The 5 most loved platforms and how they will benefit your organisation
We all know that social media is essential to 21st-century marketing. Whatever your business, an active social media presence is the main highway of a two-direction relationship between the organisation and customer. According to HootSuite, ‘social media for business is no longer optional’.
Social media works in a multitude of ways to raise your profile, building awareness of who you are and what you do. It offers unlimited opportunities for you to encourage and entice your audience into whatever action you need. That could be anything: customers buying a product, volunteers signing up or members joining your organisation.
Social media is multi-layered and as such there are many strands through which it actively benefits your organisation. They include:
- Increasing traffic to your website.
- Enabling you to gather information on your target market and audience.
- Building customer loyalty and awareness.
- Building your brand.
And according to Hootsuite, over 67% of customers go to social media for customer service.
Use social media smartly, and it’s like getting on the winning horse at every single race. The trouble is, quite a few of us aren’t sitting that comfortably in the saddle, and we’ve even been known to go cantering off in the wrong direction. That leads to us wondering if social media is really as good for business as we’ve been told. We want to be winning those races, dammit!
A good way to start getting ahead is to get a real understanding of what the five most loved platforms offer and learn how to use those attributes to benefit your organisation.
Facebook is the obvious place to start because it’s the largest platform in the world. It has 1 billion users and those users cover every demographic, nationally and internationally. That means that whether your target audience is broad and partly unexplored, or whether it’s a niche market with a small, clear and specific audience, a proportion of them will be using Facebook.
It’s an ideal platform for sharing and re-sharing. That means that if you get your content right, a small initial target can quickly grow into a very large audience.
Business pages on Facebook are now instrumental to successful companies, and an important part of any marketing strategy. Here’s why:
- It maximises the value you get from your marketing by expanding the opportunities for customer engagement. That engagement is the vital first step to action, whether that action is a purchase, a sign-up or something else.
- Business pages allow companies to share photos, videos and updates about products and services, giving a better and more alluring customer experience.
- Companies can share and promote lifestyle content to customers. This sales technique is one of the best for gaining customer buy-in and Facebook is ideally structured for doing it.
- You can create a deeper connection with your audience. This builds customer loyalty, encouraging those who have bought or taken action once, to do so again.
- You can amplify your messages by encouraging followers to share company updates. So it’s important that those updates are clear, engaging and valuable - otherwise, who’s going to want to share them?
- Facebook allows customers to engage with your organisation. The fact that it’s a two-way process is key to its success for businesses. With so many consumers now using social media for customer service, it’s not surprising that a study by Aberdeen Group shows that companies engaging in social customer service see financial gains of 7.5% year on year growth, while for those not using social media it’s only 2.9%.
- Facebook has a robust advertising platform which companies can use to boost specific posts or run ad campaigns targeted to specific locations or demographics. It can be a very affordable way of promoting your organisation with an excellent return on investment.
Still wondering if your organisation needs Facebook? What if we told you that it’s the world’s most downloaded mobile app? (Think of all those people, clutching their phones, who could be getting your message, anytime, anywhere.)
Facebook is perfect for reaching a broader audience, for finding new customers, for boosting traffic & sales and for connecting with your community.
With its short, easy-to-read messaging system of just 280 characters per message, Twitter is a conversational platform that’s ideal fast updates and nudges to action. It’s an open social network, allowing businesses and organisations to monitor customers for insights, ideas, habits and opinions. That information is pure gold when it comes to planning your business and marketing strategies.
The largest user demographic for Twitter is millennials and young professionals, so if they’re part of your target audience, then you should be Tweeting. The combination of messages that are easy to read and accessible anywhere, provides a powerful real-time method of communicating with your community.
Twitter’s other properties include:
- Users connect with other users and discover new things every day.
- It’s easy to follow other users and interact with them.
- Users follow trending topics, breaking news and keywords by searching with and using hashtags. Clever use of Twitter can make the most of this, building brand awareness and encouraging action.
- Twitter provides a two-way connection for businesses, customers, vendors, partners and employees. It’s a multi-way conversation that has advantages for everyone.
- Regular updates (Tweets) allow your audience to stay up to date with new products and services. Fast and simple.
- Twitter is a great platform for customer service and damage control. You can respond quickly and visibly to issues and customer concerns, turning potentially tricky situations into good PR.
- This kind of customer service and positive PR increases brand exposure and help build brand loyalty.
- You can also use Twitter to reward longstanding customers
LinkedIn is all about business. It’s the largest professional social network. It allows you to stay in touch with colleagues, experts in new ideas and explore opportunities. LinkedIn is foremost a forum for online CVs and resumes, so it’s not surprising that its largest user demographic is students and recent graduates. Having said that, it’s widely used by professionals at all levels of business for things like professional insights, professional development and partnership working. Here are some of the benefits of being active on LinkedIn.
- You can discover insights about other companies, industries and individuals, allowing better-informed business decisions.
- Company pages provide opportunities to connect with the largest online network of job seekers, employees, potential customers and partners.
- Individuals follow company pages to stay informed and track new opportunities.
- HR departments can use LinkedIn to promote job vacancies.
- Sales teams can use LinkedIn for its search capabilities, identifying new leads and connecting with people within your industry.
- Sales teams can also initiate conversations with relevant people in LinkedIn groups.
- Showcase pages can also be beneficial for promoting or highlighting one aspect of your business or brand.
- LinkedIn blogs and groups can promote your services to aligned businesses and offer B2B opportunities.
LinkedIn is ideal for many types of B2B promotion while increasing brand awareness with the help of regular business updates.
Instagram is primarily a mobile social network and is an engaging and fun way to share favourite moments with your community through images. That means instant impact, that can really promote a particular message or work overtime to build a brand. Instagram’s largest demographic is people aged 18-29 so, if that’s your audience, then you need to get images on Instagram. Here are some of the other reasons why Instagram works well for many businesses:
- 95million photos and videos are shared every day.
- Users can follow each other, like and comment on posts.
- Content and messages can be shared privately.
- You can customise Instagram content, sharing a particular story for a limited amount of time, separate from your gallery. This can be beneficial for specific promotions or marketing strategies.
- Businesses of all sizes can connect with their audiences and share brand personality, culture and products.
- You can explore and discover new content based on hashtags, geotags and mentions.
- Instagram works both ways as brands, businesses and organisations can follow their followers in return.
- The immediate visual impact of Instagram makes it a great sales and marketing platform for promoting and highlighting newest products, services and trends.
Instagram has lots of scope for promotional activity. It encourages user-generated content, so is an effective platform for hosting fan photos or video contests, which can work hard to build your community and brand. As it allows you to share content to third-party networks, it means you’re able to share content more broadly.
YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing social network. It’s also the world’s second largest search engine and is owned by Google. It’s one of the top three websites, worldwide. Think videos can’t work for your business? Think again. It’s used widely by all kinds of businesses, large and small, and can be excellent for generating leads, sales and action. Here’s why:
- Users can like, comment and share video. One video can soon be shared very widely.
- Its largest demographic is the 18-49 age group. That’s pretty broad, and a huge potential audience.
- Using video is a great way to offer unique content and build a community.
- There’s lots of scope for sharing content and interacting with viewers.
- Businesses can monitor comments to see what the audience is saying – this enables promotional activity to be tweaked and perfected, reaping improved ROI as you go along.
- It’s a very effective platform for educating viewers about new products and services. You show and tell, doubling the impact of the message.
YouTube is also a great marketing tool for creating new product teaser videos that can generate excitement and encourage conversation. It’s widely used for creating valuable content that demonstrates expertise in a particular field. Viewers of this content all have the potential to become customers.
Good use of social media really can benefit any organisation or business. If you’re not getting the results you’d hoped for yet, it could be that you need to be more strategic in your approach. Use our guide to help you think about which platforms to focus on, and what kind of engagement you’re aiming for. Then plan your content accordingly. If you’d like some guidance on winning social media strategy, get in touch with experts like our team at The Graphic Design House and learn how to turn social media to your advantage.