10 Important Social Media Marketing Platforms
Social Media has now undeniably become a crucial component in marketing efforts. A company's social media pages can sometimes even rank higher in searches than its website and social pages, and profiles are known to improve SEO and ranking. Organizations, be they Business-to-Business, Business-to-Consumer, or Non-Profit, can all benefit from having a strong brand presence online. Solely being present on social media platforms is not enough. You also have to have a strategy in place that aligns with your other marketing directives and initiatives, then use the platforms that will best aid and represent your brand well. You also need to build and manage communities that are mutually beneficial to your company, consumers and industry partners.
There are numerous social media platforms and systems companies can employ. In this post, we will look at the following ten platforms and what their unique strengths can be: Blogger, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube. Some companies may find that only one or two of these platforms serve their mission, brand, and goals well, while others may need a combination.
Blogger (or the blogging platform of your choice) can be an essential part of your marketing strategy. Blogging helps increase brand awareness and ranking in searches by strengthening your SEO. A good ranking in SEO is strongly correlated to the amount of valuable and on-topic content you have tied to your website and brand. Blogger is free and easy to use, which makes an excellent starting platform for novice and experienced marketers. Other blogging platforms include WordPress, Tumblr, and Medium.
Facebook can be a great marketing platform for companies, organizations, and individuals looking to build and nurture relationships and communities with new and existing customers. The platform allows you to give followers first views of new products or gain input into customers wants and needs. You can also track and gauge sentiments about your brand and take quick action when needed. The platform currently has over 1.7 billion users globally, and that population skews slightly female. Peak traffic on Facebook is typically in the middle of the week between 1-3 pm. It is essential to post regularly and communicate with followers.
Instagram is a mobile-based photo and video sharing platform. The platform has over 500 million users and is quickly growing. Instagram gives companies, celebrities and public figures a platform to share behind the scenes aspects or company culture that followers would otherwise not have access to. It humanizes businesses and can make people more endearing. Instagram can also be a great place to collect data about unique niche cultures and groupings of people that maybe not be found on other platforms through hashtags and other keywords.
Google+ has over 300 million users, typically tied to a Gmail, Chrome, or YouTube account. While many argue that the platform is not the strongest of social media marketing platforms, it has some significant benefits. Since Google+ is a Google platform, it helps increase your visibility and ranking in searches. If you are a local company, it is highly beneficial to have a Google+ business page and take advantage of the ability to list your physical address. When people search for your company, an address card with a link to your website will pop up, making it easier for local customers to find you. Read more about Google My Business (formerly Google Local) here.
LinkedIn is the world's leading professional social network with over 450 million users. It is an excellent way to connect with companies who currently partner with for cross-promotion or to scout new potential partners. It can also be a great place to see what your competition is doing that is working or not working, so you can learn from them. You can also give more detailed information about your company and employees, and feature products and services. One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is being able to connect with new talent for your workforce. Potential applicants can learn more about the company culture and open positions, and you can scout people you think would be a good organizational fit.
Pinterest has over 100 million active users, a majority of who are women. Users create pinboards with their favorite products, designs, and styles to share with others and get inspiration from others. People can usually discover new content and products from browsing other boards created by other users and companies. It can be an excellent way to do research and gauge consumer interest. Popular topics on the platform include fashion, beauty, interior design, weddings, art, travel, and photography. Pinterest works best for companies with products or D-I-Y services.
Snapchat is a video and photo application that allows you to send messages that last for a maximum of 10 seconds. It has over 200 million users who tend to be teens, but there is also a large group of users aged between 18 and 39. Snapchat has quickly become a great place to advertise in a fun way to a younger demographic. You can create Geofilters, which allow you to share where you are with a fun overlay on your photos or videos. So companies will use these filters to promote new product launches, build brand awareness or even promote new movies. This platform can also serve as a great way for companies, celebrities and solo entrepreneurs to connect with customers or show what happens behind the scenes.
Tumblr is a combination of a blogging and a social sharing platform. It has about 555 million users, the majority being between 13 to 19 years old. It is a creative platform that can be used to nurture brand loyalty from a young age. Companies can use this platform to gather data on consumers, promote new products and services, and recruit new talent. Popular topics or tags on Tumblr include beauty, music, TV shows, video games, and movies.
Twitter is a microblogging platform where you send out short, 140-character messages to your followers and others on the platform. There are 313 million active users, who are mostly Millennials and young professionals. Twitter can be a good way to create two-way connections with customers, partners, and vendors. The platform can be a great way for businesses t learn about the sentiments about their products as well as habits that may inform on product needs and uses. The platform can have profound impacts on a company's sales and marketing, product development, customer service, and talent acquisition.
YouTube, with its over 1 billion active users, can be a valuable marketing tool for different kinds of companies. The platform is the second largest search engine in the world, so it is important to put content our to ensure your voice is in the mix of what people are saying about your products and services. According to Nielsen, Youtube reaches more people in the 18-34-year-old category than any cable network. The platform can help a product or service campaign show uses of new launches and is an excellent way to interact with customers and get feedback.
This is not a complete list of the platforms a company can use for social media marketing. Based on where you conduct business in the world or your business needs, platforms such as Skype, WeChat, and QZone could fit your strategy better. Be sure the research the part of the world you are doing business in and what platforms they use.
In the coming weeks, I will be taking a deeper dive into each of these platforms to discuss the various features that can be beneficial for a marketing strategy. Which platforms do you use for your business and why? Please share in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!
Data used in this post was gathered from Statista, Hootsuite, and the SO ME Academy.