It seems like just yesterday, if you wanted to stay ahead of competitors, you chose from a straightforward set of brand-building tactics. Since the early 2000’s, that spectrum of options has increased with the addition of social media. Today, actual selection of social media platforms ultimately defines certain aspects of your brand. Each platform (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many more) has its own brand and culture, so what you choose adds a layer of communication to your profile that says, “I’m a part of this culture.” This is the same definition that occurs based on what trade events you attend, what publications you write (and where you place them – digitally or traditionally), and what articles you re-post or on which you comment. Just like how you may attend a certain trade show to gain more customers and attend another to collect information from others in the industry, each social media platform has its own strengths your brand may want to align with. How you leverage these platforms has significantly changed in just the past 5 years, especially in today’s environment.
Currently, the most popular platforms are Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter with the up and coming star being Tik Tok. Facebook has the widest and largest user base and is used mainly to connect with friends, families, and communities around the world. Younger audiences may spend more time on other platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok. Instagram is known for being a picture and short video centric channel with higher standards of media quality. B2C companies with eye catching products and a younger, mainly female audience tend to do better on Instagram via a gaming or competitive campaign platform whereas those seeking engagements and awareness from a broader, yet slightly older, audience tend to have a Facebook page. Forums like LinkedIn provide a B2B or B2C environment where brands may interact with others in their industry, share professional opinions, and interact with potential hires. And yet, Twitter, on the other hand, eliminates barriers with a short, text-based platform which allows for faster, and sometimes raw, engagement. It’s even become the go-to platform for updates and customer service. I will not touch politics, but clearly twitter has become a focus since 2016 with our current administration.
Each platform is seen to have a personality, and depending on which you pick to use, your brand may also be associated with that personality. Brands who have an active Instagram may be younger and more fashionable whereas those using Facebook or LinkedIn may appear older and more professional. Social media, for companies, is not a series of rambling thoughts and activities but It’s a series of well-crafted and thoughtful positions implemented as steps towards reaching a goal. Companies should be on multiple platforms each employing different strategies to reach different goals. They may be to increase revenue, increase customer engagement, promote brand loyalty – each platform may have a different goal depending on what you decide best fits your brand. You must align your social channels and their strategies with your business goals.
Promote best practices when establishing your social media accounts:
- Fill out your profiles. Pages with strategically completed profiles and cover photos are more likely to gain new followers.
- Post consistently. This may include posting more often on one channel than another. For example, every day on Instagram vs weekly on Facebook. Just be consistent and post frequently enough to remain engaged with your audience.
- Post around work hours. Specifically, 7 – 10am and 5 – 7pm tend to be the best times to gain engagement. Always monitor your KPIs to see what days and times are working best for your brand. And be agile about change if necessary, to drive the right levels of engagement.
- Consider a social media management platform. Although some platforms like Facebook lets businesses schedule their posts, others like LinkedIn don’t without third party software. Aside from allowing you to schedule posts, these platforms let you manage all your social media and their respective performance statistics in one place. Popular options include but are not limited to Hootsuite, Spout Social, and Buffer.
When everyone is home looking for things to do and researching options for their business… are you on the right platform with the right message???