I know what you’re thinking. Facebook is for ever-so slightly annoying holiday selfies, Instagram just makes my photos look pretty and Twitter….well, we’re all a bit scared of Twitter! And the list goes on – Peach, SnapChat, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn. Where do you start? Should you start? And how on earth do you keep on top of these feeds with their seemingly ever-changing parameters?
Should I use any of these channels for a small business? Are they relevant? The answer is: absolutely! It has recently been reported that over 70% of companies plan to increase their digital marketing budget this year. With 1.28 billion people on Facebook alone, social media offers a cost-effective and essential tool to incorporate into your marketing mix for both B2B & B2C companies. However, as more and more companies and individuals pay homage to this Aladdin’s Cave, it is vital that you provide quality feeds that drive genuine audience engagement.
This is not a ‘stab in the dark’ activity. Social media must be integrated into your over-arching marketing strategy. Who is your target audience? What can you offer them? What are you hoping to achieve? And, therefore which channels are most suited to your business? Don’t be overwhelmed by variety of platforms available. It is far better to choose one or two and consistently manage them well than struggle to keep up with multiple feeds.
Look at the demographics and engagement for each platform, to decide where your brand sits. LinkedIn typically lends itself to B2B. According to IT World, peak LinkedIn user times tend to be just before and after the working day. With their heavily pictorial content and user-friendly syncing options, Facebook and Instagram lean towards B2C. Social Media Today reports that Facebook engagement rates are approximately 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays with peak activity times at around 1pm and 3pm.
As with any other traditional marketing methodology, you need to be consistent with your brand’s tone of voice, follow your strategy and consistently uphold brand pillars. To stand out from the crowd, you will need carefully selected stories, some self-produced content, and a largely organically grown audience that you are able to personally interact with on a regular basis. This may take more time and measuring ROI can at times be tricky, but the end result is a loyal audience and authentic social media presence that seamlessly ties in to your brand’s marketing story.