“We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” – Erik Qualman
Social media sites were once solely for keeping in touch with friends and family across the world until companies promptly figured out ways of utilising the expansive potential of sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (which each have concurrent monthly users in the hundreds of millions) to communicate their brand to customers.
This is because, as the name suggests, these social media sites offer a social aspect to your brand and allow it to gather a larger audience, furthering clicks to your website and generating new leads.
Social media marketing is a form of internet marketing that primarily involves creating and sharing content in order to help achieve your company’s marketing goals.
Content can include text and image updates, video content, and paid social media adverts.
Social media content marketing is also surprisingly niche and dependent on which site you’re on, this can challenge the creative minds of your marketing teams.
Let’s discuss the top sites, their unique space in the world of social media and how advertisers utilise each of them.
Social Media Marketing with Facebook
The social media site with an insane number of monthly active users, at over 2 billion, has a good mixture of text and visual potential for advertising and given the huge user base, clearly has a wide span of demographics when it comes to advertising your brand on its site.
What Facebook is not ideal for, however, is organic reach. Consumers don’t tend to purposefully follow their favourite brands on Facebook, opting instead for shorter form sites like Twitter for this sort of interaction (but we’ll cover that later).
What this means for your advertising on Facebook is that you should focus less on your organic reach among users, but instead a solid paid ad campaign.
Eye-catching, effective adverts plastered on millions of social media feeds is your best chance at getting some ROI from your social media marketing.
For Facebook, the advert wants to utilise text in whichever way best complements the visual element. The text can relay strong messages and CTA’s, alongside a simple picture of your product or service.
The text could also convey a sharper message like short customer testimonials or bullet points of your products or services if your visual element (video, GIF, etc.) is more attention-grabbing and informative.
Either way, with Facebook it’s important not to clog your users’ feeds with too much of either element; doing so runs the risk of your ad becoming more of an eyesore, being skimmed over and ignored, and creating far fewer click-throughs.
Do you want your brand to make friends with Facebook? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help.
Social Media Marketing with Twitter
If Facebook provides the casual scroll of content to go through by the fire with a cup of warm cocoa, then Twitter is the twisted younger brother who plays with fire and injects coffee straight into his veins.
If this analogy has escaped you, then my point is that Twitter is a much more high-octane environment than Facebook, for users and advertisers alike.
Twitter exists as an update platform. Short-form text restricted to 280 characters has made Twitter the perfect place for outlets such as news platforms to share their stories with a catchy headline and appropriate hashtag to grab the scroller’s already dipped attention span.
This also extends to social media advertisers, who have created an array of methods to catch their audience’s eye.
If you want to add a link to your website (whether this be for a blog post or CTA for a purchase) then your post text should be much shorter because the number of characters includes those of the link.
If your post text is quite long, then perhaps frame it differently in the Twitter post to allow room for the more important link.
If this isn’t an option, and you want both the text and URL in the Twitter post, consider free software like Bit.ly or TinyURL to shorten the URL of your post so that it takes up fewer characters on your Twitter post.
It’s important to note that different URL shortening software works in different ways and for different users, follow this link to see the best URL shorteners available and what each of them provide compared to one another.
Want to know the best way to tackle Twitter? Contact us at email@example.com and we’ll see what we can do.
To fully optimise your social media advert, making use of hashtags is also unlikely to go amiss.
Hashtags are labels for content and are particularly popular amongst users of Twitter and Instagram. It helps others who are interested in a certain topic quickly find content on that same topic.
The most popular use of a social media hashtag is one that became its own feminist movement when scores of women in the movie industry used Twitter to out the sexual misconduct of prominent male figures, quickly gaining traction and subsequently used by thousands of women online using #MeToo.
Whilst this example provides a good picture of how powerful a hashtag can be in unifying a topic under one succinct message, they aren’t limited to large news stories.
Businesses can use hashtags to further their social media marketing campaigns in a couple of ways.
The first method is by creating your own unique hashtag, and this is most often seen in large scale social media ad campaigns, where big brands with great avenues for exposure use the hashtag to round off their messaging.
Think of hashtags in this way as a nice ribbon that companies use to tie up the gift that is their campaign’s message or mantra – they’re also quite often calls to action in disguise.
#ShareACoke and #DoUsAFlavour are highly effective examples of brands – in this case, Coca Cola and Walker’s – placing a call to action towards their audience within the social media ad campaign’s hashtag as another way of letting the audience feel like they’re getting involved with a well-known brand simply by purchasing their products.
Another way of using hashtags is by hopping onto any trending hashtags that are circulating online at the time.
This requires a very savvy, keen eyed person to not only monitor the trending topics online, but to somehow manipulate the hashtag to suit the company’s ideals and be involved in a large-scale online discussion.
An example of a popular hashtag that brands like to get involved with is #ThursdayThoughts.
Twitter and Instagram being primarily social media sites, these sorts of hashtags allow users to share their thoughts online; the accompanying hashtag is then used in an attempt to gain some interaction for the post whilst the hashtag is trending.
Companies quickly hop on this bandwagon and use the somewhat vague nature of the hashtag’s theme as well as its potential for exposure to post anything that puts their brand in the minds of the audience or to even flash promote a deal for quick and easy returns.
Using Social Media as a Tool for Customer Relations
This leads us nicely to the customer relations aspect of social media marketing that is crucial to companies using these social media sites effectively.
As alluded to earlier, social media sites have a unique ability for consumers to follow their favourite brands. Twitter & Instagram utilise this most due to the short form content and younger user base, but many companies still have an active presence on Facebook – it’s all down to where their audience exists.
Company accounts on Twitter can exist in many forms, dependent on what brand identity they’re trying to convey to their target market.
A great example of a brand who knows both its consumer market and social media follower base is the UK & Ireland KFC account @KFC_UKI.
Although KFC as a fast food brand is ubiquitous amongst a wide range of age groups and demographics, the brand engagement team who run their social media account are clearly very aware of the fact, based on their tweet history, that a majority of their follower base on Twitter is young (18-35) and most likely male.
This sort of off-brand content that doesn’t always surround the company’s product and relies more on trending topics is surprisingly effective. @KFC_UKI has over 120K Twitter followers and averages hundreds of interactions each post.
It’s this type of relatable brand identity that works best with the follower base that their account has found themselves with; whether this is a case of chicken or egg (pun not intended) is a different matter.
As well as being a means to know your target market through accurate analytics and acting accordingly with the data provided (in the case of @KFC_UKI, they clearly decided to go all in on the British Gen Z banter narrative that relates to their young, social media savvy follower base), these accounts are a great real time replacement for answering customer enquiries.
Looking for the best voice for your brand online? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can help you find that voice.
Instead of the notoriously painful process of the company helpline, many social media users turn to direct messaging or even tweeting company accounts with their complaints or queries in the hopes of receving a much quicker, more personalised response.
As the thread from underneath this social media ad campaign from Walkers Crisps highlights, followers often reply to these public posts with very separate issues and concerns.
Although the replies to these enquiries usually sound generic: “DM us your issue and we’ll try to help!”, they provide both the consumer and the brand account with something helpful.
For the consumer, they’re presented with a much easier avenue of assistance compared to slower traditional methods like helplines and emails.
For the brand, they appear more helpful, responsive and relatable. They use enquiries on social media to provide a personal response tailored to each customer that they can resolve in real time; furthering customer relations with their audience and their more loyal target market of online followers.
30% of people’s online time is spent on social media sites, so advertising within this space is vital.
If the scope of social media isn’t enough to convince you to integrate it into your digital marketing campaigns, then the sheer creativity and imagination that social media creates in marketing teams around the world in each sector and industry should.
It’s not something that can be learnt overnight, and a large part of your social media marketing strategy will involve trial and error but if you choose to embrace social media marketing as one of the main pillars of your digital marketing campaign, you’ll eventually wonder how you ever went without it.
For help with your social media marketing strategy and any other aspect of your digital marketing, get in touch with us at: email@example.com