Diving into the realm of social media marketing can be a daunting task, but with over 3.4 billion active social media users worldwide, it’s now a necessity for most businesses to include in their marketing strategy. From Facebook to LinkedIn to Pinterest, each social network has its own uses when it comes to promoting your business online. The main question you may be asking yourself is, “Which social media platforms are best for my business?”
In this post, we’re going to cover some of the most popular social media platforms and how to determine which one will be the most effective for your business. At EZMarketing, our Lancaster digital marketing agency has expertice in social media, so we’ll walk you through what you need to know to understand the pros and cons of each platform for your social media marketing.
What to Know First
Before we jump into the meat of each social media platform, there are a few things you need to ask yourself about your business. First, are you a business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) company? While social media can be effective for both types, certain platforms are better suited to B2C vs. B2B businesses. B2B and B2C businesses will also have a different strategy for what types of posts they do.
Another question to ask yourself is, who is your target audience? When creating ads, narrowing down your audience is essential to investing your money wisely and increasing your brand awareness effectively. Parameters such as location, gender, hobbies, interests, and age are a few important demographics to know and efficiently understand your target audience.
Finally, what are a few of your business’ goals when it comes to implementing a social media marketing strategy? While it may seem obvious that you ultimately want more leads or sales, you may also want to use social media as a way to enhance your public relations strategy. Or, you may want to increase your brand awareness or use social networks as a way of tracking your competition. Whatever your goals may be, having a clear list is essential before deciding which platforms you want to focus on.
With over 2.32 billion monthly active users, it should come as no surprise that Facebook is the leading powerhouse of social media marketing. If you’re a B2C company, being on Facebook is a no-brainer, and using Facebook ads is a great way to reach your target audience and get even more exposure for your products. Even if you’re not planning on using Facebook in your marketing strategy, it’s still worth it to set up a Facebook Business Page since search engines are going to look at your business’ profile for search results.
One of the best things about Facebook marketing is its wide demographic reach. If your target audience is anywhere between the ages of 22 to 55+, Facebook is the perfect option for your social media marketing strategy. With Facebook’s detailed advertising capabilities, you’re also able to target by gender, interests, purchasing behaviors, and much more. This gives your business the flexibility to put your business right in front of the exact audience that you’re looking for.
Nearly any type of industry (excluding adult products, unregulated supplements, weapons, etc.) can advertise on Facebook. Some of the top-selling industries include fashion, retail, sports, real estate, health and wellness, and news, but that doesn’t mean your business won’t thrive on Facebook as well. If you’re selling to a smaller niche market or even to a foreign market, Facebook is extremely beneficial in increasing your business’ brand awareness through their comprehensive ad services.
Best Business Benefits
If you’re looking to generate more leads and sales, Facebook e-commerce is where it’s at. With its ease of use and ability to leverage all content formats (video, images, text, etc.), Facebook has by far the most developed advertising platforms on the market. Even if you’re not focusing on generating leads, Facebook’s algorithms reward companies for posting content it sees as valuable. So if you’re looking to increase your brand awareness or generate better public relations, posting content that sparks conversation is a good place to start.
Next to Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet. From beauty products to sports videos, everyone is on YouTube looking up content. Even if you don’t think that your target audience is on YouTube, think about how many times you’ve viewed ads when looking up a new movie trailer or when you’re watching another cute cat video. Depending on the industry you’re in, having a YouTube channel may not be a necessity for your business, but it may be a good option for advertising.
With predominantly male users, the demographics of YouTube users are very predictable. Male-dominated YouTube categories include topics like video games and sports, while the female categories are dominated by cosmetics and skin care. There’s also a large age gap between users, with younger users spending more time on the site than their older counterparts.
As with the gender and age demographics, the dominant industries on YouTube are much the same—sports, video games, beauty products, skin care, health, etc. Yet despite that, the variety of ads on YouTube has a much wider range. On average, if a user isn’t hooked on your video or ad within 10 seconds, they’re going to leave, but thanks to features like YouTube Cards or interactive end screens on videos, there are many ways to get people to click your ads.
Best Business Benefits
Regardless of how you want to implement YouTube into your social media marketing strategy, you need to consider it if you want to improve your SEO or web presence. Because YouTube is owned by Google, optimizing video descriptions with keywords can help you gain potential leads and improve your discoverability in search engines.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is another social media marketing powerhouse when used correctly. It’s best for B2C customers, but if your company has a visual product, then you’ll likely want to put your business on this social media platform. A key point to remember with Instagram, though, is that its users expect high-quality media—stock images and videos will not work, so it may take some extra investment before you see a return. On the positive side, because it’s owned by Facebook, you will have access to some of the same features and ad targeting options that you’re already familiar with.
If your target audience is not young or female, Instagram might not be your best choice, since it’s dominated by 18-34-year-olds, 68% of whom are female. While you may use Instagram to post photos of your employees or some behind-the-scenes action at your company, your marketing strategy may not need to include spending time or money here. If you do decide to advertise, you can do so via Ads Manager on Facebook.
Instagram is a great market for the travel, fashion, food, photography, and beauty industries. Especially if you have a product people love to talk about, know that the engagement rate on Instagram is 58 percent higher than it is on Facebook, so it’s still a social media platform to take into consideration. Being very photo and video heavy, Instagram is the place to be if your business is selling a visual product.
Best Business Benefits
Unless you’re running ads, Instagram is not a great place for generating leads. Ads on Instagram are one of the only places to put links to link to your website, but Instagram can still be great for brand awareness. By posting good, thought-provoking content, or even just posts about your company culture, having a presence on Instagram can be a great benefit for your business.
Can you get your thoughts across in 280 characters or less? Do you have the manpower and time to be vigilant about posting and monitoring your Twitter feed? Are you open to facing public criticism and feedback? If you’re up for the challenge, Twitter is the social media platform for you. Known for its real-time updates, hashtags, and customer service uses, Twitter can be a great outlet for your B2C or B2B company.
While it has a close 50/50 split of male and female users, Twitter is definitely more focused on a younger target age. Unlike Facebook, Twitter is a viable space for organic engagement where you don’t need to pay to reach followers. If your audience is structured towards teens or millennials, Twitter may be a good addition to your marketing plan.
Having practically revolutionized the news industry, Twitter has become a space for consumers to discuss current events and trends, and rant about all things political. Retail, health, travel, finances, sports, and fashion are other industry markets that tend to shine on Twitter.
Best Business Benefits
If customers ever have a problem with your product, a lot of people will turn to Twitter and tweet at you for help. In that regard, Twitter becomes a great platform for customer service and answering customer questions. As a result, companies are able to come off as more personal to consumers and bridge that gap between their business and customers.
No longer just for job searches or resumes, LinkedIn is the social media platform for business. If your company is a B2B company, this is the social media platform for you. Now a place for industry experts to share content and network with each other, LinkedIn has become a hub for professionals that you should consider joining.
The demographics on LinkedIn are fairly well rounded – you’ll find both men and women between the ages of 25 and 45. Because of its professional nature, people using LinkedIn typically have twice the buying power compared to the average web audience, and consumers are more likely to trust other professionals that they find through LinkedIn.
Recruiters and businesses seeking out jobs have been using LinkedIn from the beginning, but secondary education and high-end B2B industries have also taken root in the platform. While advertising on LinkedIn may not be as advanced as other social media platforms like Facebook, it’s easier to target specific businesses or job titles due to its professional nature.
Best Business Benefits
Since LinkedIn is considered a social media platform for business, people are more likely to take businesses on LinkedIn seriously. If your B2B business is looking to make more business connection, or if you think other companies will be looking for your services, LinkedIn is going to be the best social media network for your business.
One of the more unique social media platforms, Pinterest is another one that is great for B2C companies, especially in the creative industry. Hobbyists and crafters use this visual outlet as a way to plan and generate ideas, pinning things like food recipes, wedding inspiration ideas, how-to articles, and more. Discovering new products is the drive behind Pinterest, which gives your business a unique opportunity to tailor your consumer’s purchases.
Pinterest has a very dominant female demographic, so if your products do not cater to women, you may want to invest your time elsewhere. If you’re selling products or services that relate to any of the target industries below, you’ll likely want to consider spending some of your marketing budget on Pinterest.
From recipes to crafts, we’ve all seen our peers sharing their Pinterest discoveries on social media. That’s why the health, food, arts and crafts, home and garden, and event industries do so well in this market. Although the majority of businesses selling a product can find their target audience on Pinterest, there’s a reason women tend to flock to Pinterest for the same content types time and time again.
Best Business Benefits
Just like Instagram, Pinterest is highly focused on images and visual products. Having high-quality images is essential to growing the awareness of your brand or products on Pinterest. The engagement rate on this platform is extremely high, and because consumers come to Pinterest to plan for future purchases, it’s a great way to generate leads back to your website.
Other Social Networks
While you may feel a little overwhelmed with all this social media info, it’s important to know that we only scratched the surface. There are so many other social media platforms out there that could benefit your business: Google My Business, Snapchat, Reddit, Yelp, Foursquare, just name a few. With an endless amount of resources and ways to help your business, here’s one tidbit of advice—don’t spread yourself too thin by signing up for too many platforms.
Start out slow and decide one by one which platforms are going to work best for you. If you need more help, know that EZMarketing is only a few clicks away. We’re easy to work with and happy to help when it comes to all of your social media marketing needs! Our digital agency is in Lancaster and helps small businesses with internet marketing services.