Every day, over 3 billion people use social media. It’s one of the first places people turn to when something new, exciting, life-changing, discouraging, outraging, big or small happens. It’s used to announce engagements and the birth of firstborns, deliver breaking news and recap major events. It’s the first thing we look at when we wake up and the last thing looked at before going to bed. Everything gets put on social media in today’s age of oversharing–whether we agree or disagree, as marketers, it’s something that can’t be ignored. Be proactive and meet your audience where they live on social platforms.
The average small business spends about 35% of their total marketing spend on digital marketing and about 13% on social media specifically–but are social spends being used correctly? If your primary audience is Gen-Z and you choose to advertise or spend time posting on MySpace because that was your favorite social media platform when you were in college, you would most likely be barking up the wrong tree. If your goal for advertising is to create a buzz with topics that are happening minute by minute, spending your dime (and your time) on Pinterest wouldn’t be the best option for your brand.
If you haven’t already, now is the time to create a social media marketing strategy, or rethink yours if it's failing to deliver. Take the time to figure out what platforms your audience lives on. Find the best way to approach them on that platform. There’s a fine line between being informative and being annoying and you want to make sure you don’t even dip your little toe close to that line. Always keep in mind that users can unfollow, unlike, report as spam, etc., at the click of a button.
Finding Your Social Soapbox
If you find the right social platform for your brand, understanding social media for business more fully will make for easier implementation and less time-consuming marking tactics. Social platforms all exist for the same purpose: to make connections either with people, places, events, or communities. But each tool delivers content in a different way. Below are some of the most common social programs and a quick summary of the type of content best suited for that platform.
Believe it or not, YouTube is the most used social media platform. While we may not typically think of it as a social platform, there are millions of people that log on every day to watch, upload, like/dislike, comment on, share and socialize about videos. 70% of the site traffic is used for solving a problem. Need to know how to properly cook a hard-boiled egg? YouTube. Build a coffee table? YouTube. Complete a mission in a video game? YouTube.
Maybe more commonly thought of for entertainment, about 57% of users are listening to their favorite music, watching movie trailers or daydreaming about big comfy pillow chairs, like the one featured in this 55-second Insider video. The video shows multiple people jumping and cozying up on a big ol’ ball of pillow (like made for three people big). Originally posted in 2016, the video now has 1.2M views on YouTube and over 1,200 comments. That same video was also uploaded to Facebook and saw 42x that many views... in 24 hours. Now, a little over 2 years later, the video has over 206M views, 957K likes, 431K comments, and over 2M shares on Facebook. Crazy how changing the platform can change the outcome, right? Imagine the reach you could have if your product post gained enough momentum on the platform that suited it best.
Who does it well: 5-Minute Crafts, currently over 47M subscribers
Why they're successful: YouTube is known for sucking people in. You start with one video of how to stain a cabinet and 2 hours later you’re watching kittens play with string. 5-Minute crafts has perfected the art of showing us how to do quick little crafts with items found around the house in ways we wouldn’t typically think of. People love to watch how-to videos and getting the satisfaction of seeing end results. 5-Minute Crafts does it quickly so you can see multiple in one video, which is a sure-fire way to keep your audience's attention.
Brand Tip: Try creating a short, helpful video that fills a need or solves a problem that your target audience faces. Make sure it is easily understood and aligns with your brand story.
Facebook, as you can see, has quite an impact on content, and that’s because it’s the perfect place for engagement. Say you make a recipe video, showing your newest peanut butter, and one person shares it. Then all of a sudden your video isn’t now just in front of the 1,000 people that like your page, it’s in front of an extra 200. This may not seem like a lot at the surface, but those are 200 close friends and family members of the person who shared it. They trust their opinion; they know that if they’re vouching for a recipe, then it must be worth a look and the relationship starts there. And then your reach expands exponentially to new viewers you couldn't initially get your content in front of because of that sharing.
Facebook has grown a lot in the past couple of years; it’s currently the second-largest social media platform and doesn’t seem to be slowing down despite the flux of platforms constantly coming out of the woodwork. Along with Facebook’s feed, they now have Facebook Stories and Facebook Messenger. Facebook Stories currently get about 300 million users daily. While that falls short of the 400 million that use Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories daily, it’s still a good source for advertisement (paid or organic) if you can find your audience there. Quick videos or pictures of a product are all that viewer is getting or even wants sometimes. Anything more would feel like an invasion of their personal space, so make sure you use those seconds wisely.
Who does it well: Coca-Cola, currently 107M people like their page
Why they're successful: They built a community. Coca-Cola uses this platform to talk with their customers, address questions and concerns, all while posting videos and messages that tug at your heartstrings. They have almost the same content being pushed to their Instagram account but are only bringing in around 2.2M followers on that platform. The difference? The platform’s purpose, Facebook is made for making connections.
Brand Tip: Build a community by sharing stories and actively engaging with users in the comments. Solidify and nurture communication to build trusted relationships. If Facebook is the right platform for your brand, building these trusted relationships is something that any brand can do, not just a household name.
Instagram is used for storytelling with pictures. Scrolling through Instagram you see a mix of your favorite people, brands you love, informative accounts and memes (can never forget memes) all in cute little squares with clever captions. The act of double-tapping and scrolling is second nature to anyone that uses Instagram. So much so, that it’s almost done senselessly.
If you're a brand that uses Instagram, you have to be at the very top of your game Every. Single. Day. You need to be cohesive and authentic, but make sure you're keeping up with current events and trends at the same time. A lot of brands can build their own audience by following that track, while some will need help. Along with ads, social media influencers are some of the biggest presences we come across on Instagram. Every day, we see our favorite Instagram stars trying to sell us products that we didn’t know we needed, but of course, HAVE to have. Subconsciously (and consciously, let’s be honest) we know that they’re getting paid for that very scripted Instagram post, but the power of influencer marketing is unbeatable at this point.
Who does it well: @buzzfeedtasty, currently 28.2M Followers
Why they're successful: Their pictures and videos can be comprehended without captions or long-winded explanations. The text is included in brief recipe descriptions during 30-second videos. They have vibrant images that get the attention of scrollers and recipes that are shareable.
Brand Tip: Tell your story visually, with photos and videos that have character and personality. Keep your content relevant and genuine. Don't get hung up on pushing out post after post, quality over quantity is key.
Twitter is great for a brand that has frequent updates. A couple of sentences and a max of 280 characters keeps your insights straightforward and to the point. The Twitter audience wants to see a recap of everything going on with your brand. Keep in mind that Twitter is very in the moment and time relevance is key to creating content. Posting pictures and videos can sometimes be lost on Twitter, and links have to be worth leaving the app for. The accounts that get followed on Twitter offer actual insight and context alongside their content.
Who does it well: @Wendys, currently 3.01M Followers
Why they're successful: Wendy’s takes this platform and uses it perfectly. Not only are they sharing their latest meal deals and promoting their brand, but they are known for their snappy and quick-witted responses to their clients and competition (which their followers can’t get enough of).
Brand Tip: Establish a brand personality and lead real-time conversations. Only use this platform if you can respond and engage with other users on your content and trending topics relevant to your brand consistently and frequently.
The best place to connect with your colleagues and others in your industry is LinkedIn. With a professional interface, this is the perfect place for sharing your industry-related content. A news article about your latest product, a podcast talking about an increase in sales, a blog post about trends. Is your audience at this platform and responsive to it? If so, trying out their “sponsored” posts (paid ads) might be a viable option for expanding your reach and name in front of your target audience.
Who does it well: Kraft Heinz Company, currently 570K Followers
Why they're successful: They are able to show their involvement with their community, their latest blog posts, and news articles that they align with, creating a professional environment. This is a big change for a company that's best known for its boxed mac n' cheese.
Brand Tip: Share your viewpoints and claim your stake the industry. This is the place to show your value in the marketplace.
Typically, you can find comfort in knowing that someone else on the internet has done something before you. Pinterest is the place where those experiences live and are documented and shared. Mostly used for DIY inspiration, recipes, and things to remember, Pinterest boards and pins can hold a lot of value for a brand that has a product or idea worth pinning. Bookmarking is essentially the key function of Pinterest. It is a great way to collect inspiration and content for long-term engagement that your followers will continuously come back to. Having an account that gains attention from followers can be helpful when you launch a new product or want to get the word out about something you’re endorsing.
Who does it well: Betty Crocker, currently 788K Followers
Why they're successful: Betty Crocker is known for their recipes. We could probably all think of a family member with a Betty Crocker cookbook from 50 years ago, but instead of scouring a cookbook or searching the internet, Betty Crocker makes it simple with their Pinterest page. They have organized their recipes into boards that are easily searchable categories like “Holiday Side Dishes,” “Picnics and Potlucks,” and “Instapot recipes.” These pins are all linked back to their website, creating a new source of traffic that is constantly bringing people in.
Brand Tip: Treat Pinterest like a virtual mood board; create boards that you think your audience would be interested in, that represent your brand’s aesthetics and story.
Not every platform is for every brand. It's important to know where your audience spends their time, and how you would reach them in each social aspect. Building a social strategy is key. Spending time on something that has a poor ROI and is not in-line with your brand will definitely not be worth the energy you’ve invested. Instead, take that same energy and put it toward platforms that can work for you. Not sure where to start or need help with a strategy? We can help.
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