We are living in a digital era. Social media is everywhere and there is no escaping it. Through our smartphones and smartwatches… we connect with others, we get news, we purchase products – social media is a force to be reckoned with. Making the decision as to whether your business should jump into social media can be overwhelming – do we, or don’t we?
At Smart Connections PR, we have a solid understanding of the benefits and challenges of social media. Social media can be a wonderful way to tell your story, create brand awareness, engage with clients and customers, build customer loyalty, and increase visitors to your website. You can even use social media to attract qualified job candidates and keep an eye on what your competitors are up to. According to a Sprout Social survey, 55% of consumers learn about new brands on social media. There are some wonderful benefits that social media can offer to a business, but also there are some challenges and pitfalls to navigating social media.
Managing effective social media campaigns can be time-consuming. If you don’t have the proper resources to create thoughtful posts, interact with followers and answer questions in a timely manner, it can actually hurt a business. Potential clients may think that this is an example of how your customer service really is. The social media world is immediate, and it requires daily monitoring. A communications staff member may be able to handle this on their own, but many companies hire someone who focuses solely on social media. This may not be possible for a small business.
Another challenge is the possibility of getting negative feedback on your social media or even false and misleading claims made about your business. This can negatively impact your brand awareness if not handled effectively.
If you feel that have the resources to create a social media strategy and implement it, then it is time to choose the best social media platforms for your business. The first question to ask is – where is your audience hanging out? What social media platforms are they using? Another question to ask is HOW are they using the platforms? How are they interacting on these platforms? Which platforms align to your business goals? For example, if one of your goals is to increase awareness about a new product or service that could benefit from video tutorials, you should focus on video-only platforms. The general rule is to pick three social media platforms you align with and create a strong presence on them.
- Instagram: With over 1 billion monthly users, it is likely that at least a segment of your audience spends time on this platform. Instagram is most popular with teens and young adults and allows you to share diverse and interactive content – such as photography and videos. If your target audience is under 40 and your business relies heavily on visual content – this would be a good platform for you.
- YouTube: YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, behind Google. 74% of American adults say they use YouTube regularly. YouTube is a video-only platform, therefore it’s a great place for brand tutorials, product reviews, instructional content, and interviews.
- Facebook: Facebook has nearly 3 billion monthly users and is the most social media platform in the world. While it is remains popular, in recent years, some negative news has caused many younger users to switch to other platforms, Facebook still remains a solid platform to share industry news, videos, visually engaging content such as brand images. With most users over the age of 40, Facebook is a great place to start conversations and create an online community.
- Twitter: Those that use Twitter are highly engaged, averaging multiple daily visits to the platform. Twitter’s users are highly tech-savvy and into business, marketing, and politics. Men are the largest users of Twitter, and most users are between the ages of 35 and 65. Twitter is a great place to communicate news, share small bits of content, and offers the ability to communicate directly to your audience in real time.
- TikTok: TikTok hit the social media scene in 2018 and has remained popular ever since. With over 1 billion monthly users, it is one of the top social media platforms in the world. Half of TikTok users are under the age of 29, so the audience is a younger one. Short form video is the only kind of content that can be shared here. Fun, catchy content is popular on TikTok. If your audience is a younger one and you want to share fun and entertaining content, this is the platform for your business.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking site that has become a trusted resource for job opportunities, connections, and career advancement. The user base is 60% between the ages 25 – 34 and this is a platform that can be used for lead generation. Posts that contain graphics get the most attention here, so you want to create engaging content combined with eye-catching graphics.
The rewards of social media can be advantageous for your business, but it is important to have a social media strategy in place before you dive into it. A successful social media strategy involves a plan to create compelling content, a way to engage quickly and consistently with customers and a goal in mind (increase brand awareness, increase website traffic, generate sales.) If you spend the time creating a strategy before you post your first post, this will help to ensure social media success. Stay on course with your strategy and focus on tailoring your messages around your goals.
If you are looking to ramp up your social media presence, contact us at Smart Connections PR to discuss ways to increase your social media presence and boost brand awareness and loyalty.