In today’s digital marketing world, the advantages of understanding the best social media platforms are clear, social media marketing allows a startup or existing business access to a wide audience but not just any audience. With a digital marketing strategy that makes astute use of these platforms and a clear understanding of the role of social media influencer, your marketing efforts can go directly where you need them to, straight to the screens of your target audience. With new social media appearing at perplexing speed it can be difficult to understand where to concentrate your marketing efforts. We take the exploration out of the social media jungle and look at the best social media apps and platforms, as well as giving you a few hints as to how to use them.
Snapchat’s sprightly name suits its quick, ‘right now’ approach. Its swift sharing of photo and video content and the sense of urgency its disappearing content creates makes it one of the best social media platforms to harness the buying power of a ‘want-it-now’ audience. Snapchat does now allow some saving of content, is mobile-only and with only 188 million monthly users, is relatively small. However, this quirky social media platform has seen great success with visual social media and is definitely not one to be ignored.
5 ways to make the most of Snapchat’s digital marketing tools…
- Use Snapchat for a regular visual social media marketing strategy
- Publish daily Stories that demonstrate your product and company ethos
- Build your audience by adding Live Stories that relate to a specific audience or location
- Use Geofilters to let your audience know you are in their area
- Create your own Snapchat lens and make the most of augmented reality through Lens Studio
Snapchat pros and cons…
- PRO – Snapchat allows your audience to have a close encounter with your brand
- PRO – Snapchat’s quirky visual tools offer the ‘wow’ and ‘whatever next’ factors
- CON – The Snapchat audience is still limited to younger users and social media influencers
- CON – Snapchat analytics are not as sophisticated as those on other social media marketing platforms
Snapchat is the best social media platform for you…
- If you are targeting a younger demographic
- If you have an exciting story to tell
- If your business has a specific location focus
- If you are interested in harnessing the power of fun to build brand awareness
Facebook is a global social media giant whose influence spreads across generations and social divides. Although it remains one of the biggest players in social media marketing, Facebook has recently been the target of bad press in the form of fake news and security accusations. Whether or not this will have a negative influence on the use of Facebook for social media marketing remains to be seen but for now, 2.23 billion active users a month is impressive and this growth shows no sign of slowing up. Facebook is popular with both personal and business users but it is worth remembering that Facebook Business Pages have a number of features that personal ones don’t.
5 ways to make the most of Facebook’s digital marketing tools…
- Use Facebook’s targeted digital adverts to select your audience in extensive detail
- Collect potential customer contacts by pushing giveaways, offers and e-books
- Interact with customers through Facebook Messenger
- Match your business Facebook profile to your company branding
- Encourage click through by using Facebook’s call-to-action buttons
Facebook’s pros and cons…
- PRO – Facebook has a huge social and business reach
- PRO – Facebook’s excellent analytics give usable performance information
- CON – Paid Facebook strategies have become a necessity for visible impact on sales
- CON – Ad blindness and blocking has reduced the effectiveness of Facebook ads
Facebook is the best social media platform for you…
- If you want to reach a wide and global demographic
- If generations X and Y both form your target audience
- If you have a media budget and are prepared to develop a paid strategy
- If you are keen to work with higher level social media influencers
Although, with 335 million monthly active users, Twitter cannot match Facebook’s massive audience and reach, it remains one of the big players when it comes to the best social media platforms. Twitter users act in a similar way to amateur news reporters, sending short messages or Tweets with the hope of grabbing attention. In fact, Twitter is all about attention seeking; its short character limit of 280 encourages scan reading and its timeline approach gives the feeling of a newsroom.
5 ways to make the most of Twitter’s digital marketing tools…
- Give great value when it comes to knowledge, learning or information
- Gather a niche audience by targeting specific hashtags, locations or activities
- Engage with prospective customers by getting involved in public conversations
- Use Twitter’s advanced searches to hone in on customer or competitor conversations
- Incorporate regular video sharing into your Twitter digital marketing strategy
Twitter’s pros and cons…
- PRO – Twitter’s fast feed approach reduces advert irritation
- PRO – Twitter is a great way of publically providing excellent customer service
- CON – Twitter’s news feed moves so fast that maintaining content visibility can be tricky
- CON – With Twitter you only have 280 characters per Tweet to get your message across
Twitter is the best social media platform for you…
- If your success relies on finding out what competitors are saying
- If your brand is all about building relationships and a loyal following
- If customer service is one of your key branding elements
- If you are keen to understand and make use of your online reputation
Instagram is big and growing, currently with 1 billion monthly active users. This image and video based app is one of the best social media platforms because it not only offers great opportunity for visual impact, but its increased character count now also allows for a mini blog approach, giving users the choice between a quick look and a more detailed investigation. One of Instagram’s interesting features is the time-limited Instagram Story, which can be customised with filters, doodles and stickers and is great for ‘look what we are up to’ type sharing.
5 ways to make the most of Instagram’s digital marketing tools…
- Choose the link you are allowed in your bio carefully and adjust it to suit current campaigns
- Match your Instagram business profile to your company branding
- Follow other users in your industry as well as prospective customers
- Develop a content strategy that gives visual impact and promotes your marketing goals
- Create and regularly use a hashtag that corresponds with your brand. Hashtags that include words like ‘life’, ‘world’ and ‘know’ are great examples of this.
Instagram’s pros and cons…
- PRO - Instagram’s filters mean you don’t have to be a professional photographer to get stunning results
- PRO – The Instagram user interface is intuitive, making managing your account a pleasure
- CON – Whilst Instagram looks brilliant in app form, its web format can look messy
- CON – With external links still limited, encouraging click through to a business website can be tricky
Instagram is the best social media platform for you…
- If your target demographic is younger and female
- If you are keen to partner with social media influencers for promotions
- If you have a creative team who enjoy finding new ways of grabbing attention
- If you favour inbound marketing over the hard sell
Picking the best social media apps and digital marketing tools for your business right now is important but what is perhaps even more important is understanding how to make the most of these tools and keep up to date with social media marketing trends.
For example, do you know what a social media influencer is? Do you understand how to develop high-quality useful content? Or have you grasped the strength of ephemeral content? The world of social media marketing will never be static and this is one of the things that make it such an exciting environment in which to work.
One of the best ways to make sure that your knowledge is up to date and that you are making absolutely the best use of your digital marketing skills is to gain a qualification through a flexible online marketing course. Personal social media skills are a great way to practice but if you want to make the best of social media platforms for business, it pays to learn from the experts.
Want even more marketing tips for the online realm? Be sure to check out more of our related marketing articles here on SkillsTalk.
Fi is a professional copywriter based in Devon, England. She specialises in education, careers, travel and outdoor writing and is the co-author of the popular daily outdoor blog 'Two Blondes Walking'. Fi has written three children's books and, when she isn't writing, Fi loves to gather inspiration from long walks, early morning sea swims and winter wild camps.