Facebook and Instagram are towering social media giants that also serve as incredible marketing platforms. Social marketing, however, is not just the face-off between these two. Many other social media channels are popping up, while other established networks are also attempting to steal the show. The latter have unparalleled reach, but their success is far from guaranteed.
Due to the rising competition and complex technical dimension, staying on top of the ever-changing social media game can be a daunting challenge.
A plan of attack
Cost-effective social channels empower startups to overcome two of the chief obstacles on the road to success: Limited manpower and constrained budgets. A barrier to entry is low and the playing field is leveled. This is not to say that choices do not matter. On the contrary, they can make or break the whole social media marketing strategy.
First off, note that spreading yourself too thin is not the most efficient approach. Trying to make the most of all platforms tends to bring only mediocre results. Thus, instead of the scattergun tactic, embrace a targeted and focused plan of action. Save work hours, trim your payroll, and utilize platforms that give you substantial ROI.
After all, each channel is used in different ways and by various groups of people. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions or shortcuts to greatness here. You may already feel overwhelmed and that is fine. Many other companies seek social media experts from agencies like Jason Hornung to help them navigate the labyrinth of decisions.
Nevertheless, it always pays off to educate yourself.
Name of the social game
The key to making the right call is figuring out your target audience and the networks they use the most. So, conduct a thorough research. Do not fret if you are off to a slow start: Every little bit of spadework will pay dividends in the long run.
Snapchat, for instance, is a real gold mine for businesses that target millennials. To capture their imagination, brands offer behind-the-scenes photos, engaging video content, and feature interviews with prominent figures.
Furthermore, according to Statista.com, men and women between the ages of 25-54 form the bulk of all Facebook users. Because it captures a slightly older market, this channel might not be the primary platform for companies that cater solely to millennials.
Instagram may sound like a no-brainer as it is used by 500 million people worldwide most of whom run it every single day. However, the latest algorithm update changed the way in which posts are presented. They no longer appear in a chronological order, meaning brands lose some of the control over their branding efforts.
Besides, as Forbes points out, Instagram still has a smaller user database than Facebook.
Amalgam of moving parts
This brings us to the point that the target audience is not the only element that influences your decision-making. The aforementioned Instagram, despite the latest technical hullabaloo, is a sound choice for businesses that post a lot of visual content in order to foster a loyal following.
Then again, there is also image-heavy Pinterest to consider. It attracts one group of users, in particular, women the age of 18-49 and it is teeming with brands that offer products in the food, fashion, décor, and art sector. They do not have much use for platforms like LinkedIn, which facilitates business networking and job searches.
As you can see, the choices are never straightforward and answers are rarely cut and dried. Finally, the list of social networks goes on and encompasses some lesser-known, industry-specific, and even obscure examples. Why would you bother with them? Well, being an early adopter of a new platform can turn out to be something that launches your businesses into the stratosphere.
As we have already said, it all comes down to discovering where your company fits in the market. This should be your guiding principle if you want to make the social media work for you.