There’s a lot of talk about social media and social media management. Sometimes when you look from outside in, it feels like the only type of marketing is social media marketing, but does that mean that the fact that you’re actively pursuing social media guarantee you will have success? It does, if you also believe that buying a Superman cape from the dollar store will give you the ability to fly.
There are so many pitfalls in social media management that to do it well will take a lifetime of learning and practice, which is why there are paid social media professionals. If you are not ‘au fait’ with the trends and mechanics of social media management you can be missing out on marketing to the biggest interested audience there is, effectively handing your business over to the competition.
WeAreSocial Singapore conducted some research into the global reach of social media and to answer that question, we include some of their findings.
In the snapshot above it’s easy to see how social media is present in pandemic proportions. Half of the world’s population are internet users, with one third of them being active in social media. That’s a huge number of potential customers in an easily accessible base; in fact way too huge to ignore.
What is more impressive than the penetration of social media, is the sustained year on year growth it continues to generate. A 17% growth in number of active mobile social users equates to an increase of 283 million people in one year, and the growth does not seem to be able to be halted. Social media marketing is no longer an option in your portfolio, the only variable is how well you do it.
One of the ways you can significantly increase your chances of success in social media marketing, is to use the right platform for your demographic.
Comscore produced a graph showing the use of each social media platform for Millennials and it shows which are the clear winners:
Facebook is a clear winner if your market is in the Millennial age range, but Snapchat also has a clear advantage for monthly usage per visitor. Knowing these two facts can help you tailor your marketing campaign to the right platform, in the right way, making your marketing dollars much more effective.
This graph shows how social media is received by country. If you have an international business, you need to know which platform best reaches out to your customer, and this can give you a clue. On the other hand, this data can also show you which country is best to move in to when you have mastered the marketing domination of one particular platform. Once you work out how one type of social media works, it can translate to the same platform in another country. It makes expanding your company more simple and more fruitful.
If you take the time to look, you can find all the analytics you need to make the right choice of platform for your chosen demographic.
Social media is not a fad. It’s here to stay, and is here as a strong marketing medium. Ignoring it and hoping somehow you’ll make a great impression by firing random posts at any media is not a strategy. To make the most of it you need to track the social media landscape because you can’t use what you don’t understand.
The important things to track are:
All the social media platforms have the ability to offer you analytics that let you look into the people that use it. Most of them can break it down into gender, age, location, how long they spend on the platform, engagement habits and where they go to, or come from. These analytics give you an intimate eye into your consumers thinking. You can see everything you need to know to understand which platform they gather and engage on.
Take a little time to get to know your audience and really ‘see’ their habits. It’s easy to get distracted by big numbers that don’t matter – like ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. Not all of these are true. They can be bought or manipulated which makes them unreliable. It’s the same with the amount of users on a platform. For instance, Twitter has 645,750,000 signups, but only 215,000,000 active users – and ‘active’ counts as visiting at least once a month. When you looking for the places people hang out, always make sure you are analyzing active users, and what makes them count as ‘active’, because only really active users are any use to your marketing.
To give you an idea of how active each platform is, Search Engine Journal created an excellent infographic, where this graph comes from:
Your customers are searching social media to find products to buy, or at least learn more about them. This opportunity for searching has driven all the platforms to use some kind of search engine recognition. The platforms do not need to rank keywords, only to produce the items looked for, or a selection of possible items that fit the criteria.
For decades Google has dominated search functions, but with each platform having their own ability to draw up acceptable results, for some items, Google is being bypassed. Including keywords in your social media marketing is becoming more valuable, but also increases the chances of your social media appearing in the search results on a big search engine. It pays to know what your audience is searching for.
Finding the right platform for your audience deserves a little time and effort, but there are some platforms you need to have a presence on, some you should consider, others that could help and some that could possibly help. Only research will help you decide, but here is a handy reference for you:
Must: Join the Big Four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+
Should Consider: Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube
Could: Check out Two of the Little Ones: Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Reddit
Possibly: Find One Niche Site
The big four are a must. You need to have a presence on them as this validates your social media status. It will be one of the first places that any potential customers will check out. It doesn’t need to be flashy, but it does need to be confident and convey information.
Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube should be considered after a good analysis of results. If they fit your demographic, then you should be leveraging them. Pinterest is fabulous for anything that is beautiful and for engaging a female audience, Instagram for immediate brand promotion and YouTube for any high quality video marketing. Video marketing is only going to become more and more digestible by all audiences, so the sooner you embrace YouTube the easier it will be for your future marketing campaigns.
There are a plethora of ‘small’ social media sites that could be useful to you, if you have the right product for the right audience. Don’t discount them because you don’t personally use them. Reddit is great for news and an easy tool to set things viral, Tumblr has a huge following across a wide range of interests but they are highly active and prolific sharers. StumbleUpon is another ‘small’ site but very active with international audiences. These are not their only strengths, only analysis will tell you if they will work for you, but if the ‘must have’ and ‘should consider’ list are not fitting your profiles, then you need to broaden your search.
Niche sites seem to be popping up all over the internet and can be very powerful for niche customers, but that does not guarantee any kind of ROI. Everything depends on your product and your audience. It also depends what you are looking for. Are you looking for hot or warm leads? Use it as a nurturing tool? Or to gain information on the pain points of your demographic? These may not bring in any immediate, significant ROI but they can bring in long term benefits in knowing where you’re going and strengthening your brand.
The social media platforms you choose are up to you, but just remember you have limited time and money, so make sure you pick the ones that will best work for you. It will give your social media marketing a big boost you need as well as saving you lots of hassle.