By now, it’s obvious to most businesses that social media is an important channel for promoting and connecting with their audiences. Social media can be used to promote services and products while also driving traffic to websites, increasing visibility and helping to educate potential and current customers.
With the arrival of 2018, there seems to be a constant increase in social media platforms. On the surface, these all seem to be essentially similar, and on a basic level, they are. All social media platforms connect and enable users to share content. However, to get the most from your social media efforts, it’s best to understand what makes each platform different and how to take advantage of these differences. So, which social media platforms should you invest in this year?
What social media platforms are there?
For this article, we will look at the major social media channels used by businesses which can be invested in from an advertising perspective. These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
By investing, we mean spending money in order to promote content. Of course, many of these platforms allow content to be posted for free, but by spending money, posts can see more beneficial results.
How to choose a platform
When considering which social media channels to invest in, it’s important to think about your customers. One of the major differences between each platform is who uses it. For example, LinkedIn is largely used by business professionals, whereas Snapchat is used by a less serious demographic who usually want quick snippets of visual information.
For this reason, it’s important to understand that approaching your social media marketing with a holistic approach is usually inefficient and a mistake. Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that they are missing out on sales and customers by not being on every social media channel. Instead, it is much more effective to have a focused approach on a few, or even one platform.
A look at each platform
Facebook is the most common channel used by businesses, because it’s the most common channel used by customers. Because of this, every business should have a Facebook page, especially if they don’t have their own website. Your businesses Facebook page is often the first place customers look to find out more about your business.
While Facebook undoubtedly has the most users, without investing some cash into your posts, you will find you have very little reach. This is known as boosting a post.
Boosting your posts is relatively easy and is very effective as you can decide exactly how much you want to spend, while also selecting very specific demographics.
Twitter is different from Facebook as there’s a limit placed on the length of your posts, however the conversation is much faster paced than other platforms, with a lot more posts hitting user’s feeds. Twitter users are usually people who want to be constantly updated with quick snippets of information.
This is great if your business has a strong voice with personality, but it can also make it difficult to keep track of what’s going on. Building a following on Twitter requires you to start conversations and engage with people and groups. The platform makes great use of hashtags so if you can use, or even create, a popular hashtag with lots of traction, you can see great results.
To get the best results from Twitter, it’s a good idea to promote a tweet. Most of the time, it’s suggested to promote a tweet that is already doing well to capitalise the traction it already has. Again, investing in these sorts of posts is very effective for driving awareness for your brand, product or service.
While Instagram is owned by Facebook, this platform is much more effective for businesses that rely on visuals. For example, think about how effective a profile of images would be for hairdressers, tattooists, restaurants and of course designers and photographers.
Instagram is also a great platform if your target audience is within the millennial generation.
Instagram allows users to setup a business profile, which adds a contact button where you can include your email and phone details. It’s also good practice to include a link to your site within your profiles bio.
As far as promoting content on Instagram goes, its relatively simple, and actually cheaper than most other channels. Think about your ads carefully and remember Instagram allows not just images but also videos.
Snapchat has quickly become one of the largest, and most unique social media platforms. While 71% of its user-base fall into the 18-34 age range, the older age group is quickly catching on to this new platform.
Snapchat is mainly used for quick videos of day-to-day activities which is a great way to give quick updates on new products or even show behind the scenes footage of your business. This is a great way to build a more personal relationship with your customers.
The Snapchat audience is highly engaged and if your target market uses it, it can be highly beneficial to run ad campaigns on the platform. Snapchat has its own ad manager service, which makes it easy to raise awareness and drive action.
These are just some of the most popular social media platforms out there for businesses. Each channel has its own audiences, and provides a different way for interacting with customers. Think about your target audience, find out what platform they’re on, then focus and invest your time and effort into that platform.
Alana Downer is an experienced blogger whose main interest lie in finances and new technologies. Currently writing for Learn to Trade, Alana might often be found online, sharing her insights into technology trends which shape the way both businesses and individuals function.