Social media is a staple when it comes to contemporary communication. It’s how we, as individuals, communicate with each other, which can also be used to play a part in influencing how we perceive the world around us.

While many social media platforms first started out with the intention of connecting families and friends, colleagues and schoolmates, it is now a highly popular method that has been adopted by a huge number of businesses as part of their marketing campaigns. This is because they have the knowledge that we’re living in an online-centric age, where traditional methods of advertising have become less relevant over the course of time 🧐

The use of social media not only creates the potential for businesses to connect with other businesses but also allows for engagement with the most vital tool towards their overall sales success - the customer.

When designing your social strategy, you should conduct research around where your target demographic spends most of their time online. Doing this will help you to ensure that you’re using social media marketing effectively, no matter what your sales goals are.

So, how does a business decide which of the many social media platforms to use when designing its marketing strategy?

We’ll take a look at how some of the most popular social media platforms can be used to effectively build relationships with potential customers and increase revenue for your business.

Facebook is a key platform 👈🏼

There is no shortage of rising social media platforms and each can benefit your business in its own, unique way.

However, none have the market penetration and robust tools for bringing your business to people’s attention like Facebook.  It might seem like everybody is using Facebook - and a deeper look into its user statistics will only support this claim.

Since its launch in 2004, Facebook continues to grow in both active users and time spent using the platform. For a continually evolving and changing platform, staying informed about statistics such as user demographics is key to creating a targeted campaign.

Knowing exactly who uses the platform and how they use it can make all the difference.

According to Pew Research, almost 70% of all American adults have Facebook accounts with ¾ of all these users visiting the website on a daily basis.

The days and times that you post on social media can impact on the engagement of your posts as well. Some reports have stated that the best times for posting on each social media platform is around 11 am and 2 pm on a Wednesday and Thursday to reach the most people.  This will, of course, vary depending on your target audience. Testing when your target audience spends most of their time online will help you to strategize what content to post and when this will be useful to enhance audience engagement for your business.

Respect the algorithm 👏🏼

In 2019, Facebook changed its algorithm to elevate posts from friends and groups to create more authentic connections on its platform. As a result, content from pages is less likely to appear prominently on Facebook users’ feeds.

This means that if you want your business to stand out, and don’t have the required budget for posting paid content, you have to meet people where they are — targeting major Facebook groups and engaging people there with your content.

Facebook understands that users are asking questions, adding a ‘recommendations’ feature that can be used to promote businesses when these questions are asked.  For example, a user asking the question: ‘Where can I get my tire pressure checked on a Saturday?’ may be inundated with responses of other users who have used specific businesses for the purpose of checking their tire pressure.  Facebook will automatically link the social pages of these businesses to the response, allowing the question asker to browse the business page thoroughly before making the decision.

Having a presence on social media can effectively lead to people sharing content from the group to their feeds and spreading the word of your business.

Engage authentically 😇

Authentic communication means focusing on more than just the sales pitch. It’s making your audience feel heard and connecting with them on a human level.

One of the biggest mistakes businesses make when crafting social media posts is treating them like a display ad or a bulletin board. So, when writing a post make the most of it with direct response copywriting, while staying authentic.

Social media users are conditioned to recognize and scan past posts like these automatically. It’s more than just putting the content in their path — that’s just the first step. After that, you have to craft the post in a conversational manner that engages the audience.

Listen to your audience’s emotions 😡🥰🥺

People are more likely to engage with or share content that they react to emotionally, which is easy to do on Facebook with a variety of emotions to choose from.

Heart or cry emojis on Facebook tend to be those that engage more deeply than other emotions, according to CrowdTangle, a service that mines social media to collect actionable insights.

By listening to feedback from the audience and leveraging insights from post-performance and audience behavior, businesses can structure their content and messaging to maximize engagement.

A clear example of this is Freeda, whose aim it was to ‘Build a highly engaged community on Facebook and Instagram with content that connects with a younger generation, and leverage that engagement into authentic branded content opportunities’

They were successful in their mission by telling stories on Instagram and Facebook, using a multitude of methods to engage their audiences such as videos, interactive stories, live streams and links to various articles to communicate.

Using the various responses to such, they were also able to gather feedback and listen to what sort of content their audiences wished to have access to. They would then use this data to create monetized targeted ads to continue to connect with their communities.

As a result of this, they were able to gain 11.11m interactions on Instagram in just one month. This shows that following the same strategies will provide a track record of measurable success and helps drive toward sales goals.

Post diversity will elevate your content 🙌🏽

Whether you are using Facebook or another social media platform, you will need to be aware that creating engaging content is more than following a basic template for every post.

Not only does that method fail to engage, some social media platforms reward post diversity by surfacing more content.

A key example is Facebook, which places a lot of value on content that lives on its platform. Native video is the most valuable of all of these.

By posting a native video, businesses can use the chatter to convey their message — and it is possible to place links in the chatter to drive people to the business’ site.

Links to blogs with backlinks toward a product or service will do the same thing - showing them in the right context will act as a seamless method of marketing.

Social media is more than Facebook 🤔

Understanding which platforms are most effective for reaching your audiences is more complicated once you move beyond Facebook.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, is a massively popular platform that skews younger in its audience and is becoming increasingly business-friendly as more features are added to the platform.

Being successful on Instagram demands high effort and involves high stakes.

Instagram focuses on the concept of showing rather than telling and is about far more than brand recognition.

This means a commitment to high-quality photos and videos and a high frequency of posting. Building an audience means committing consistently to three or more posts per day, with care given to not only the visuals but also the social chatter.

If your business page’s constant focus is on the hard-sell approach, the lack of authentic willingness to engage audiences is spotted immediately.

That’s why you see so much emphasis on influencers  - and we're all aware of how power of the influencers can make or break the brand.

Who are influencers? They are the popular users who craft personal posts sharing their experiences with various products. If people like what they see, there is usually a tagged business account where they can learn more.

For paid content, you’ll observe many businesses using video to show the user experience in a way that draws in audiences. How many games have you seen advertised that show just how easy it would be for you to jump in? That’s the epitome of meeting people where they are and explaining what the service would mean to them.

Storytelling is an important part of Instagram as well. Crafting multi-slide Instagram stories that engage audiences is an effective way to place your content in front of audiences.

Instagram stories are a hugely popular way that users explore the platform — and now it is possible to drive people to outside sites with a “swipe up” option that has been added to the app - meaning that people viewing content on their handheld devices won’t even need to leave the app in order to engage with a product or service, and, more importantly, make the purchase.

Beyond Instagram, the platforms tend to become more niche. For example, Reddit is an incredibly popular platform, but it is based on an endless rabbit hole of subreddits geared to highly specific interests.

Each subreddit comes with its own rules and strict moderation. Success on Reddit requires you to become part of these communities and be a trusted human voice. It’s not a place to throw a link and walk away.  But there is massive potential within Reddit. Some subreddits boast more than a million followers and exceptionally popular posts can surface on the platform beyond the subreddit itself.

It all depends on the audience you are seeking, your resources for targeting them and how you measure success.

Similarly to LinkedIn - the social media network used by many professionals to network with other professionals with the potential to advertise their product or service. Many LinkedIn users who are vocal on the platform will use it to start ‘coffee break’ conversations with those on their networks to build those relationships with others by becoming a voice.

Know when to use calls to action (CTAs)

Most people use calls to action to go straight for the sale or conversion. This can be very jarring and off-putting for audiences.

Building a loyal base is a journey, and your calls to action are intended to take them on that journey. CTA should be present within content that the user wants and likes to read naturally.

It all comes back to meeting people where they are. Not everyone is ready to take the plunge. But some might be ready to learn more about what your business is all about. If you structure your CTA in that instance to help them take the next step in the journey toward conversion.

Social media is a long term strategy, not an instant payoff ☝🏼

By utilizing social media to market your business, you are building a voice, starting the conversation and making friends along the way.

Don’t expect a single post on a single platform to meet major goals. It will be a lot of thoughtful, sustained work over the course of a campaign across multiple social media platforms. You will measure those results over time and make adjustments until you are fully attuned to your audience.

The bottom line 👀

Using social media is a very inexpensive way to advertise a business, product or service compared to other marketing tools used to advertise.

Some social media tools are available for free for everybody to use, and by spending some extra time improving on a social media presence can bring great benefits to increased sales and business exposure.

It also encourages businesses to establish good relationships with customers and potential customers, without having to invest the time and money researching alternative business promotion tools that would mean hiring professionals to train effectively.

The aim is to engage with as many people as possible - and using the single biggest tool to reach these people is by utilizing social media as part of your marketing campaign.

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