When it comes to organic social media strategy, your business needs to post quality content on a regular, consistent basis. Each of the most popular social media platforms has its target audience, and certain types of content perform better on Twitter than, say, Instagram. We're here to help you figure out the right social media platforms for your business.
First things first. What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing (SMM) is, quite simply, the use of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to promote a product or service. This can:
- Introduce potential customers to your product or service
- Drive traffic to your website/e-commerce experience
- Increase awareness and your share of voice as an industry experts
- Engage with your user base to foster brand loyalty
- Establish an emotional connection between your small business and consumers (or other small business owners)
The 2020 rules of social media for business
1. Establish your audience
There are typically two core audience groups you need to know about before launching a social media marketing strategy. Is your brand talking directly to the consumer, or is your brand talking to other brands?
You need to consider your target demographic. It's not enough to say that anyone can buy your product or service. Your social media presence should also vary based on who actively uses which platform, and the purpose of these platforms.
- Business-To-Consumer (B2C) Marketing: This is when you use social media to speak to your target audience, inspire them, and drive brand awareness. For example, if you're trying to get people to visit the Maldives, your social media presence should make it clear—visually, emotionally, and through storytelling—that the Maldives is absolutely where you must go on your next vacation.
- Business-To-Business (B2B) Marketing: This is when your organic strategy is tailored toward other businesses, typically for thought leadership and connecting with other businesses. For example, if you're a startup, you'll use platforms like LinkedIn to share articles in your industry, connect with others in your field, and share case studies to bolster your agency's credibility.
2. Find Your Brand Voice
You can’t start writing high-quality marketing material for your business—on any channel—if you don’t know who you are. Organic marketing and paid advertising will fall flat without a strong command of your brand voice.
Zeroing in on your brand voice looks different for every type of company, but we find some thought-starters remain the same no matter who you’re talking to, like: “What is the purpose of your brand?”
Take that a step further: What do you bring to the market that has never existed before, or exists in a new way because of your business?
You’ll want your brand voice to be easy for consumers to pick up on. Ideally, your brand voice will echo the way your target audience wants to interact with your products.
For example, no one would shop for fun, glittery makeup from Glossier if they sounded like a serious, corporate robot on social media. Or, imagine if Arby’s went to Twitter with a brand voice like a Michelin-starred restaurant? Like in many facets of life, consistency is key.
Is your brand...
- Playful and fun?
- Informative and educational?
- Corporate and serious?
- Startup-y and casual?
Once you know how you want to sound online, you'll quickly know what fits and what doesn't in terms of language and platforms.
3. Pick the Right Social Media Platforms for Small Businesses
More likely than not, you interact with these platforms every single day on a personal level in 2020.
Here are some pros and cons of each platform:
Facebook at a Glance
Facebook is one of the oldest social media platforms. Since 2004, the essential purpose of Facebook was to connect with people around you, including family and friends. Through the years, Facebook has pivoted heavily to an ad-based revenue model, so paid advertising by brands has skyrocketed.
Active Monthly Users: 2.45 billion
- Over 1.5 billion users are engaging with the app daily
- 78% of American consumers say they’ve discovered products on Facebook
- Videos have a higher engagement rate on Facebook compared with image posts
- More Boomers and those born pre-1945 are joining Facebook than ever before
- Gen X is using Facebook less than Instagram, so targeting organic content to Millennials and Gen X
- If you don't have a strong video presence or budget, grassroots content can be overshadowed
Instagram at a Glance
Instagram was first designed as an image and video sharing platform. In the early days, that might've looked like posting your latte with the Valencia filter, but today, Instagram has become a hotspot for influencer and experiential marketing. Brands use Instagram posts and Instagram stories to engage with their audience on a daily, even moment-to-moment basis.
Monthly Users: 1 billion
- Extremely visual! If you have a good-looking product, influencers will often come to you for advertising opportunities.
- 83% on Instagram users say they discover new products and services on Instagram
- Video content and video sharing performs well on Instagram
- Algorithmic patterns are hard to crack into
- If your brand grows rapidly, you'll need someone to focus exclusively on IG growth
- Bots, fake followers and shady engagement tactics are prevalent
LinkedIn at a Glance
LinkedIn is the social media network that professionals use to grow their businesses, network, recruit talent, and share thought leadership. It’s a place where salespeople interact with prospective clients and employers interact with potential employees.
Active Users: 660 million in 2020, according to The Social Media Manager's Guide to LinkedIn
- This is the place for promoting B2B content, as 97% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn as a tool in their content marketing arsenal
- Consistent posting shows commitment to the space
- It's just not the place for real B2C engagement
- Limited on the type of content that succeeds
Twitter at a Glance
Twitter essentially functions as a search engine and news aggregator in today's world. You "follow" personalities, topics, hashtags, and accounts that are relevant to your interests and engage with their content via commenting and retweeting.
Monthly Active Users: 330 million (2019 data)
Tweets Sent Per Day: 500 million (2019 data)
- Viral content is distributed and consumed by millions around the globe
- Link directly to web pages and blog posts and boost reach through hashtags and trending topics
- 40% of Twitter users reported purchasing something after seeing it on Twitter
- Real-time tweets establish your brand as an active industry authority
- Time-consuming to stay engaged
- Constantly changing trending topics
- Some topics are land mines, so brands must step carefully
Keep Watching These Social Networks
We could keep going, but until you beef up your organic presence on these mainstay social media sites, we recommend keeping it simple. Others like Pinterest, Reddit, and WhatApp also have taken their slice of the marketing pie. That said, keep your eye on these big players:
- YouTube videos have been a steady source for content since 2005, and it’s the second largest search engine behind Google. That's 15 years of staying power. According to Hootsuite, 73% of adults in the U.S. engage with YouTube.
- TikTok is massive, culminating in over 500 million monthly active users around the globe. Keep your eye on TikTok as growing challenges in the US market could lead to a dramatic shift in the platform over the coming months.
- Snapchat continues to appeal highly to the 13-29 age demographic, and in late 2019, they reported they have 210 million daily users.