There’s an old marketing rule that states that in order to connect with your customers you must first find out where they spend their time. Even though the majority of users browse social media for personal and emotive reasons there is also a large demographic that is strongly influenced by others via social media channels. Remember that the choice to engage in social media may not be yours to make as conversations regarding your business are likely to be taking place regardless, steering them is wise. Although the approach is slightly different, traditional marketing strategies can work as well as new approaches designed for this new mass market medium. You will notice that successful social media companies have all devised a way of monetizing their service, because of this there is a distinct difference in approach between free marketing strategies and paid ones.
Although they all come under the banner of “Social Media” there are some very important differences between the major players that will determine the marketing strategies implemented. Here are brief summaries of the most popular social media channels available today:
Facebook is currently king of the social media family and was an early innovator in the market. Free access for personal and business users and a massive user base means that the reach possible through Facebook is second to none. Marketing on Facebook can be very successful and brand “tribes” have been created by the likes of Apple and other leading brands. For small business owners a free business page can be used for customers to share and like pages. By having customers share your page it is possible to quickly build a type of referral engine where people are more likely to engage with businesses shared by trusted others. Facebook also gives the business owner opportunities to keep customers up to date with the launch of new products and offers.
As well as the free possibilities Facebook offers it also has a paid marketing service where the business owner can “boost” posts and create adverts. These adverts can be allocated budgets and appear on potential customers feeds. An added benefit to the Facebook paid service is the ability to control who sees your add demographically and regionally. This allows for highly targetted campaigns much like Google’s own AdWords
Instagram has come along way since being somewhere to display your family photos. As a visual channel it is ideal for showing off products and the quality of photography on show has rapidly increased in line with it’s marketing potential. Following on Facebook’s coat tails Instagram now offers promoted posts and advertising opportunities that can spread your business presence to targetted audiences and allow you to display your advert on other pages. This allows you to market your business on the pages of highly popular users already catering to your target demographic.
Pinterest has been growing steadily and is now a powerful visual channel for displaying and spreading product information. With a high majority of its users female Pinterest is an ideal marketing channel for fashion, homewares and other female dominated markets. Users can pin things they like from other users creating a complex web of items often organised in virtual “mood boards” in the users dashboard.
Again, much like the other social media platforms discussed before Pinterest is monetized through a paid promotion service. This allows users to promote posts to other users not yet subscribed to their channels. With over 70 million users Pinterest can be an incredible marketing opportunity for businesses that have highly visual products.
The value of Twitter as a marketing medium is much debated. Whether it is worth you using it for your business depends on who you wish to target. Twitter tends to be popular with professionals and celebrities, and is often used to discuss real time news and events. Larger companies can use Twitter to create brand hype, communicate with customers and announce new products and offers. Again Twitter has a promoted post facility allowing widespread dissemination of tweets to targetted demographics. Twitter should be considered for certain products and services which require “getting the message out there” to prospective customers you know are listening.