There is no question – virtually every brand, no matter its audience, needs to be on social media. A social media presence has become a requirement for any legitimate brand to indicate its credibility.
Today, the questions brands need to address are: which platforms are best for my brand and how can they encourage growth? To answer these questions, marketers need to start by determining their goals, the audience they want to reach and the resources available to maintain an engaged social media presence.
To determine your target social media channels, start by considering your goals and how each platform can help you accomplish them. Is your goal to increase brand awareness? Well-established platforms with large active userbases like Facebook are better for reaching more people and getting your brand’s message to a wide audience.
Are you looking to generate more leads through your social media platforms? For B2B marketers, LinkedIn is the undisputed champion of lead generation. According to a study of over 5,000 businesses, the visitor-to-lead conversion rate from LinkedIn traffic was 277% higher than Twitter and LinkedIn.
For brands selling products to consumers, however, Instagram and Pinterest have shown soaring success rates. Both are visual channels that offer social commerce features including product tags and links to e-commerce stores, allowing customers to shop right on the platform. In fact, 89% of Pinterest users say they are on the platform for purchase inspiration. Before investing in a social media channel, you want to make sure your audience is on it.
Next, marketers need to uncover where their target audience is most active. There are three sources of information that give insight into your audience’s habits:
There is a wealth of information available from organizations such as Pew Research Center on the demographic makeup of social media channels. For example, 67% and 62% of adults between the ages of 18 and 29 use Instagram and Snapchat, respectively. Conversely, Facebook draws a larger range of ages, with 68% of people ages 50 to 64 using the platform. These insights can inform whether your target audience frequents the channels your team is engaging with or if you need to shift your strategy.
Another method to find your audience is performing a competitor analysis. On which channels are your competitors actively posting, and where do they get the most engagement? Make sure to pay attention to active channels, as an account with 500,000 followers that hasn’t posted in two years will not provide useful insights. Make note of the channels where competitors are receiving the most frequent and high-quality engagement.
This one might be obvious: look at the insights for your own social media channels! Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, provide numbers for page visitors and engagement rates. If one channel has more activity, it may be worth pooling your resources to focus on your brand’s presence on that platform.
Besides the billion-user social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, there are dozens of social media platforms available that cater to niche, highly-engaged groups. Reddit, for example, allows users to search for topics and keywords and join conversations. Although most Reddit communities will flag self-advertising posts, some brands have had success creating genuine connections and driving traffic.
Another channel to consider is Quora, which boasts 300+ million active users. Although Quora also discourages promotional content, brands can answer questions and discuss relevant topics to establish themselves as an authority in their field. If these channels host an active community of people interested in a topic related to your organization, engaging with them could return huge results.
It’s important not to spread your marketing team too thin. After determining which channels are most useful for your brand, ascertain the resources available to engage on social media. How much time does your team have available to create the best social media content and monitor channels? If you want to engage on visual platforms like Instagram, do you have graphic design support? It’s better to have one channel with quality content than to spread yourself thin across six channels.
Certain types of social media content also work better on certain platforms. If your business produces long-form videos, YouTube can be a great platform to grow your brand and educate people about your company. Shorter videos and images would fit well on Instagram or Snapchat. Blogs and articles fit well on LinkedIn with its native article posting feature.
Creating high-quality content for social media requires resources. Instead of spreading yourself thin across several channels, focus on creating fantastic content for the platforms that bring the most value to your brand.
Ready to form a social media strategy for your B2B brand? Contact us today.
Theresa Colston is an Account Executive at Mulberry Marketing Communications, an award-winning full-service B2B communications agency based in Chicago, London and Australia. She enjoys developing creative marketing ideas and building connections to drive results for clients.