Social Media Marketing: Choosing the Right Platforms

social media marketing

Being on social media these days ain’t easy, at least not for companies. User expectations climb higher, and with so much content out there, it can be hard to stand out. Effective social media marketing is really a full-time job.

But, while finding viral fame and success is never a guarantee, one thing about social media is certain: your customers expect you to be there. Another thing that’s almost certain: you will find new customers if you stay active on social media and follow social media marketing best practices.

So, while the fickle online mobs generally send mixed signals, if you cater just to your audience, you can keep them happy and exceed their expectations.

Part of doing that is finding out which social media sites they visit. To help you out, we’ll reveal the best platforms to focus your social media marketing on, as well as the general strengths and weaknesses of the most popular platforms.

Facebook Marketing

facebook marketing

Who Uses It

Just about everybody, according to Pew Research. 79% of adults in America who go online use Facebook. That’s 68% of all adults in the U.S, total, including those that don’t use the internet.

The user base skews slightly more towards females and those below 50, but 62% of online adults 65+ still use Facebook. Similarly, the user base is fairly even across income brackets and urban/suburban/rural divides.

Facebook users are also active; 76% use it every day.

Why You Should Be On It

Firstly, you should go where everyone goes. With millions of daily users, you know you aren’t shouting to an empty room when you focus on Facebook marketing.

Secondly, Facebook is the most commonly used second platform by users of other social media channels. For instance, while only 29% of Facebook users have a Twitter account and 39% use Instagram, 93% of Twitter users have a Facebook account and 95% of Instagram users do, too. So you can post a preview on Twitter linking back to a Facebook post and safely assume people will follow, but the reverse might not be true.

Thirdly, people may be searching for you online and expect to see a Facebook page as one of the results. Without a page, people may wonder where to turn other than your website when trying to engage with your brand.

Fourth, Facebook provides powerful tools for measuring data on your audience and using it to fine-target new customers with paid ads. With this strategy, you can quickly grow interest in your brand or promote a particular product or event.

Facebook Marketing Challenges

Facebook is pretty user friendly in terms of uploading content and managing your page. The only problem is that you may have to pay for promoted ads to get people to actually see your posts. While this approach usually offers beneficial returns, it can be frustrating to not have your posts automatically displayed in the newsfeeds of people who “like” your company page.

Bottom Line

You should, at bare minimum, have a professional-looking Facebook page to use for posting about upcoming events and promotions. Have someone check the page regularly for private messages and wall posts from customers. Ideally, you will post interesting content on a weekly basis to keep “fans” engaged. Having consistent scheduled posts can quickly grow your brand and improve its reputation.

LinkedIn Marketing

linkedin marketingWho Uses It

Companies and professionals, mostly the former. While 29 percent of online adults use LinkedIn, 81% of small and medium businesses use it, according to Mashable. Nearly all large companies have a LinkedIn page.

User demographics skew towards college-educated professionals making over $50k a year. 34% of urban internet users have a profile, as do 30% of suburbanites, but 82% of rural internet users don’t.

Why You Should Be On It

LinkedIn has become a search engine for companies and professionals. By looking at the standard profile template, someone can quickly find out a lot of information about your company without having to dig around. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, your company may appear unprofessional.

If you market mostly to other companies and have a B2B business model, you should also actively try to engage LinkedIn users with interesting content and thought leadership. While you may not see amazing engagement figures, you can easily increase your influence on blue chip clients through adept LinkedIn use.

LinkedIn Marketing Challenges

Engagement numbers for posts by companies tend to be moderately low unless you have a recognizable brand. To help fix this problem, let your company leaders share thoughts and interesting articles instead, since people tend to get better engagement. Advertising costs options make paid LinkedIn marketing fall outside of most small business budgets, but can be powerful for larger brands that can afford the costs.

Bottom Line

Not having a LinkedIn page now is like not being in the phone book in 1992. You want to at least have a good-looking company page and interesting, complete profiles for your C-suite and most active employees. If you are a B2B company, post short original articles at least twice a month, and pay attention to who checks your profiles.

Twitter Marketing

Twitter marketingWho Uses It

Young people under 30 and around 1 in 5 adults 30-64. Less people using Twitter are in the $30k < $50k income bracket, but the user base is nearly even across other income levels. Usership is split fairly evenly between urban/rural/suburban audiences.

Why You Should Be On It

While Twitter isn’t as “trending” as it was a few years ago, it still has an active user base and plenty of people who use it from time to time. Companies can best use Twitter by sharing previews of content from other channels and also posting timely updates about your company, like upcoming sales or events. 

You may also find that people mention your company on Twitter to look for customer service help or to broadcast a complaint. You will want to have a team who can promptly respond to these questions or complaints. 

Another side benefit of Twitter is that you can enhance your SEO efforts by using keywords in posts. Twitter posts rank on Google and can help grow your audience by directing them to either your web page or social media platforms.

Twitter Marketing Challenges

Sometimes it feels like you’re tweeting to a deaf audience, but realize that many people read tweets without engaging with them. If you really want to grow your visibility, you can run giveaways, but these efforts are probably better-spent on Facebook’s larger user base.

Bottom Line

Let your Twitter account support your SEO and other social media accounts while serving as an alternative customer support channel.

Instagram Marketing

instagram marketingWho’s On It

Hip young folks! 59% of 18-29 year olds have an Instagram, as do 39% of urban dwellers. The audience skews largely towards women, college students and post-grads. Income is spread surprisingly evenly, although those making <$30k are slightly more represented.

Instagram users are also the second most active after Facebook; over half check it every single day.

Why You Should Use It

You need your company to be seen as trendy, sophisticated or interesting to a younger audience. People on Instagram expect stylish, high-quality visual content with an artistic eye. If your brand can produce beautiful or intriguing photos on a regular basis and have it be relevant to your brand values, then Instagram is a great venue.

Instagram also easily integrates with Facebook and other platforms, letting you quickly share ‘Grams across multiple pages and feeds. You can also broadcast your Facebook ads on Instagram with a click of checkbox during ad setup.

Instagram Marketing Challenges

You absolutely cannot be boring or post ugly photos on Instagram. You also shouldn’t expect excitement unless your product, brand values or services appeal to a younger audience in some way. 82% of adults 50-64 and 92% of adults 65+ don’t use Instagram.

Also, while much of the Instagram user base makes little income, most have completed at least some college, so try not to play down to your audience.

Bottom Line

If you are a brand that has a lot of visual creativity and wants to connect with a young, influential audience, you need an Instagram page as part of your overall social media marketing strategy.

Google+ (G+) 

google plus marketingWho Uses It

Everyone and no one. Support for Google+ (G+) as some sort of social network has dwindled since its launch, but the G+ platform still connects accounts between Gmail, AdWords, Google Webmaster Tools, Youtube and lots of search results features.

So, while few people will take up your offer to check out your cool post on Google+, some of Google’s 3.5 billion searches per day may pull up information entered on your G+ account.

Why You Should Be On It

While not a huge revenue generator in terms of social media marketing, a G+ account helps you quickly setup your Google My Business page, which displays in search results when people search for your business name or category. G+ can also make it easy to coordinate data between other Google-related products you may use.

Google+ Marketing Challenges

Sharing posts on G+ like a normal social media network won’t get you too far. Stick to using the account as a hub for critical Google features, and syndicate your content there if your social media software allows it.

Bottom Line

If you don’t have a Google My Business page, go make one right now! The importance of having a Google My Business account properly set up goes far beyond social media marketing.

Pinterest Marketing

pinterest icon

Who Uses It

The ladies! While only 17% of men use Pinterest, 45% of women do. The audience skews young, educated and non-rural, but the demographics are split pretty evenly across most income and education. Few adults 50-64 have a Pinterest account, and 84% of those 65+ don’t.

Note that while every other social media platform mentioned made gains in recent years, Pinterest users actually slightly declined.

Why You Should Be On It

If your brand sells things, makes crafts or is related to D.I.Y. projects like cleaning and gardening, then Pinterest is a great place to get shares and generate interest in your business. Pinterest images also perform quite well in Google image results, creating an SEO strategy for companies that want to connect visually with search users. 

Pinterest Marketing Challenges

While other social media platforms have given users more control over what they see, Pinterest continues to be more akin to an actual message board in terms of clutter, searchability and information overload. This isn’t a major issue, but you will want your images to stand out and your calls to action to be strong to prevent Pinterest users from getting too distracted by other posts.

Bottom Line

Pinterest is great for certain products, arsty, and home/garden brands but not very important for most others. If your target demographic is women, you need to find a way to creatively use the platform in your social media marketing strategy.

Make Choosing the Right Social Media Marketing Options and Managing It Easier With Optimized Scribes

If you are a growing brand or one reinventing its online image, then Optimized Scribes wants to be your social media marketing partner! We craft engaging, visually oriented posts for our clients and help them put their best foot forward online. We can also manage your audiences to keep them engaged while you learn strategies that help you reliably generate business through social media. Contact us today for a free internet marketing assessment.

Categories: Social Media

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