Identifying a social media platform is a common challenge for marketers. So if you find yourself still scratching your head wondering where to begin, don’t sweat it. We've gathered together the most popular social media platforms and created a guide just for you. Here's everything you need to know about which social media platforms are right for your brand.
Misconception #1: “Social media is Free!”
Many brands are quick to jump on the social media bandwagon because, on the outset, setting up and maintaining your company’s page is virtually free. While it is free to get started, the time investment required to produce quality content, engage with platform users, and grow your follower base is an endless task that requires daily attention.
In addition to spending time on these platforms, gaining brand awareness and engagement for your brand’s social media page is pay-to-play, especially if you’re just starting out. More and more companies are seeing the benefit of advertising on these platforms to make sure their brand is being seen, and you can bet that their paid ads and posts will be prioritized over your brand’s organic (unpaid) posts.
Misconception #2: “Being on Social Media is Easy!”
If you’re reading this article, chances are you already know that social media marketing isn’t easy. Top brands who have succeeded on social media have at least one dedicated individual who is constantly monitoring, posting, following, “Like”-ing, collaborating, analyzing, and researching because the world of social media requires constant and consistent focus on what builds social equity for their brand.
Not convinced? Take a look at these Top 10 Brands on Instagram and make note of how frequently they post and how calculated these brands are in articulating their brand’s persona with every engagement. These brands know that it takes years to build their reputation online, and one wrong post to erase all of that hard work.
Misconception #3: “Our brand needs to be on every social media platform!”
With all the social platform options available, this is quite possibly the biggest misconception of them all: My brand needs to be everywhere!! Many marketers and companies fall into this same time-consuming trap. This is a common mistake that often puts you at the mercy of the law of diminishing returns… unfortunately.
We get it, you want your brand everywhere and reaching as many people as possible, but if you’re just pushing out loads of content and not engaging with your audiences by tuning your content and conversation for each platform, you’re not likely to build a meaningful connection with these audiences or grow your followers.
Our advice… start small developing and promoting content on only one or two social media platforms because of how time consuming social media can be in order to do it correctly. Take the time to build a following on each platform and truly engage with your users. They’ll appreciate it more and your results will reflect it. After all, social media is about making connections and, well, being social.
Before posting to any social media platforms, the first question you should ask yourself and your company is which platforms are right for your brand and brand’s audience.
If your demographic isn't regularly using a platform that you're on, you might be wise to focus your energies on a more effective outlet.
Here are the types of questions you may consider asking yourself when deciding on which social media platforms to position your brand:
Is your target audience leaning towards younger age groups who are college students or young professionals? If yes, then Instagram is going to be the ideal social medium of choice since 75% of its users are aged between 18 and 24.
Are you a B2B company that provides advice columns or thought leadership pieces for business owners, you may be better off promoting your business through LinkedIn, which will get you in touch with professionals from around the world.
Don’t forget to do a little hashtag research as well. Hashtags, when used appropriately and responsible, are a great way of gaining exposure to your posts, especially on Instagram. #Nailedit #Stayintheknow
Your social media presence tells the world who you are and the quality of your work. If you post content that doesn't interest a social media platform's audience, it can result in a poor perception of your brand.
As mentioned earlier, the number of social media platforms you're on can be a hindrance if you're not able to post timely and engaging content that is relatable to your audience. It's better to first choose the right social media platform for your business and then focus on posting the best content. You don't want potential customers going to your business's social media account only to see you haven't posted in months. Frequency, consistency and communication is absolutely key to your social media success.
Still the leader of all social media platforms, Facebook has an average of 1.59 billion daily active users. The variety of demographics and also opportunities for advertising are limitless.
On Facebook, you'll find a wide range of users from all walks of life. You can reach your target audience by taking advantage of Facebook’s targeted digital advertising tools. You can also join related groups that are filled with your business' demographic.
Use this space to gain a following and create brand recognition and trust. The idea is not to push your product too heavily. Be sure to share posts from other pages and provide frequent updates.
On Facebook, you can post a variety of content so don't be afraid to mix it up. You can share videos, live stream events, post articles, or just share relevant photos.
You don't have to be on Facebook, but if there isn't a clear alternative to reach your demographic, then Facebook is probably the platform for you.
This platform is mainly geared towards younger demographics, although you will find a range of users. A picture truly says 1,000 words on Instagram – the platform is mainly used for image sharing, so if you’re not known for your copywriting skills, rejoice! This platform’s audience usually isn't interested in content with heavy text.
Instagram has a more intimate feel. If you do type up a description to add to your image, make sure it has a more casual tone. Users want to be connected to their favorite brands in a personal way on Instagram.
As we mentioned earlier, Instagram allows you to use hashtags that users can follow. This helps your post reach people who may not be following your profile directly. Research hashtags that your demographic is most likely to follow, then #HashtagAway!
You are allowed to include up to 30 hashtags on a regular Instagram post or 10 hashtags on a Story, but limiting hashtag usage to around 10 hashtags per post is most ideal as it helps ensure your posts are only shown to the most appropriate audiences. Too many hashtags in your posts can also make your brand look desperate and may be a turnoff for the #anticorporate users out there.
Keep in mind that your page can be shadowbanned from certain hashtags if you mention them too frequently. Having an inventory of relevant and trendy hashtags for your posts is ideal, free hashtag research sites like Hashtagify are great tools to help get those #creative juices flowing!
Want to learn more about your consumers? Make your brand a little more impulsive and humanized? Or maybe you want to create buzz about a new product or provide customers with rapid-response support. If any of these are an objective for your company, then Twitter may be a good place for your brand to be.
For better or for worse, Twitter has been the go-to platform for sharing/tweeting about breaking news, snack-sized content, and the limitless amount of entertaining comments. Users typically come to Twitter to passively consume quick snippets of digestable news or information that appeals to them. There’s a lot more skimming that occurs on this platform than actual reading, so when you consider posting to your Twitter handle, less is always more. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is a social media platform for posting one-liners that intrigue and gain your audience's attention.
With only 280 characters or less at your disposal, you'll need to make your content count. Users enjoy Twitter because they can follow influential figures in politics and the media. Twitter also sparks great discussions, so don't be afraid to pose a question for feedback from your followers.
You should also retweet posts from other Twitter feeds in your industry. Response time for Twitter is expected to be quick. So don't let responses to your posts hang there. Make sure someone is checking back often to reply.
If your key demographic includes targeting fellow B2B professionals, then LinkedIn is your go-to platform. LinkedIn provides you with a number of avenues to reach prospective future clients, including its presentation format Slideshare.
You can post articles to your branded LinkedIn page or take part in LinkedIn conversations within specified groups. Over 630 million professionals use LinkedIn. You'll be connected to other entrepreneurs looking to do business.
Unlike other social media platforms, when posting to LinkedIn your style can be a bit more formal. You want to showcase your business as experts in your field. So be sure you are providing valuable content that offers a service, tip, or advice for other business-savvy individuals. In sum, thought leadership content thrives on LinkedIn, so the more you promote a unique perspective on industry news and trends, the more likely people will see your brand as an industry leader worth following.
If you choose to perform any paid advertising with LinkedIn, keep in mind that the platform provides highly-targetable, coveted B2B data points that other social media platforms do not provide: company size, industry, position/title, etc. Because of these highly targetable filters, LinkedIn also tends to be more expensive for paid advertising than Facebook and Twitter.
A contender with the rest of them, YouTube is the number one platform for video content. Many entrepreneurs gain traction posting YouTube videos on a regular basis, and it doesn't have to be professionally edited to have an impact.
Depending on your brand, your YouTube content can be personal, informative, or entertaining. Creating videos can be challenging and may require more time than a traditional post, but it is a very effective way to connect with your audience.
YouTube also allows you to advertise on other people's content. You can create a short commercial and promote your channel or other social media pages. Some YouTubers make a living on the revenue that ads generate. Finding those YouTubers who align with your target audience is a great place to start.
It is also owned by Google, so all you need is a Google account to get started. This also means that it gets priority in search results.
The ultimate key to success on social media is to understand the types of content that are most likely to be engaged by both your target audience and the users of each specific social media platform. This will help maximize the effect of your social media content and marketing.
Set expectations with yourself and your team to recognize that mastering the social media landscape will take time and analysis to truly understand what types of content generate the most engagement. Be sure to do plenty of testing and remember that social media platforms tend to be pay-to-play, so if you want more data to better understand which content works best, chances are you’ll have to put some budget behind your efforts.
Regardless if you’re just starting out with social media marketing or if it’s been an uphill battle, HARVEY is here to help. If you’d love to chat with our social media marketing experts, reach out. We’re always excited to help grow engagement and awareness opportunities for our partners.Next post: Harvey Celebrates National Women's Small Business Month