Social media marketing is a necessity for any business that wants to engage with its customers and show its human side. If you’re not actively engaging in social media marketing, then you might be missing out on an affordable way to market and advertise your business. At the very least, social media can increase exposure for your brand.
Getting started with social media can be difficult, especially if you’re not a millennial, which is why we recommend recruiting a millennial who grew up with social media and has years of experience helping companies like yours succeed.
Which Outlets Are Best For Your Business?
If you can’t hire a social media manager right now, then you need to learn the basics of social media before you can start devising your strategy. One of the first things you should determine is what platforms you should be marketing on.
Narrowing Down Social Media Marketing Choices
There’s a social media platform out there for every type of business. There are so many to choose from it can make it difficult for someone with a lack of experience to determine which ones to utilize. Many small businesses make the mistake of trying to use all of them and end up wasting time and resources. For the sake of time, we’ll be discussing the top social media platforms for marketing your business:
Define Your Goals
There are many benefits to using social media. However, you need to define your goals to determine which platform is right for you. Your objectives will ultimately determine the right social media outlets, but they will influence the content you create, your audience, and more. Here are some goals you might choose from:
- Improving customer service
- Reaching new audiences
- Learning about your audience
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
Find Out Where Your Audience Is
You should always choose the outlets where your audiences operate. To determine this, you should learn about the different types of outlets and the demographics of their primary users. For example, Instagram is a platform that’s used by more females than males, millennials, and Gen Z. So, if you’re trying to sell a product that’s for women, you might want to use Instagram. If you are trying to sell vape pens, you should likely consider both Instagram and Facebook.
You can find out where your audience is in several ways, but the most straightforward is with a customer survey. You can send one out asking which social media outlets they use and where they get their information online. You can further ask which social media influencers they follow.
You can learn more about your audience through your existing social media profiles. If you have a business account on either Facebook or Instagram, you can check out your insights to learn about your audience, including factors like:
Consider the Content You Create
Different types of content perform better on certain social outlets, so you must examine the content you like to create. Instagram, for example, is all about photos and videos, so it’s not a wise choice to share something like a long-form blog unless you have a great visual to go along with it. The content you might be considering can be:
- White papers
Choose Your Outlets
Now that you’ve determined your goals and taken a look at the types of content you believe perform best with your audience, it’s time to consider all that and choose a social media outlet. To help you decide, here’s a quick rundown of the most popular outlets, their users, and what you can do with them.
- Facebook: The largest social media platform, Facebook’s users are typically ages 25 to 54. This social media outlet is great for lead generation, and it’s a cost-effective advertising platform that can be customized to target very specific types of audiences.
This is also a relationship-building platform that allows you the opportunity to humanize your brand with photos and videos so you can turn your followers into customers. Facebook is versatile when it comes to content that performs well.
Depending on your audience, you might be able to get away with sharing links to long-form blogs, case studies, and white papers and find success reaching new people. Facebook is ideal for reaching a large number of people, but there are tons of competition. If you use Facebook, make sure you create content that can truly stand out.
- Instagram: Instagram is owned by Facebook, but the platforms slightly differ from one another. The types of content that perform best on Instagram are photos and videos with captions shorter captions. Instagram uses hashtags, whereas hashtags never gained momentum on Facebook, although they are permitted.
The users for Instagram are in the same age range as Facebook, but something to note is more than half the users on Instagram are female, while more than half of the users on Facebook are male.
You can (and in most cases) should use Facebook and Instagram together because they easily connect. If you share a post on Facebook, you can have it automatically shared to your Instagram. This can be beneficial for reaching more customers as some people are on one platform but not another.
- Twitter: Twitter is a great platform for businesses that want brand awareness on a global scale. You can easily reach new people with something as simple as a hashtag. It’s a great platform for reaching out to followers about announcements, important messages, and more.
Most of Twitter’s users are under the age of 50, and the type of content that performs well is easily digestible text-based content. This can include how-to articles, listicles, quotes, or blogs.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the platform of choice for B2B businesses who want to reach new audiences and generate leads with effective (yet slightly more expensive) advertising solutions. This is the ideal platform for publishing editorial content that can help you establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader by building authority and engaging leads.
LinkedIn’s users are typically between the ages of 30 to 49. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is a more professional platform for you to showcase the professional side of your business.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is all about images and makes a great platform to drive sales. Many Pinterest users plan purchases while using the app. Pinterest’s users are primarily women.
Begin Your Strategy
Hopefully, now you know which platform you should use for your social media marketing. Now it’s time to develop your strategy for how you’re going to use social media to reach new customers and engage your followers.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.