In this social media guide, you learn what is possible with social media marketing and learn how to evaluate which platform is right for your business and your audience. We also cover some major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube. Each platform has more than 100 million monthly active users.
What is social media marketing?
Social Media is one of the most effective communication and advertising platforms. But
cutting through the noise can be challenging. That’s because many businesses must use paid social marketing strategies to reach their audiences on social platforms.
Even though you might have created a very insightful post, it can be hard to reach the right audience, especially in the beginning, when no one knows you or your business. You can go with social ads to boost your post reach, for example your Facebook posts or your blog or your video.
Highly targeted ads on social media can help you reach exactly the people who really care
about your business. The ability to target potential customers based on demographic data, their behaviors, and their specific interests is the biggest strength of social media ads.
But social ads are not limited to promoting business; they are also a great way to advertise
products, drive traffic to your website or online shop, or collect contact information for your email campaigns.
Types of social media websites
Since there are a large number of social media sites, it is impossible to be present and active on all of them. This is why it is necessary to explore different types of social networks and find the ones that are most likely to help with achieving our business goals.
The list of the most important social media channels,we will present here, is based on the popularity of each channel and on the number of active users.
Facebook probably doesn’t need much of an introduction – launched in 2004, facebook now is the largest social media platform with more than 2 billion active users worldwide.
People use Facebook to connect with their friends and acquaintances by adding them as so called Facebook friends. Users can share information, add photos and videos, share other people’s content, etc.
When it comes to promotion and using Facebook for such a branding purpose, users can create pages and groups. In both cases, the very first you must have a personal profile in order to be able to create a page or a group.
It is important to understand the differences between pages and groups. Pages are for celebrities, businesses and companies, where they can create an online reputation by adding information about the company, website, etc. By default, privacy settings for pages are set to public, So anyone can see the content published on your page. A page can have several administrators or managers, allowed by the creator of the page.
Facebook groups are created for users who have the same interests. Anyone can create a group and connect with their potential users on Facebook. A group has an admin, who can promote other group members to admins. Groups can be open or public, where anyone can see the group and can post in the group. Closed groups are visible for everyone, but only the members of the group can see the content, while the secret groups are only visible to the group members.
For advertisers Facebook also is one of the most effective social media channels, because it lets them utilize their rich user data to target very specific audiences. The ability to target potential users and customers based on demographic data, behaviors, and very specific interests is the biggest strength of Facebook ads. And since most businesses and brands are already on Facebook, ads are a great way to build a following and boost engagement for the business or brands.
Instagram is an online social network for photo and video-sharing with more than 500 million monthly active users worldwide. Users can share photos and videos publicly and privately on
Instagram as Facebook.
For Advertisers, Instagram also is a fantastic social network to tell a company’s story in a visual and engaging way. Successful campaigns do not sell products or promote big discounts but
bring a product’s or brand’s authentic heart and soul to life. Advertisers have to carefully
balance the information and the inspiration value of their campaigns to encourage the specific
community to like and share their ads.
For self-service, Instagram also offers a range of different objectives for which you can optimize your ad campaign. Similar to Facebook, Instagram will show your ad to the people who are most likely to take the action you want them to take.
Since Instagram was owned by Facebook in 2012, the advertising platforms merged and most of the advertising and targeting options are now the same for both social media platforms. Similar to Facebook ads, to run ads on Instagram, you’ll need a Facebook Page for the brand or product you want to advertise.
Another social network that has a significant role in social media advertising is Twitter. It is less popular than Facebook, but it still has over 300 million active users. What differentiates this social network from the others is the micro-blogging form upon which the social network is based on. Adding short messages, called ‘tweets’ is how the content is shared on this social platform.
Twitter is popular among celebrities, politicians, journalists, business and marketing professionals. Twitter profiles are less personal than Facebook and Instagram. In fact, profiles on Twitter are for everyone, both individuals as well as businesses.
You should start building your presence on Twitter by creating an account. After you have joined Twitter, you should add a profile photo and a header image. Additionally, you can add a short bio (up to 140 characters), your website and location, which can also help you customize your Twitter profile. Twitter also allows users to customize their background theme and font colors, in order to match the profile photo and header image.
For advertisers, Twitter organizes its different ad types by campaign objectives, from increasing website visits and sales to creating a bigger following for a company’s Twitter account. Depending on which campaign objective you choose, the ad will be displayed in a different format, which Twitter refers to as “Cards.” Twitter also offers various options to target a specific audience, including demographic, interest and behavior.
This social network is particularly popular for business professionals, so it is the great platform for B2B marketing. LinkedIn allows users to create professional profiles or resumes, which may be a good opportunity for both companies and individuals.
In addition to allowing users to connect with each other and search for business details, LinkedIn also offers group features, company pages, and job listings. They also have their own publishing platform on which invited users, influencers, and all other active members can publish their posts.
Interaction on LinkedIn is done through sharing status and updates within groups. While you are not as likely to reach potential customers through other social networks, if your potential clients are other companies and small businesses, LinkedIn can help you get valuable contacts.
You can join LinkedIn by providing your first and last name, the email address, and a password. After your profile is created, you should customize it by adding your Profile photo, Description, and URL of your website.
Once you have your profile set up, you can start interacting by sharing updates, commenting and liking the status updates published by your connections, exploring the network by searching for jobs, people, groups, companies, etc.
From an advertising standpoint, LinkedIn also is a great platform to promote employers, their jobs and stories, and to advertise products and services that are of interest to a professional audience.
Naturally LinkedIn offers two types of ads – Sponsored Content and Text Ads. You can book these types of ads via LinkedIn’s self-service platform, called Campaign Manager.
LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content Ad allows you to publish promotional updates from their regular connections. The update is marked as ‘Sponsored,’ but it looks and behaves exactly like a normal update. Your update can include an image, infographic, video, PDF, SlideShare or link to a blog post or your home page.
LinkedIn Text Ads are traditional ads that appear in the right side of the desktop and in other locations on the websites. A Text Ad consists of a small image, an engaging headline, a short description (75 characters) and a link to your landing page or a Company Page.
If you want to learn more about these options, take a look here.
Other social networks
These four social networks are some of the most popular social networks, and they are suitable for every businesses regardless of the industry. The great interest companies will show, when it comes to establishing their presence on these social media websites in particular. It is mostly based on the fact that these networks have the largest number of potential users. Thus they have a large potential for developing online relationship with specific targeted community.
However, this is not the final list, so we will also suggest some other social networks, that are very popular, and worth implementing in your social media marketing strategy. While the social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are more general and can be used by any business, other social networks have some special functions that make them suitable only for certain types of businesses.
Photo and video sharing site Pinterest lets users upload, save, and organize images and videos, called pins, in personal and collaborative collections, called boards. The platform now has over 200 million monthly active users, who contribute to the “Catalogue of Ideas” .
Many businesses, especially in the fashion, art or interior design, have successfully used Pinterest to promote their products organically and have developed a following and engagement with their content. Promoted Pins are Pinterest’s native advertising format – they look and behave the same as regular Pins, but advertisers have to pay to promote these pins.
Snapchat started out as visual contents sharing service and has now evolved into a combination of a photo edditing and sharing platform. Snapchat now has more than 200 million monthly active users, worldwide. Here you can exchange snaps and stories with your friends and access the media content provided by editorial partners.
Since 2015 advertisers can reach Snapchat’s users through different ad placements. The majority of advertising offerings is currently only for bigger advertisers with considerable budgets.
If creating videos is a part of your social media strategy, YouTube can help you as it enables you to post videos, as well as to interact with the community through your channel. The videos can be promotional, instructional, or you can even start from a short video, or you would regularly create videos on a certain topic. Video format can be applied to all types of business. While these platforms can host videos, you can additionally promote the videos on other social sites, by sharing the link.
Conclusion: The Importance of Social Media Marketing
In the world with over 85% of internet users active on social platforms, who spend at least two hour a day (on an average) on those social networks. Now these social networks have become a sort of reality in which people communicate, interact, and obviously trust.This is why social media marketing is no longer considered to be only social networks, but instead it has become an important part of our day to day life.
Coming up, we’ll cover how to have a great mobile website, discuss whether mobile apps are right for your business, and tell you why social media and mobile are a match made in heaven. Next chapter; Mobile Marketing