Whether you are just getting started out in marketing or an experienced professional, there’s no doubt you understand how important it is to include social media as part of a successful marketing strategy. With over 45 percent of the world's population using social media, brands and marketers must focus their efforts to create engaging and actionable content to attract and entice their target audience.
When determining which site to focus your efforts on, it’s essential to first understand that, like users, each social media platform has a specific voice. Therefore, content that’s shared must be tailored to meet the voice of that social networking site to find traction and attract the interest of its users.
Which Social Networking Sites Are Important to Marketers?
At a mere 16 years old, Facebook is considered the grandfather of social networking sites (sorry, Myspace) and is often the first choice for brands who have something to say or sell.
Launched in 2004, Facebook claims the market share of social media users with over two billion and focuses on community building and information sharing. In recent years, Facebook activity has moved beyond the days of posting pictures of cute dogs and high school yearbook photos to a more robust social media platform.
Marketers now have numerous options to connect with an audience in the form of live streams, groups, local marketplaces, stories, dedicated shops, and more.
With more than one billion active users and 72 percent of them reporting to have made purchasing decisions based upon viewed content, Instagram is an essential weapon in today's marketing arsenal.
The Instagram app began as a social media platform for artists to share their content and quickly adopted many who wanted a more straightforward and visual-heavy focus to share their content. The social networking site has grown since its inception in 2010, and like Facebook (which owns Instagram), now offers a variety of ways for marketers to join in conversations and reach their target audience.
Centered around career building, networking, and sharing with other business professionals, many marketers tend to forget the power that comes from active involvement in LinkedIn.
Boasting over 600 million users, this social media platform provides many options for marketers to reach their target demographic. As with all social networking sites, the marketing approach must be adjusted seamlessly with the user's expectations as they navigate the site.
Little to no obvious eCommerce is promoted; yet, LinkedIn is an excellent way for brands to share their knowledge, connections, stories, and innovation through posts, articles, group participation, and more.
While Twitter doesn't have the growth of newer social networking sites like TikTok, it's benefits cannot be discounted by marketers—especially those whose demographics cater to politics, events, journalism, and small businesses.
Twitter's algorithms are less complicated than other sites, and sharing is much simpler, but mastering this social media platform can be a challenge. Like Facebook, Twitter offers reporting. An effective strategy on this site can be a gold mine for savvy marketers.
Unlike other social networking sites, Pinterest is unique because more than 80 percent of its users are female. This social media platform focuses on sharing ideas and acts as an interactive vision or bulletin board where users can gather and compile their favorite recipes, shoes, bathroom renovations, and so much more.
Pinterest offers less opportunity for discussion among users but more chance for marketers to guide potential customers through the sales funnel to website conversions. It’s also the go-to for eCommerce businesses targeting female shoppers.
It’s all videos, all the time on this social media platform. While numbers vary slightly, it’s reported that one billion hours of YouTube videos are viewed every day, and over 75 percent of those viewers are men.
YouTube offers videos of everything from fixing a clogged drain to quantum theory, and there’s no limit to the creative ways marketers can use their skills for brand promotion and reach. Because videos often get the most engagement on social networking sites, YouTube is the starting point for brands that rely heavily on video marketing.
The baby of social networking sites, TikTok has become a powerhouse since it merged with Music.ly in 2018 and is close to hitting the one billion user mark. While controversy has followed TikTok recently with government threats of bans, it’s doubtful this app will soon go away.
Initially adopted by Millennials and Generation Z, TikTok has successfully merged social and video that enables users to flex their creativity by creating mini-videos with popular music tracks.
Telegram is a messaging app available on multiple platforms, known for its speed, security, and privacy. It allows users to send messages, photos, videos, and files up to 2GB in size, and supports voice and video calls. Telegram also features secret chats, self-destructing messages, and group chats with up to 200,000 members. With a focus on encryption and two-factor authentication, it has gained popularity as a secure alternative to other messaging apps. Telegram's unique feature is its open-source API and support for multiple accounts on the same device.
Reddit is a platform where registered users can participate in various forums and discuss almost anything, from news to pop culture, technology, and more, including some NSFW content. It's also a social news aggregation and discussion platform where users can submit, vote on, and comment on posts. Reddit is divided into many subreddits, each focused on a specific topic, making it a popular source of news, discussions, and memes. Its community-driven approach allows users to upvote or downvote content, determining its visibility. In simpler terms, Reddit is a platform where you can discuss and share content on various topics, from serious news to funny memes.
Quora is an online platform where users can ask questions and receive answers from other users. The website covers a wide range of topics and allows users to follow topics, people, and questions of their interest. It has become a popular resource for knowledge-sharing and information. Quora also has a premium subscription called Quora+, which provides exclusive access to content from select creators and an ad-free experience.
Skype is a communication app that lets you make free video, audio, and text calls with others on the app. It also has features like screen sharing and file sharing. You can use it to keep in touch with friends or work with colleagues remotely. While some features like calling mobile numbers may cost money, Skype is a popular choice for international communication because it is accessible and convenient. It is owned by Microsoft and is available on multiple platforms.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform where users can share multimedia content such as photos, videos, and GIFs. It also allows users to follow others and see their content on their dashboards. It's popular for its creative community where people can share their art, photography, and writing. Unlike other blogging platforms, Tumblr is free to use and provides extensive customization features. However, it's not suitable for long-form content and cannot be monetized. Tumblr is a great way to drive traffic to your personal blog and reach a wider audience.
Medium is an online blogging platform created in 2012 that allows users to write and publish articles on various topics. It has become one of the most popular platforms for publishing articles, with about 100 million monthly visitors. Medium is known for its focus on storytelling and high-quality content. Users can write mostly informational blogs and share their perspectives with a larger audience. The platform offers features like curated collections and personalized recommendations to help readers discover new content.
Reaching Your Audience in Various Regions
Depending upon the target audience, marketers need to focus their energies on the social media platform that provides the most accessible pathways of connection to their future customers. It’s necessary to understand each site’s nuances and numbers, as well as how those customers can act based on content shared. A brick and mortar boutique with 10,000 followers on Instagram may be killing it with hashtags, but with 70 percent of Instagram users being outside the United States without a robust eCommerce shop, that boutique is ultimately losing out on customers in their backyard.
Marketers must consider the activities of the brands they represent, and then create and share content based upon the reach of social networking. Understanding the following is crucial as user numbers increase on social media:
- Where your potential customers are
- How your target audience interacts with social content
- What catches the attention of your target audience
- Why a potential customer might click through to your website or shop
What’s more, the following strategies will enable marketers to connect with people and achieve brand success:
- Paid ads
- Hashtag analysis
- Understanding SEO
- Selling without giving the perception of selling
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