Social Media Strategy: Social Channels Explained


There are a lot of options when
it comes to choosing the right social media platform to use for
your inbound marketing efforts. To help you decide which
channels are the best fit for your social strategy, let’s
walk through the basics and benefits of each of them.
Let’s start with the giant: Facebook. You may have heard the
adage that if Facebook were a country it would be the largest
on earth. That’s because it currently boasts over two
billion users – far more than the largest country, China, with
1.4 billion people living within its borders. It’s likely the
majority of people you know are on the social platform. And even
more important to your business, it’s not just for personal use
anymore. According to the Pew Research Center, more
than 67% of Americans are using Facebook as their primary source
of news. Millions of companies use Facebook Business Pages to
share organic news, events, talk to customers and manage highly
targeted advertising campaigns. This means Facebook is
potentially going to be one of the most important platforms to
your social media strategy. There are two types of Facebook
pages: a personal page and a business page. You might have
heard organic reach is better on a personal page, which is true,
but there are several reasons you should use a Facebook
business page for your company instead. First off, Facebook
requires businesses to use business pages and can shut down
pages that do not comply with their policy. Personal pages
have a 5,000 person friend limit, whereas business pages
can have millions of followers. Having a business page also
gives you access to analytics (they call them Insights) and
the ability to correctly categorize your company for
search, add a mission statement, a product catalog, awards, and
give your customers the chance to give reviews. But the most
important reason for you to have a Facebook Business page is for
advertising. Facebook advertising allows you to
hypertarget the audiences you care most about, including your
own prospect lists so you can directly deliver content of
value. You can also use Facebook Advertising across their other
services – Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Adding
a Facebook pixel on your website even helps you retarget those
visitors with ads on Facebook. On Facebook, you can publish a
variety of content including text and photo posts, carousel
photo posts, and video posts. You can even do live Facebook
videos and share “Stories,” microcontent designed to
disappear after 24 hours, similar to Snapchat and
Instagram Stories. With over 1.3 billion users, YouTube is the
second largest social network and, interestingly enough,
it’s also the second largest search engine in the world –
behind Google, of course. To give you a sense of its
importance, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded
to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion
videos are watched on Youtube every single day. It’s almost
mind boggling to think about! Google reports that 6 out of 10
people prefer online video platforms to live TV, which
means, in many ways, you have the potential to reach an even
bigger audience for a more affordable cost than on
television. On mobile, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds in
the US than any cable network. When it comes to marketing on
the platform, YouTube offers a variety of interesting
possibilities. Remember how I mentioned it was the second
largest search engine? That means not only does it help with
SEO, but YouTube also has some of the highest referral rates of
all the social platforms. Also important, the platform has high
conversion rates when it comes to paid advertising. If you
offer a complex product or service, having great videos can
help sway prospects into a purchase. Creating video isn’t
always easy or free, but the benefits and the statistics far
outweigh the cost of not participating at all. So what
can you do on YouTube? Not only can you host original content
and have channel subscribers, it’s a great place to
syndicate content and to consider advertising, including
interstitial advertising – short clips that appear before a
video. Approximately 20% of the people who start your
video will leave after the first 10 seconds. All the more reason
to consider allocating resources to create great content. I
mentioned Instagram already, but let’s give it a longer look.
It’s owned by Facebook, but the audiences and purposes are a
bit different. It’s the third largest social media platform
and the fastest growing. Instagram is a photo- and
video-based social network, and users follow individuals and
brands to be delighted by interesting visuals.
Instagram is a younger network, with 90% of its audience under
the age of 35, but even that is shifting as more and more
individuals adopt the platform. While the primary functionality
is sharing photos and videos, there is another feature rising
in popularity. Like the Snapchat platform, Instagram [Slide 17]
Stories enable the sharing of quick, “instant” photos and
videos, often with fun filters and visual features. Stories
disappear after twenty-four hours for viewers but remain
stored in an archive for you to see or repost again. You’ll
want to convert a personal Instagram account to an
Instagram business profile to include a phone number and
address in your bio and enable the “shop” button. And to do
that, you’re required to have a Facebook Business page, which
you will also need to take advantage of advertising on this
channel. Instagram is important because it has very deep
engagement, especially for brands. Over 80% of
users follow at least one brand account. Forrester
tells us that engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times
higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84
times higher than Twitter. That means advertising on Instagram
is going to be even more successful for your business.
Sounds like a great reason to use Instagram, doesn’t it?
Let’s move on to Twitter, the popular microblogging network.
Twitter is the ultimate by-the-minute news network.
It’s a place where you can see what’s happening in that very
moment around the world, whether it’s someone feeling an
earthquake in China or watching a football game in Boston. Users
share messages of up to 280 characters, called “tweets,”
which can include photos, videos, links, and animated
.gifs. To give you a sense of the volume of information
shared, there are more than 500 million tweets
sent every day. Twitter is a fantastic place for you to
discover what’s trending with your industry, customers,
employees, partners, and prospects. You should be sharing
content frequently – more frequently than on other
platforms, in fact – and you should be engaging regularly
with your audience. Twitter reports that 80% of
their advertisers’ inbound social customer service requests
happen on Twitter. It’s also a place where people frequently
express both pleasure and dissatisfaction about products
and services, making it a channel your business can’t
afford to ignore. Twitter also owns Periscope, a live streaming
video channel. Over 350,000 hours of live video are
streamed on the network every day. There are several forms of
advertising on Twitter, including ads in the news
stream, with trending topics, promoted profiles, and a lot
more. But one of the best uses of Twitter is the organic
networking you can do directly with your audience, engaging in
conversation that helps build loyalty and trust. LinkedIn is
the platform most business-to-business, or B2B,
marketers are familiar with. It used to be a network primarily
used for recruiting, but these days it’s also becoming a
platform to find the latest news and to stay networked with
people all over the world. Now users can share status updates
much in the same way as they do with Facebook, with photo or
video posts that can be shared, liked, and commented on. [Slide
25]There are several reasons to use LinkedIn. It’s a great way
to look up individuals you might be meeting with, or to find out
more about a prospect you’re interested in reaching out to.
Additionally, it’s a great place to build thought
leadership, to offer value through targeted advertising, to
network in groups, and to share content that will drive links
back into your website properties. Pinterest is a
channel many people think of as only for business-to-consumer,
or B2C, but there are a myriad of ways B2B companies can take
advantage of the platform. If you aren’t familiar with
Pinterest, it’s essentially a series of shared, often thematic
bulletin boards where users can “pin” images, video, and
links that resonate with them. What is unique to Pinterest is
the average life of a pin is over three months,
whereas on Twitter, a post’s life is a matter of minutes and
on Facebook, maybe an hour. Pinterest pins build SEO with
referral traffic – referral traffic that can directly turn
into leads and sales. And while women used to make up the
biggest audience for Pinterest, that is changing. 40% of new
signups are now from men. So, how can your company use
Pinterest? Create a board with links to your products and
services. Or a board with your blog posts. Or a board
demonstrating your company’s thought leadership and
awareness. Your HR team can benefit from a board detailing
great things about working at your company. Consider creating
boards for case studies, employee stories, white papers,
or videos. The possibilities are truly endless. Snapchat is a
channel that lost a bit of market share to Instagram when
Instagram Stories launched, essentially copying the Snapchat
business model. But it still has a strong user base, and it’s
moving into areas like augmented reality, which may have exciting
applications. Like Instagram Stories, Snapchat stories
disappear after 24 hours. There are a bevy of filters users can
employ to liven up video and images. Today, brands can
advertise with stories more dynamic and longer lasting than
personal snaps. The Snapchat audience skews young,
with its largest demographic between the ages of 12-24. Whew!
There’s a lot to learn about all of the social media
channels! Do you need to be on all of them? Maybe not, but
consider that not everyone gets their news and information in
the same way. You might read online newspapers while I am
looking at trending topics on Twitter. Everyone consumes
information differently, in the time and place of their
choosing. You want to be found in as many of those places as
possible. But the good news is that you can start small and
focused, then build as your team builds and your resource pool
grows. And don’t be afraid to create profiles and test out the
channels! They can often seem more overwhelming than they are,
and once you dip your toe in the pool, the water gets warmer and
warmer.

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