend’ are more likely to attract users to follow a business. It is key that marketers keep themselves aware of current ‘trending’ hashtags, to ensure they are posting correctly in order to achieve desired results. Twitter offers a very good B2C relationship, as businesses are able to communicate directly to users on this platform.
The LinkedIn platform is purposefully built for professionals and businesses working in a B2B field. LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with a specific audience as marketers are able to target people by industry, job title, job position, etc. This platform prioritises relationship building over all the other social media platforms as emphasis is placed on creating a ‘connection’ between two users or businesses. Another welcome feature is LinkedIn Groups, which are closed or open groups that encourage businesses and professionals in similar target niches or industries to join up and invite others in the same target market where connections can be expanded and networking can be effective. LinkedIn is seen as the premier platform for businesses and professionals to market themselves. In addition, LinkedIn profiles are often referred to through Google search by recruiters and professionals that are seeking to learn more about potential targets and business relationships respectively.
Another platform that fits well into the visual marketing niche, and somewhat similar to Instagram, is a photo sharing social media platform called Pinterest, which enables users to ‘pin’ high quality imagery (or links to images within online articles) in order to share them. Pins can also be grouped into galleries called ‘boards’. Users may become popular and ‘followed’ by others if their pins are seen as interesting/high quality and receive constant positive feedback, which can see their pins or boards promoted throughout the network and seen by millions around the world. Much like Google’s image search, Pinterest is often seen a preferred platform for people searching for visual ideas. Adding links to pinned posts also helps businesses to boost sales, as users are then able to browse the product site for more information.
Founded in 2005, YouTube is the currently the second largest social media platform and was bought by Google as early as 2006 for US$1.65 billion. Because Google now owns YouTube, YouTube videos are more likely to rank above other websites in Google’s search results – an important factor when considering SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). Advertising on YouTube is video-based – while this might seem a more time-consuming proposition to consider, video marketing should be a consideration for the future as ready-made software and even mobile phones tools are now available that make the possibility of video production more approachable. In terms of grabbing user attention, sound and video is at the top and will only keep rising as we move into the future.
Given Facebook’s venture with Instagram, you can see now how acquiring platforms geared towards visual marketing is seen as an important part of strategy for the advertising industry. However, when all is said and done, social media platforms all have their own pros and cons - there is no ‘best’ one-stop social media solution for marketers and each business appeals to different audiences and vice versa. Therefore the answer must be to use a blend of different platforms depending on the desired goals. Some platforms offer more focused targeting with higher costs, while others offer broader targeting with lower costs. Some time to research is all that is required to determine the ideal social media marketing strategy for your company.