Love them or loathe them, social media channels are here to stay. Having a social media presence can most certainly help your business to thrive, but as a content creator, knowing what channels to prioritise, and how to reach your target audience, is not always as straightforward as it may initially seem.
We’ve listed the six social media channels that your business should consider using over the next 12 months. However, if you get to the end and still have questions, feel free to drop us a line; we’re always happy to have a chat with anyone who is interested in learning how to use social channels to meet their marketing goals.
Year of launch: 2010
If you’re a fan of imagery in any form, it’s likely you’ll already be familiar with Instagram. With over 800 million active users (as of November 2017), the image-hosting giant, which is home to countless cat pictures and #nofilter gym selfies, is more than just a place to upload images to make your followers envious. While it is, of course, used for that purpose by millions of people, it has also helped numerous businesses grow their reputations and showcase their products.
For example, any number of clothing and beauty brands – Everlane, 11 Degrees and Juvia’s Place, to name just a few – have built huge followings on Instagram by posting quality photographs on a regular basis. By pushing out images that showcase the brand’s unique offering, and speaking directly to an engaged audience that is only too willing to consume and share the message, it’s possible to garner a colossal following within months, if not weeks.
By using appropriate hashtags, collaborating with influential people, and having a distinct personality, Instagram can be used as a very effective sales channel. Success won’t come instantly, but a defined content plan, coupled with the patience required to build an audience, could get thousands – if not millions – of people interested in what your business does. If your business specialises in selling a product that lends itself to being photographed, then you really should be attempting to utilise the power of Instagram.
Year of launch: 2006
All businesses should be using Twitter, even if it’s just to keep on top of news and views. For many of its 330 million active users (as of November 2017), Twitter is the first port of call when it comes to catching up with current events, and is also the most convenient way to see what influential people think about the day’s proceedings.
Donald Trump, for example, uses it as the primary medium for his political discourse, and that’s because it allows for concise communications to be sent to millions of people instantaneously. If you have something to say that will not negatively impact your business, Twitter will allow you to get your message out quickly. Though it may end up being seen by relatively few people if your following is quite small, there’s always the chance that it could capture the imagination and end up going viral.
Twitter is the ideal channel if you want to jump on trends and hashtags. If you already have content that is relevant to a trending hashtag – #TuesdayThoughts or #WednesdayWisdom, for example – then adding the hashtag to your post can help it be seen by people that would otherwise be oblivious to your brand. The key to Twitter is posting often enough to remain relevant, but not so much that your audience becomes overwhelmed. Only push out content that is relevant and valuable.
Twitter is also perfect if you want to communicate with people directly. It allows for issues and queries to be resolved immediately, and if you’ve developed a good rapport with your followers, they will be more likely to share your posts. This will help your message spread, and will hopefully lead to more people being aware of what your company does.
And, as a final point, getting a little blue verified tick next to your brand’s name may be tricky, but it’s something worth pursuing. This tick will show consumers that you are trustworthy, and will emphasise your business credentials. While not the be all and end all, achieving this will make consumers far more likely to trust what you’re saying and what you’re selling.
Year of launch: 2004
For a number of years, Facebook has been the social media boss. And, in many ways, it still is. It has over two billion active monthly users worldwide. With more than one quarter of the world’s population having an account, if you want to reach swarms of people, Facebook could well be what your business needs.
This is just a personal opinion, but I’d say that nearly every company could benefit from having a Facebook page. Not only will it bolster your SEO if updated regularly with interesting and relevant content, but it is yet another way to reach your target audience quickly. If your business creates bespoke images, videos and blogs regularly, you should ensure everything is pushed out via your Facebook page (as well as your other social channels).
If you have some budget to pay for advertising, Facebook can help you target specific people with particular pieces of content. If used correctly, this can help your message reach swathes of people without having to break the bank. Also, it’s perfect if you have engaged employees that are willing to push out your content to help it gain traction. People tend to trust content that is posted by individuals rather than a company, so by getting your employees on board, you could significantly improve your marketing success.
Year of launch: 2011
You can be forgiven for thinking that Snapchat, with its disappearing photos, is not really the ideal channel for marketing a business. However, many organisations are taking to Snapchat as a means of reaching their audience, and it looks like it’s only going to become more popular in 2018.
If your business appeals to a young demographic – around 71 per cent of Snapchat’s 178 million active daily users are under the age of 34 – then using Snapchat could help you reach your audience. The key is being interesting, original, and memorable. You want your messages to stand out, and that means showcasing your business’ personality, and refraining from doing anything that could be considered dull or boring.
We also think that Snapchat should be used as more than a marketing tool. In fact, we have written a blog stating why more businesses should be looking at Snapchat as a way of enhancing their ability to deal with consumer enquiries and problems.
Data suggests Snapchat is used by approximately 60 per cent of all smartphone owners, so if you want to communicate with your audience instantaneously, it’s certainly worth considering Snapchat’s ability to reach engaged people quickly.
Year of launch: 2002
LinkedIn markets itself as a social media channel for professionals. If you’re looking for a job, need to hire engaged professionals, or want to post something positive about your company’s efforts, this should be your go-to channel. LinkedIn has 530 million active users worldwide, and claims that it is the number one channel for lead generation. It also states that four out of five people signed up to the site actively drive business decisions, so if you’re looking to reach influential people, LinkedIn is perfect.
LinkedIn is ideal if you want to engage with individuals, rather than a company’s account. You can build a robust professional network quickly, and if you target the right people, it can help develop strong and fruitful business relationships in no time at all.
Another primary plus point is that it allows people to supply business recommendations and positive testimonials. Accruing these will help to enhance your credibility, and could subsequently encourage potential clients to work with you.
When it comes to LinkedIn – actually, this is the case with all of your social channels – you need to ensure you post quality content regularly. This will help people get a better understanding of what you do, why you do it, and how you can help them do their job better. Remember that your network will not necessarily require your services right away, but when they do start looking for assistance with a problem you have the capacity to help with, make sure yours is the first company that springs to mind.
Year of launch: 2005
While some may not regard YouTube as a social media site per se, to leave such an influential channel out of this article would be a major oversight. YouTube is an incredibly effective outlet, boasting around 1.5 billion active users, and when used correctly it can completely transform a business’ fortunes.
Back in 2006, blender retailer Blendtec managed to capture the imaginations of millions of people with its Will It Blend? campaign. Designed to showcase the power of its blenders, the company has managed to garner 880,000 YouTube subscribers, nearly all of whom want to see various items destroyed in a blender.
The company’s owner and founder Tim Dickson does the blending, and has become an internet star because of it. The videos are slickly edited, use a lot of slow motion, are backed by cheesy music, and take place on a set straight out of a 1960s infomercial; the company doesn’t take its videos too seriously, and they are all the better for it.
To date, Blendtec’s products have demolished an iPad, super glue, a skeleton and a bunch of glow sticks, amongst other things. Altogether, the channel has accumulated more than 284 million views, which is pretty incredible when you consider that a blender is hardly the sexiest of products. However, this just goes to show that a good idea, on the right platform, can make a huge impact.
YouTube is a great place to host videos, regardless of what they are, but to stand out you will have to do something exceptional. There are more than seven billion videos on YouTube – almost one for every person on the planet – so there’s a lot of competition. However, if you have a good concept, dedication to the idea, and a robust marketing strategy, you could make a name for yourself quickly.
To understand how to plan your social media content, we’re hosting a free webinar on 21 February. You’ll learn how to successfully plan content to get results, so register today.