08Aug 2018

A Marketer’s Guide to Leveraging Social Media

The Brandon Agency
By The Brandon Agency

From the smallest of start-ups to the biggest of international corporations, businesses of all sizes can reap the benefits of social media marketing and brand-building. Vast segments of the consumer population are active on social media (over 80% of the U.S. population had a social media profile in 2017, according to estimates), and social media gives businesses the opportunity to engage with these potential consumers, begin building a rapport and, ideally, create loyal customers. Further, the leading social platforms also allow advertisers to — perhaps more effectively and more granularly than with any other advertising avenue — specifically target their messages to consumers based on demographics, interests and behaviors. 

Read on for some interesting facts and infographics regarding some of social media’s heaviest hitters, plus a glimpse into the potential that social media marketing and brand-building can hold for your business.


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How social media can work for you

Paid advertising presents a big opportunity for businesses looking to reach consumers on social media, but it’s just one of the ways to further your brand using social media platforms. Without spending a dime on advertising, businesses can use their social media accounts to:

  • create and maintain brand advocates via sharing regular news updates and interesting content — and potentially inspire followers to spread the good word

As of 2015, 91% of all retail brands used multiple social media platforms, and the number of small to medium-sized businesses using at least one form of social media topped 80% years ago.

  • easily provide customer support, keeping clients satisfied with simple and speedy issue resolution or answers to questions

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  • gain consumer insights — without the need to create a focus group — via opinions shared about brands and products on social media

When mining for consumer insights, be sure to venture beyond your business’s own following, though — according to research, around 96% of people who discuss a brand online do not follow that brand’s owned social media profiles.


The top platforms — and what to use them for

Each of the biggest names in the social media business have their specific strengths. For example, while one platform may be a great spot for gathering consumer insights or engaging with consumers, another might be a better place for working with influencers. (And one familiar social media behemoth covers pretty much all of the bases.)

Consider these heavy hitters in social media, along with some of the top benefits businesses can realize by employing them:


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Fast facts about the top social media platforms

 

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Facebook (Founded in 2004, 2 billion monthly users)

What is it?: The clear leader and gorilla in the room among social networks, Facebook is something of a do-it-all platform — users can post comments; share photos, videos and links; play games; stream live video; send instant messages; post classified ads to sell their belongings; and much more.

Fast facts:

TBA Tip: Facebook Strategy

  • Use high-resolution photography
  • Video content is king - add subtitles, though - majority of videos on FB are consumed without sound
  • Tag pages when applicable/necessary
  • Post at optimized times when your audience is online and active
  • Implement contests/giveaways
  • Engage with fans - respond to every comment with a reply/question
  • Publish unique content customers can’t get anywhere else
  • Avoid highly promotional posts; algorithms have cracked down on brand posts that are self-serving - therefore, send fans off of Facebook
  • Use Facebook to host videos - if sharing a video from YouTube, directly download and embed the video so it autoplays on FB then link to the YT video link in post copy. Facebook rewards brands that host videos within their channel


Instagram (Founded in 2010, 700 million monthly users)

What is it?: This social-networking app is centered around sharing images and videos from a smartphone. Users can follow and interact with friends and businesses, whose photo and video posts will appear in the user’s news feed along with the comments that accompany them.

Fast facts:

TBA Tip: Instagram Strategy

  • Use high-resolution photography
  • Repurpose and encourage user-generated content (UGC)
  • Tag pages when applicable/necessary
  • Geo-tag location on all posts
  • Post at optimized times when your audience is online and active
  • Implement hashtag strategy
  • Engage with followers/comments
  • Implement contests/giveaways
  • Utilize Instagram Stories and now IGTV (link or link)
  • Link (“swipe up”) whenever possible/relevant if over 10,000 followers
  • This can be a business’s main platform for interacting with influencers/brand ambassadors


Twitter (Founded in 2006, 328 million monthly users)

What is it?: This online news and social-networking site allows users to post short messages (called “tweets”) that are sent to anyone who follows the user on the platform. The appeal to many users is that Twitter allows them to keep up with news and developments from the people and businesses they choose to follow, all at a glance thanks to the inherent brevity of the tweets.

Fast facts:

TBA Tip: Twitter strategy

  • Utilize photography/video on posts (video performs best)
  • Use appropriate hashtags
  • Incorporate links
  • Engage with fans
  • Monitor customers’ feedback
  • Host Twitter polls or contests
  • Post at the best times (for your audience)
  • Proactively reach out to people talking about issues, trends, conversations relevant to your brand


YouTube (Founded in 2005, 1.5 billion monthly users)

What is it?: This website is something of a warehouse for video content, all searchable and playable by the user. The millions of user-uploaded videos available here include movie trailers, music videos, DIY how-to videos, vacation highlights, amateur videos of pets and pranks — and just about everything else under the sun.

Fast facts:

TBA Tip: YouTube strategy

  • Regularly publish content
  • High-quality videos
  • Create specific content just for YouTube
  • Cater to global audience
  • Answer FAQs through video content
  • Work with SEO team to optimize keywords within titles, tags, and descriptions
  • Utilize a transcription service to add subtitles for high searchability
  • Paste transcription into video description


Reddit (Founded in 2005, 234 million monthly users)

What is it?: Touted as “the front page of the internet,” this website allows users to gather, share, comment on and vote on links or discussions of interest — including links to articles, videos, photos and pretty much anything else on the internet. The links are posted into topic-specific categories called “subreddits,” and users can subscribe to the subreddits of the most interest to them. This video briefly explains what Reddit is.

Fast facts:

TBA Tip: Reddit strategy

  • Be genuine, delicate, and natural. No blatant advertising or selling!
  • Make it conversational and helpful.
  • Find a relevant “subreddit” (a subforum within Reddit) and post and engage with users.
  • Good for showing off high-quality imagery sometimes.
  • Plenty of opportunities to enter the conversation in an organic way.
  • Takes some practice to get used to the community and how it works.
  • Longer history and higher number of upvoted posts means more authority.


Snapchat (Founded in 2011, 255 million monthly users)

What is it?: Particularly popular among younger internet users, this mobile-geared messaging platform/social network allows users to “chat” with friends by sending photos or short videos via the Snapchat app. (Some might think of it as being similar to texting via photos and videos.) Unlike other social networks and apps, though, the images and videos sent via Snapchat disappear just after the recipient views them — lending the platform something of an “in the moment” feel. A recent feature addition allows users to post photo and video “stories” that disappear after 24 hours.

Fast facts:

TBA Tip: Snapchat strategy

  • Build branded Snapchat filters and lens surrounding events, major campaigns to expand brand awareness
  • Promote filters on other social channels/email before activating
  • Utilize Snapchat stories to give fans a behind the scenes view  
  • Create unique content specific to Snapchat
  • Add to places’ story (hotspots on Snapchat map)
  • Keep content raw and realistic - show people, show insider perspectives
  • Implement sponsored messaging through Media team


Pinterest (Founded in 2010, 200 million monthly users)

What is it?: Something of an online corkboard for collecting and organizing visual media, Pinterest allows users to create themed “boards” on which they can “pin” images and links. Friends can see, like, comment on and “repin” the individual items and categorized boards in users’ digital collections.

Fast facts:

TBA Tip: Pinterest strategy

  • Make sure all photos are sized appropriately
  • Organize boards
  • Create boards for specific holidays/events
  • Implement hashtag strategy
  • Add links in pins
  • Pin pins multiple times
  • “Promote” (sponsor) pins through Media team
  • Use simple text on vertical pins to describe your pin (i.e., Top Vegan Recipes or 10 Gifts for Dad)

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