Social media can transform a business — increasing brand recognition, driving sales, raising footfall and building customer engagement. It is no surprise that more businesses are including online communications as part of their marketing strategies, with Facebook and Twitter being the most popular choices.
However, whilst Facebook and Twitter are excellent outlets to communicate with customers, build relationships and market your latest news and offers, a recent report for The Social Media Examiner found that only 37% of marketers deemed Facebook effective for their business.
I believe this is down to the constant evolution of the social media landscape. With so many new social networking sites, each with their own niche and target audience, it is vital to find out which sites are best suited to your business. To help you choose the right social tools, I’ve put together a little more information about some of the less used choices.
This online pin board has exploded over the last few years, and continues to grow in popularity; receiving an average of 10 million independent hits a month. It is an excellent way to showcase your new products and features, promote your brand’s personality and drive traffic to your corporate website, as well as interact with customers. Since this is a visually based outlet, interesting images are vital to entice customers to repin or click through to your website.
One brand that I feel is a great example of using Pinterest is Peugeot. Their visual moodboards create a range of desirable experiences to sell to the customer instead of simply focusing on the product and it’s features.
YouTube is no longer simply an entertainment site to watch videos; it is also an effective marketing tool with the ability to transform a business if used smartly. Videos can be used to present new product releases, insights, interviews, tutorials and promotional clips for your business. When done correctly, it can create a talking point for customers – increasing the brands memorability as well as traffic to your website, which in turn has the ability to allow your content to go viral.
It is essential, however, to spend time developing videos, as a poorly created clip can have a negative and even damaging effect on brand image.
Instagram is a photo-sharing app with over 100 million active users, and is a fresh, new way to engage with customers. This visual network focuses on uploading photographs and using hashtags to integrate conversations. It can be a fun way to display new products, run campaigns and give customers a personal insight into the company.
The fashion industry is one where Instagram really excels, giving front row photographs of fashion shows, company insights into what is coming next or products being worn by celebrities or in interesting surroundings. However, due to the simple photo-sharing concept, content needs to be kept engaging and interesting to keep followers interested in your brand.
LinkedIn is an entirely different form of social media as its features are not customer focused, but rather business to business. It is a network directory for companies which can be used for recruitment, business development and keeping integrated with industry news. Posts through LinkedIn should be kept professional and relevant to your industry, as the target audience is not looking for sales and advertisements, and this could result in a negative impression of your brand.
Whether your company chooses to use one or many social media outlets in your marketing strategy, it is important to create a separate plan for each to fully maximise the benefits that each has to offer. Every post should be tailored to its intended social media outlet. For example, a post for Twitter will differ substantially from Instagram or Facebook. It’s also important to remember that a social media plan takes time – both to implement and to maintain – so it’s vital to pick the right mix.
Do you prefer to stick to the leading social networks like Facebook and Twitter, or have you branched out to the new sites? Let me know what you think – drop me a line at Sammy@lavacomms.co.uk or tweet me at @sjgreener1.