Every marketing executive out there knows that social media is an inevitable part of their business’ marketing strategy. A lot of what we do today revolves around and is diffused through social media. Long gone are the days when the most effective advertising spot was during the 7 o’clock evening news, as opportunities for successfully connecting with audiences have multiplied and simplified (if you can effectively sail the seas of social media, that is). After 2020, social media has become even more relevant, with more and more people working remotely and staying in during hours they would usually spend outside of their homes.
This is why modern-day marketing directors must have a firm grasp on what social media does and how to use it to their advantage effectively. Here is our Marketing Director’s Guide to Social Media in 2021:
What can social media do for my business?
Social media may at times seem like a popularity contest. Still, beyond just increasing views and likes, there are a number of added benefits you can reap from a well-executed social media strategy.
On social media, you are exposing your brand to a market of billions of global users. In both B2C and B2B environments, people turn to social media to find out more about the brands they interact with and even communicate directly with companies through social media channels. This makes your social media accounts prime real-estate for brand awareness and brand personality exercises. Social media gives you an opportunity to showcase and humanize your brand in a place of mass exposure.
Ideally, and especially when it comes to B2B scenarios, your web assets should be geared to convert leads from visitors. Social media can help you improve traffic to your website and landing pages by posting blog articles, case studies, and other media assets that link to them. If you manage to earn a fair amount of traffic on social media, it might make it easier to funnel some of that traffic towards your main web assets.
3) Thought Leadership
As we mentioned above, social media allows you to humanize your brand and shape the public’s perception of your company. One of the ways you can do that is through thought leadership. Either by creating thought leadership articles yourself or re-publishing articles and posts from well-known thought leaders, you can show your audience your business’ philosophy, ethics, and views on a number of global issues and challenges.
Social media lets you manage your company’s reputation with more ease. You can publish press releases, answer audience questions directly, and shape your brand image through the content you share and positive reviews and comments you can highlight. It gives you a direct feed to your customers and lets you control direct communication with them more accurately.
Social media channels generate a lot of valuable data, and most are geared with tools that help you review performance analytics. Aside from collecting and analyzing your own data, you can use social media to keep track of what your competitors are doing on their channels. These insights can help you shape your strategy towards what is working and away from what isn’t and complement your other marketing efforts.
Ads are both low-cost and easy to create on social media, but the main benefit is how you can target these ads to your audience’s specific segments. You can tailor ads for certain age groups or geographical locations and schedule them to run on specific days and times, ensuring they are as effective as possible while generating the least amount of costs.
Which social media platforms should we be using?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions we get from our clients. Should they be attacking all fronts or limiting to one or two platforms? The answer depends on the circumstances. Perhaps the best way to find out which social media platforms are best for your business is to ask yourself these questions:
Are you a B2C or B2B company?
The first and most important question you should ask yourself to identify which platforms to use is if you are a business-to-consumer or business-to-business company. B2C marketing can be vastly different in its approach to B2B marketing. While a lot still depends on the actual product or service you are pitching, B2C marketing is usually going for a direct appeal or even direct e-commerce with their potential buyers, while B2B is generally going for networking and trying to start a conversation rather than making an immediate sale. Generally speaking, these are the recommended platforms for each type of company:
- B2C: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter
- B2B: LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube
What is your product/service/industry?
What you’re selling and which industry you’re in comes into play when deciding on which social media channels work best for you. If you sell airplane parts, then showcasing your wares on Instagram might not be the best use of your time and efforts, while LinkedIn networking probably won’t help you if you’re producing craft beer. This directly leads to the next question:
What are your audience’s demographics?
Understanding who your audience is, where they consume content, and what their interests and motivations to use social media are, the easier it will be to determine which platform will be most effective for your purposes. If your target audience is mostly comprised of C-level executives in their 40’s and 50’s, it is unlikely you’ll engage with them on Snapchat or Instagram. If your target audience is Gen Z youngsters who like to dance, then perhaps you may find some success in engaging with them on a platform like TikTok or Snapchat.
How well do we understand the dynamics of this platform?
That last statement should almost come with a disclaimer. Certain social media platforms can be tricky in the sense that there is a culture and “etiquette” associated with them and how to use them properly. For example, TikTok is a platform mostly used by Gen Z’ers in their late teens to mid-twenties, where they use language and trends that older generations may not have a full grasp on. It’s a platform that’s not easy to use if you’re not part of the culture associated with it, so making a marketing effort on this platform might be an exercise in futility unless you have a deep understanding of its dynamics. We could say the same thing to someone trying to sell customized skateboards on LinkedIn; this platform favors a different type of business with a different purpose. Any company can be on LinkedIn, but it’s not a platform that can be used the same way Instagram is. The one platform that we can agree works both ways is Facebook, which is the most widely used social media network in the world.