How effective is social media marketing?
Using social media to connect with your audience is a great tool for many businesses. It’s a way to connect with your audience in a different way. With more and more businesses having an online presence, social media is becoming an extension of their website and other online facets.
However, for some businesses, it may not be the best use of time and focus. Depending on the business or industry, some content may be more compelling than others.
When developing a social media content strategy, it’s important to go all in. If you don’t have time to manage a social media account then you won’t build an engaged community there and you probably shouldn’t set up an account just to say you’re on social media.
Benefits of social media marketing
If you’re working with a small budget but want to get your name out, social media is an inexpensive way to have an online presence. However, for most industries and businesses, a social media page should not replace a website.
Drive traffic to your website
If traffic to your website is lacking or maybe you just launched a new website, posting an update to social media with your website URL can drive users to your website.
Whether your business is rolling out a new product or promoting a sale, social media allows you to post right away and let your customers know what’s going on. Posting a question or poll provides a new way to communicate with your audience. In return, their responses can give you insight into ways to better communicate and provide information for the future you know they will interact with.
Reach a large audience
There are now 4.20 billion social media users around the world. This figure has grown by 490 million over the past 12 months, delivering year-on-year growth of more than 13%. The number of social media users is now equivalent to more than 53% of the world’s total population.
Globally, over 3.6 billion people use social media and the number is only projected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025.
In 2019, 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers were active social media users.
Interact with your audience on a more personal level
Social media serves as a networking and communication platform. Creating a voice for your company through these platforms is important to let your audience know that you’re human. When customers post a comment, they feel more appreciated when a personalized response comes from the business page. Being able to respond to each comment shows that you are regularly managing social media pages and the thoughts of your audience are valued and heard.
Increase brand awareness
Each post that is shared will be introduced to a new network of individuals, which can lead them to become potential customers, and the more people who know about your business, the better.
“Globally, over 3.6 billion people use social media and the number is only projected to increase to 4.41 billion in 2025.”
Developing a social media strategy
So you’ve decided to use social media as a marketing tool for your business, but where do you start first? Beyond getting all your profiles set up with your business information, it’s important to think about a few things before you start rapidly posting.
Post fresh content consistently
Keeping up with your social media profiles and making sure you’re content is regularly updated is the first step. For some businesses, it could make sense to post 1-2 times per day while others may only be able to post once a week and that’s okay.
The main point to keep in mind is not to post 5 times in one day and then go dark for months at a time. The best way to hold yourself accountable for posting is to develop a social media calendar. This makes it easier to plan future posts, keep track of when you’ve posted, and even help you to determine which dates and times will allow more engagement with your audience.
Post different content on each of your platforms
Each social media platform requires an audience to interact differently. With that being said, you may be able to publish a similar post across platforms, but the content could change. For example, on Facebook, you’re able to have a little bit longer of a post with a link but on Twitter, the character count is lower so the content in the post may need to be adjusted. If you want to post an engaging photo or video, Instagram and Facebook could be the best platforms to use instead.
Post engaging content
The great thing about social media is that you have some freedom to have fun! Don’t be afraid to show off your company culture. Having a variety of content that is posted regularly gives your audience fresh insight into your company. People like seeing people from time to time. Some ideas for posting engaging content could include:
- Employee spotlights
- Company events (holiday parties, team-building trips, philanthropy events, etc.)
- Employee birthdays
- New employee announcements
- Exciting news (new products/offerings, moving/expanding offices, etc.)
- Blog content
- Industry news
Choosing the best social media platforms for your business
There are tons of social media platforms businesses can use to promote their products and services, but which ones should your business focus on. Let’s take a look at the top used social media platforms along with the pros and cons depending on your business model.
Facebook is one of the “older” social media platforms but still pretty popular across the world. Based on recent statistics, Facebook is the leading social platform, reaching 59.0 percent of social media users.
It’s become more than just a way for friends to stay connected. Businesses have taken advantage of connecting with customers with self-promotion.
Facebook ads are another way for businesses to reach new audiences. The avenue requires a bit more planning, strategy, and budget, but it can be lucrative for some businesses.
Facebook advertising features include:
- Demographic targeting by Facebook user data on age, location, education, and interests.
- The ability to set ad budgets.
- Ad testing, in which multiple ad versions can be run simultaneously in order to compare ad designs and setup.
- Built-in ad performance measurement tools.
- The ability to advertise for your particular area—great for local businesses.
1.8 billion Facebook users use the app on a daily basis.
Twitter is a platform that uses shorter status updates and a limited character count per post. Using hashtags is the bread and butter of being successful on Twitter. Using a hashtag allows users to click and see how that hashtag has been used across the platform. Using a branded hashtag for businesses is a great way to insert their brand into industry topics or what that particular Tweet is referring to.
If your business sells products, Instagram is a great way to show off your products. On the other hand, if your business is more service-oriented, it can be difficult to accurately show your service in a visual way. If you’ve done the research and found your audience tends to be millennials or Generation Z, Instagram is a very popular platform among these generations.
64% of Instagram users are under the age of 34. —Statista
On the other hand, if a majority of your target audience tends to be Generation X or Baby Boomers, you will likely not have a strong engagement since many people of those generations do not have an account.
LinkedIn has been coined as the “business Facebook” platform. It’s a community of business professionals from all industries to connect on a professional level. Businesses have also taken advantage of the benefits LinkedIn has to offer. LinkedIn has become a popular platform for companies to publish valuable content and raise awareness among peers and in their industry. In fact, content creation on LinkedIn increased 60% in 2020. Creating valuable content on LinkedIn can differentiate your business as a thought leader in the industry and be shared with other industry professionals across the world.
YouTube is an easy way for your business to share high-quality video content and also has a massive known presence. In fact, YouTube is the world’s second-most visited website right after its parent company, Google. Another benefit of YouTube is that it can be shared across other social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Keep in mind that YouTube is video-based. So if you aren’t creating video content, this may not be the best investment of time for your business.
Pinterest is a highly visual platform similar to Instagram. Pinterest allows you to post an engaging image with a link that leads to another page such as a blog or buying page. If your business can create visually appealing photos and want to drive traffic to another page, Pinterest could be a great platform for your business to use. It’s important to keep in mind that nearly 80% of U.S. Millennial women are on Pinterest and 40% of Millennial men, proving their loyalty to the platform. This niche group of people may not be in line with your target audience so remember that when deciding if Pinterest is the right platform for your business.
Industries that do best with social media marketing
While it’s advantageous for businesses to post on well-known job recruiting sites for actively searching to fill an open position, social media can also aid in this search to find talent. Perhaps a follower sees your post trying to fill a position and knows someone that may be interested in applying. This also allows the potential applicant to go through your social media presence to determine if they would be interested in working for your company. That’s another reason to keep content fresh and engaging.
Real estate is an industry that relies on visuals and also relationship building. Since many real estate agents rely on references for business, the strength of their social media page can act as a digital business card. Regularly posting updates about listings, open houses, and new homeowners, real estate agents can use their social media platform to keep buyers interested and engaged.
The technology industry is constantly changing and companies are producing innovative new products. Tech companies can use social media to tease their new products to start conversations and create buzz. They can also use social media to show off the features and benefits of their products to gain interest. A troubleshooting or question-and-answer post can also increase audience engagement.
Retailers using social media have the ability to create brand awareness. Many B2C retailers are using loyal followers as brand ambassadors to spread their products and content across multiple platforms and audiences. This industry also has the advantage of getting in front of an audience that may not have known about their product before seeing a post and suddenly creating the need or want.
Making the right decision
All in all, social media can prove to be a valuable marketing asset for many businesses but may not be the best investment for others. We hope this helps your business determine which social media platforms have the best ROI for your business and a starting point for determining what kind of content to post on various platforms.