It is common knowledge that social media marketing is a must have portion of your business strategy. Now that it is an established part of your marketing mix, it is pretty important to have a concise strategy. If you don’t have your social media marketing streamlined, you are not helping your business and damaging your brand image.
There are a gazillion social media platforms out there these days. A few of the top ones are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat. The list goes on and on from there. Social Media is free, except for your time and time is money. Best practices are to focus on a couple of the most useful social media platforms for your business and grow out the rest from there.
Hootsuite recently did a thorough analysis of the demographics of these top platforms. With over 71% of online users on Facebook, it is smart to use this platform, but your target market will determine how much emphasis you put on it. Facebook is especially popular among online U.S. women, 76% of whom are users. In addition, 82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 70% of those ages 30 to 49, 56% of those 65 and older. It is best practices to do all you can to optimize Facebook, especially with it’s changing algorithm. Here are some tips to get more out of your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram platforms on a limited budget.
I love Twitter. It is absolutely the most versatile social media platform out there and the potential to fly high in the sky from day one is endless if you use it correctly. Some 23% of all online adults use Twitter, 50% of users shop on the platform and 60% buy due to Twitter influence. Internet users living in urban areas are more likely than their suburban or rural counterparts to use Twitter. Female users are slightly more often found on Twitter in the U.S. than male. Twitter is more popular among younger adults, 60% of Twitter users are under 50. Most of the top brands are on Twitter and you can read my tips to grow your Twitter account here.
26 percent of adult Internet users are on Instagram and 55 percent of those users live outside the U.S. When I was speaking in the Middle East a few years ago, I got a first hand view on those different demographics. Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate for brands is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher than on Twitter and Instagram users are “two and a half times more likely to click on ads than on other social media platforms.” The Instagram audience is younger and middle class, with over half of their total users under 30. Both men and women with normal education frequent the platform about the same. Companies are leveraging Instagram’s passionate community, creative context and easy-to-digest visual language to market themselves with astonishing success.
YouTube, being optimized by Google, has over a billion users. Its largest age demographic of 41 million users is 25 to 34. YouTube reaches “more 18 to 34 and 18 to 49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.” If your company creates videos it would help your brand image a lot to create a YouTube channel. 28% of adult Internet users are on Pinterest and a third of those users chose Pinterest over Google search. People use Pinterest about the same in all age brackets and it is dominated by the female population. Pinterest seems to be appreciated more by the lower class with less education. Pinterest can be the biggest driver of traffic to your site if used correctly on the appropriate demographic.
LinkedIn is one of the oldest social networks and has 430 million members in more than 200 countries. 70 percent of LinkedIn users are outside the U.S. and men slightly lead women with a diverse age group on this platform. LinkedIn users tend to be in the middle to upper class. LinkedIn is the hub for professional online networking, and with two new members joining every second, it is essential for your job search and lead generation. I have put together this guide with tips to optimize your profile so you can build your brand image and make the most out of your business connections.
Snapchat is the newest of all these platforms and with its rapidly growing 100 million users, their videos already have 7 billion views today. “Millennials, a demographic marketers are spending 500 percent more to reach than all others combined, account for more than seven out of 10 Snapchat users.” Snapchat users are most often very young, starting in their teens. 18 percent of all U.S. social media users use Snapchat and 76 percent of the total Snapchat users purchase things online. A majority of Snapchat users are female, have larger incomes and 70 percent of post-secondary students use Snapchat. Snapchat is an extremely popular platform for those under the age of 34 and I highly recommend this platform to those companies that are trying to reach that target demographic.
Have a strategy and be consistent. Take the demographic material above and use it to define your strategy. It is always best practices to have a strategy before managing any online community. That way you can come to the gate strong and ready to start engaging. You should have your working content calendar laid out a year in advance and calendar in timely posts two weeks ahead of time because you have a basic idea of what’s on tap for your business (sales, events, etc.). If you post a sneak peek of your upcoming sale on Monday, then on Wednesday it makes sense to announce that the sale has gone live.
You want your social media to be filled with fresh, engaging content, but not all of your followers are going to see everything you post. Twitter is perfect for repurposing and sharing over and over again. I usually recommend posting fresh content a few times a day on Twitter the first day it is published and then a few times a week at different times of the day. This way, a single piece of content can play a big role in an entire month’s social media strategy.
You have your social media strategy set up with the goals you want to achieve, and have carefully analyzed the ways to make your strategy successful. Social media marketing is free when it’s done naturally, so you just have to pay for the time it takes to manage your social media. Here are some great time savers to get you started.
The biggest mistake businesses make on social media is when they try to sell, sell, sell.. If you feel like social media “isn’t working” for your brand, this is probably why. People don’t log onto Facebook to buy something. They log on to be entertained by their updates. It is important to build your social media audience's trust, make them laugh and teach them something new. By all means, feel free to share something of value for free, but never-never-never try to sell on social media.
Your social media should be the bait that instigates your followers to go to your website or your email list. After a few more interactions you can convert them into a sale. By getting focused and dedicating just a few hours each month, you can create a sensible social media strategy that builds trust, gains followers and brings in new customers.