Most business owners and managers understand that social media advertising is important for their business. What they may not completely understand, however, is which platforms are best for their particular business. Many people also don’t know exactly how to use social media to propel the business forward. Internet marketing gurus say a business should be on every platform making multiple posts per day. This isn’t practical and it’s generally not a very effective way to reach customers. Targeting customers on the social media platforms they use on a regular basis is a much better approach.
How Should a Business Choose a Social Media Platform?
There are three key factors that will come into play when choosing a platform: the type of business, the target audience, and the social media marketing goals.
This isn’t just about what industry a business is in and the kinds of products or services that are offered, although that’s part of it. It’s actually more about whether it is a B2B company, or a B2C company. Consumers are more likely to find a business on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Conversely, most B2B companies find their audience on LinkedIn. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules and some B2B companies do well outside of LinkedIn and some B2C companies don’t do well on Facebook.
Connecting to customers on the social media platform they’re most likely to use, and delivering the type of content they want are vital. To do this, a business needs to identify its target market using demographics such as age, gender, marital status, parental status, income level, location, and other important aspects of who they are. It’s also important to define and understand their pain points, challenges, and goals. Armed with this information, a business owner or marketer can craft social media posts that reach the right audience at the right time, and that can translate into increased visibility, better branding, and more sales.
Social Media Marketing Goals
When asked what their social media marketing goals are, many business owners don’t have a solid answer. They often have no real idea of what their goal is for social media marketing or how they’ll accomplish it. Goals can be anything from generating more leads, making sales, improving brand recognition, connecting with customers, to out-pacing a competitor. It would be wise to remember that most people on social media platforms aren’t there to buy, they’re there to see things, share things, and comment on things. So, be realistic and don’t set a lofty goal of making $1 million in sales in a week; it’s probably not going to happen.
Top 5 Social Media Platforms for Businesses
Once the questions above have been answered, it’s time to get down to the business of deciding which platform is best for the business. In a perfect world, there would be enough time to use them all, but this isn’t a perfect world. Instead, it’s better to choose one, two, or three at most to focus attention on.
With more than 2 billion monthly users who are active, Facebook’s stats show that they’re the largest social media network. Around 68% of adults age 18 and over in the U.S. are daily users and the majority of them are women. That’s a huge audience for businesses to promote their products, services, special events, deals, and anything else they want to. There are currently more than 60 million active business pages and the majority of them are only trying to get their brand noticed and keep their customers interested.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram boasts around 500 million users and the vast majority of them (64%) are 18 to 29 years old. Over half of the active users say they log in every day and most of them check in multiple times a day. And, more than 80% of them follow at least one business which makes it a perfect place for brands to post images to promote their products or services. Since more than one-third of Instagram users make purchases online, Instagram posts are a good way to capture their attention and increase sales.
There are around 330 million active users on this platform and around 40% of them are between the ages of 18 and 29. In other words, it’s a young crowd and businesses are vying for their attention. Twitter users tend to communicate their complaints about a company, and expect to hear a positive response. For the more than 65% of U. S. companies with more than 100 employees that are active on Twitter, that means staying connected and quickly responding. In other words, it’s all about customer service.
Of the more than 250 million active accounts, the majority are women (80%) who are over 40, and who have an income of $100,000 a year or more. They’re not just sharing recipes and home decorating ideas, they’re shopping. In fact, more than half have made a purchase because of a pin. And, 93% of users say they plan their purchases based on pinned items. In other words, if businesses that want to sell to women that are ready to buy and who have the means to do so, businesses need an active Pinterest account.
This video-sharing social media site is huge with almost 2 billion users logging in every month. Nearly 80% of the users are between 18 and 49 year old’s watching videos on YouTube, and the majority of them use a mobile device. While entertaining videos are certainly popular, how-to videos, product use videos, and promotions are also well viewed. If a brand can combine those elements and make people smile, they’ll eventually gain a following, improve the brand’s image, and make more sales in the long run.
Get Social and Grow
The reality is that social media is here to stay and businesses have to become more socially active in order to compete. Regularly posting to the right social media platform is a great way to attract new customers, retain current customers, and improve a brand’s image and reach. The biggest piece of advice, whether a business has an account on one, or all, of these social media platforms is to go all out. Post frequently, keep the target market in mind, and keep the marketing goals in mind. Also, remember that what is said on social media by any representative of the company can, and will, have an immediate and lasting impact on your company’s bottom line. Social media isn’t much different than dealing with customers in person; just be positive, upbeat, and customer service oriented.
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