If you want to get the most of social media for your business, you need the right strategy and a clear understanding of your goals from the outset.
If being on social media because “everyone else is doing it” or because “our brand has to” sounds familiar, you are probably not getting the most out of social media for your business.
Don’t get us wrong – we agree the advantages of social media are many and varied.
It’s a powerful communications tool; what other medium allows you to reach your audience on a 1:1 level, cut out the middle man and deliver your messages directly, instantaneously and globally? Social media offers a broad reach at a relatively low cost when compared to traditional advertising, while also giving you a valuable right of reply to any negative commentary.
Deciding which social platforms to dedicate your resources to can be a daunting task, particularly when you consider the sheer number of social media channels.
There is Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and more – alongside the myriad of new channels seemingly popping up on a daily basis. Ever heard of Yik Yak? (An app allowing discussion threads between users within a 5-mile radius). How about CalendarX? (An event promotions tool on which someone can subscribe to other users’ calendars).
All too often, organisations fall into the trap of believing they need to have a presence on all platforms. This is false and, frankly, would be impossible to maintain for most organisations.
Our advice? Use fewer channels! But do those you select really, really well.
It is important to remember that each platform serves different audiences, works to different algorithms and suits a different type of content. Smart social media marketers will therefore pick only the most appropriate channels and dedicate the required resources to managing them well.
How do you work out which social channels to use?
First and foremost, you’ll need to define your social media goals, target audiences and objectives. What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to reach? How will you measure success?
Following that, you’ll need to give due consideration to which channels your objectives best align with. Choose the objective first, then pick the social media platform accordingly, not the other way around.
For that to happen, it is crucial to know what distinguishes the different channels. Some of the most popular platforms in Australia, according to the Sensis Social Media Report, are below.
Raising awareness on social media
If your objective is to build as much awareness as possible, Facebook is likely the platform for you, thanks to its large user base and easy methods of targeting specific characteristics and demographics.
It has an extremely broad audience, which is certain to include some members of your stakeholder groups. 95 per cent of Australian social media users are on Facebook and the average user spends 12.5 hours per week on the platform.
It is used across all age brackets and by both genders, though young adults tend to be less active, with a definite recent trend towards an increase in older users.
Facebook also offers an effective means of targeting audiences based on basic filters like location, age and gender, or drilling down much deeper into characteristics like ethnicity, interests, occupation, languages spoken, education level, purchase behaviour, family structure and much, much more!
Connecting with influencers using the power of social media
Twitter is a great tool for reaching influencers, but not necessarily customers. Journalists, bloggers, politicians, celebrities and high-profile businesspeople are likely to be active on Twitter, and it’s easy to speak directly to them.
Twitter offers an effective means of relationship-building and engaging with industry leaders.
In Australia, the platform has more male than female users, with younger adults more likely to be using it than older people. Users are also incredibly engaged, with almost 40 per cent interacting more than 20 times per week.
Building your brand on social media
Instagram provides the perfect space to tell a brand’s story in a visually engaging way. It’s becoming increasingly popular, with 31 per cent of Australians now using the platform and it particularly appeals to the ‘under 30’ age group.
Users value its visual content, user friendliness, privacy and security features, and brands can get the most benefit by creating sharable content and harnessing new features like live video.
Becoming a thought leader using social media
Elsewhere, LinkedIn is the perfect platform for targeting a professional, older audience with the biggest user age bracket in Australia being 40 to 49 years. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is well-suited to long-form written content, meaning there is huge potential for profile building and thought leadership of individuals.
It is also well-known as the home of online resumes with resultant advantages for recruitment and building internal culture.
Each social media platform lends itself to a number of very specific purposes.
These are just four of the hundreds of options available.
Pinterest, for instance, is perfect for selling a product to an audience of adult women, Google+ has fantastic SEO implications, while Snapchat is great for engaging a young market and fostering brand loyalty, and the list goes on and on.
Like any other communications tactic, when using social media for business, it is vital to define your strategy at the very beginning to ensure you are committing your valuable resources to the most appropriate platforms for your business goals.
If you’re interested in social media training, contact Pesel & Carr for a free quote on (03) 9036 6900 or email email@example.com