Social media is dominating the marketing world with 2.8 billion global users. A majority of companies have adopted marketing strategies that include social media. They are benefiting from the ease of sending updates and reaching out to their target audience for very low costs. There are multiple social media channels and each has its advantage.
With just under 2 billion users, Facebook has the biggest online user base. Facebook has transformed from Zuckerberg’s primary aim of connecting friends to being one of the most effective social media marketing platforms. It is the perfect platform to reach out to your target audience by sharing company updates in the form of text, pictures, videos, etc.
Facebook also has a paid feature; Facebook Adverts which help you to appear on a specific segment of audiences’ newsfeeds in the form of ads. Whatever is your budget, you can use Facebook Ads and even Instagram. These ads promise to attract the attention of users. Moreover, you can also analyze the data of ad results while running a campaign.
Facebook Ads can be featured in different formats like images, videos, slides, in-video ads, Facebook/Instagram stories, etc. Going live on video, in real time is also a recent feature that has been launched. It’s an effective option to interact with your followers, engage them and keep them hooked. These features allow you to keep your followers updated with your offerings and retain them.
Thus, whether you’re an early stage startup or a business giant, Facebook is a fantastic channel to post regular updates and advertise to your target audience. It lets you increase your audience base and provide them informative content. Facebook has the most diverse set of users and has identified and grouped them on the basis of interests, career, jobs, likes, dislikes, etc. Therefore it is a very effective platform to reach out to multiple groups of people.
Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media platform, Facebook recently acquired it. It has around 700 million users posting updates from their smartphones. Instagram’s option to edit and add filters in videos and images makes it distinct from its competitors. Users share visually appealing content and use it especially for travel, food, art, and fashion blogging.
Instagram posts tend to go viral with the use of hashtags and witty captions. Unique hashtags for events and trends create an incentive for users to post, especially given the added factor of discoverability and popularity of these posts. Another recent trend that has caught onto Instagram is the use of influencers. These influencers are celebrities and mini-celebrities having a large number of followers. They offer to advertise brands and products, by posting images and videos featuring them.
An Instagram page is likely to be successful if it is run by a creative person who has photography skills and an eye for detail. Another effective way to engage with your followers on a regular basis is the Instagram Story feature which was adopted from Snapchat. These stories can be in the form of videos or images and will appear on your followers’ feeds for 24 hours. Instagram also has the function to go live like Facebook and interact with your followers in real time.
Instagram has been a superb platform for brands who regularly post visually appealing content and engage with their customers in the form of giveaway or prize-winning competitions.
Twitter is a social networking site popular for its minimal length posts, known as tweets. These tweets are restricted to a maximum of 140 characters but can additionally be posted with images, videos or links.
Twitter started the concept of hashtags with the help of which Tweets tend to go viral. Content posted on Twitter is more often newsworthy and therefore ends up trending through hashtags. Users can “retweeted” or respond to the tweets. Twitter gives you an option to (paid) promote trends and sponsored tweets as well, which is basically advertising. Similar to Facebook, it can be used to send your message to more number of users and help you increase your follower base.
Tweets require minimal effort to be posted and enable you to share interesting content where you can be creatively constrained due to the character limit. Although Twitter has half the number of users than Instagram – 328 million – it is the most efficient channel to handle customer service updates, hold polls or to provide immediate updates to your users.
Snapchat is another social media app constrained to visually appealing, disappearing content. It has around 150 million users and is popular among iOS users who share creative and funny videos or images. The app can only be accessed from smartphones and is used to send posts to a specific group of followers/friends or to publish as a story for 24 hours.
Snapchat has developed its features over the past 5 years and now has the functions of media content, instant messaging, geofilters and image storage. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat is most successful for its ability to compile stories.
Although Snapchat went viral because of its convenience and unique way to message friends, it has also become a popular advertising channel. Companies can advertise themselves in the form of snap ads, sponsored geofilters or lenses and feature on ‘discovered.’
Like Instagram, Snapchat is successful because of its interactive feature to apply filters and share visually appealing content. Additionally, products can also be advertised through Snapchat influencers who have a large number of followers.
Snapchat is the best way to reach out to millennials and channel your inner creativity!
LinkedIn is the largest social networking site for professionals with over 500 million users. It’s the perfect platform to grow your career or simply reach out to have a conversation with other professionals. LinkedIn functions like Facebook. It has an objective to build connections and the ability to reach out to a large group of users in different professions.
LinkedIn is the most effective platform for purely B2B marketing and to reach out to professionals. Therefore, it is a great for promoting your brand’s objectives and establish partnerships or sponsorships. You can target your niche by using appropriate keywords and attract users to your LinkedIn groups.
Further, you should keep your profile/page updated with relevant and a fair amount of content to engage with your followers. However, in order to go viral, you can choose to sponsor your popular content in the form of ads to reach your desired audience segments successfully.
Lastly, the advantage of maintaining a LinkedIn campaign is the opportunity to utilize the analytics available. This way, companies can track and observe their consumer’s behaviour and familiarize themselves with their preferences. LinkedIn is most advantageous for B2B companies because it is the only social media channel that exclusively connects professionals. Therefore, you can use it to target customers based on their job title or industry. You can also promote content relevant to careers, jobs, and industries on LinkedIn.
After Facebook, YouTube has the second largest audience base with over a billion users. The video sharing platform is primarily for entertainment and news. The world population collectively spends about 1 billion hours per day watching YouTube videos. Although it’s an independent social networking platform, you’ll find YouTube videos embedded in emails, tweets, websites and Facebook posts, allowing you to cross connect your social media content.
Similar to other social media channels, YouTube also has its own ads feature. It is the perfect opportunity to reach your video-watching and engaged target audience. Especially, if you are a content-heavy brand that prefers creating videos over text format content. Additionally, you will only have to pay if the viewer actually reciprocates interest in your ads.
The major advantage of marketing/advertising on YouTube is the ability to reach out to its billion users and further expand your brand presence. Using appropriate keywords will optimize your brand’s exposure since, Google owns YouTube, it has a high SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking for each video. Plus, you can use multiple features like in-video cards and end screens to navigate your viewers to your desired webpage and convert them into leads, or even guide them to more useful videos.
The results measured on YouTube allows you to analyze the performance of your ad. You’ll be able to know whether you’re succeeding in reaching out to your desired audience. It can help you deciding future courses of action accordingly.
YouTube is also an ideal platform for conducting interviews/webinars, posting how-to videos, going live and advertising your company in the form of videos, etc.
Social media marketing delivers the most effective results in this day and age of digital marketing. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and YouTube are some of the most dominant channels for this purpose. Each of these platforms has the ability to feature content in different formats and subsequently analyze the effectiveness.
Social media platforms allow instant customer engagement and additionally, result in increased customer satisfaction, sales, and overall brand exposure!
Comment below and tell us what are your preferred social media channels as a marketer and why, or just say hi!
Shaheen is currently studying at the University of Warwick. She is majoring in BSc Economics with a minor in Politics and International Studies. She completed her high school at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore and JB Petit High School for Girls in Mumbai.
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