1st November 2021

Social Media Top Trumps, who wins? 

Social Media Top Trumps, who wins?

There is a natural tendency for businesses to want to be as visible as possible, 24/7, and the benefits of social media allows for this. With 4.33 billion social media users worldwide, it's never been a better time to get social. Social media and websites are the shop window of your business, and with each platform reaching a different target audience, it makes total sense to want to be as visible as possible.

What channels should you use?

According to Hootsuite’s latest social media report, Facebook, YouTube and WhatsApp are the world’s most used social media platforms. Facebook and YouTube are the longest running platforms, but as they age so do their audience. It’s fascinating to watch in real-time! 

Comparatively, WhatsApp tops the favourite social media list, with Facebook and Instagram following closely behind. The more you know!

The downside of being everything to everyone is reality; it’s exciting to be on social media as it is a direct link to potential customers, but once the excitement wears off, the maintenance sets in. And when you’ve got to juggle all the plates for your business, social media will almost always fall by the wayside. 

The best way to manage your social media strategy is to be selective in your platforms. Most companies don’t need to be on all platforms, as it’s not necessary and you’re always going to reach your demographic. 

So, how do you decide which channels you need? You will need to:

  1. Think about your skills and resource
  2. Think about where your audience is
  3. Think about your time
  4. Think about what social channels you enjoy using 

To make your life easier, we have broken down which channels you should be using to enhance your overall marketing strategy. 

Facebook

Facebook has been around since 2004 (we know, we can’t believe it either), and overtook MySpace as the most popular channel in the noughties. It’s used much more now, but as it’s aged, so has its audience. 

Facebook has some really good paid advertising options for organisations looking to sell into the B2C space, and has some of the best targeted audience builders out there. Facebook is suitable for business as marketing activities are low-cost with high reward. With 2.21 billion users, it’s the place to be, for most businesses! 

The gender split on Facebook is fairly even, at 43.7% of female users, and 56.3% of male users. Most social media platforms have even splits across both genders, (the downside of using gender as a monitoring tool is that not all genders are accounted for, but even Google has a way to go on gender representation), but if you sell products that tend to be geared towards men or women, it is a useful generic metric. 

The biggest age group on Facebook is 25-34 year olds, which makes sense really as this is the platform a lot of millennials grew up on. Again, as we’ll discuss further in this blog, the age split is weighted heavily towards younger people across all channels, but Facebook is particularly good for targeting older people, as 2020 saw a resurgence in boomer users. 

Do you think about how your users reach your social content? The percentage of Facebook users who access the network on their phones is 98.4%. So content needs to be optimised for mobile devices, not necessarily desktops. Facebook allows businesses to share pictures, videos and updates with both current and potential customers. 

It allows you to build a direct customer service experience, with a real person at the end of the chat function and can be more efficient than having staff answer phones (or keeps the lines clearer). It’s not just about being seen!

YouTube

The YouTube market space has exploded in the last 10 years. It used to be a space where people could upload funny home videos (oh how they still do it) but now it has become a social media giant. The platform began allowing adverts in early 2009, making YouTube one of the most lucrative platforms out there. Ordinary people can create entire livelihoods from vlogging and creating content!

Like Facebook, there are billions of users (2.29 billion to be precise), with 1 billion hours of video content being watched every day! For companies who create video content such as tips, insights and tricks, people watch YouTube to pass the time but also to learn. ‘I’m going to YouTube it’ is now a fairly common phrase (certainly for DIY projects that is very true); you know it must be a powerful tool if it’s own name has become a verb. 

The biggest age demographics accessing YouTube’s services (including advertising space) are Gen Z and millennials. If your business is geared towards younger people, then it is definitely worth it. There is the need to adapt tone accordingly, and most videos are fun, engaging and informative. You are teaching your audience by using YouTube, as this is one of the biggest reasons people visit YouTube, so if you have a skills offering this could be really good for your business. 

Instagram

The home of selfies and fun dog videos, Instagram has a potential audience reach of 1.29 billion users. 1/7 of Earth’s population is on Instagram, and that is huge! All those people and businesses you could be reaching are right there at your fingertips. 

Instagram is owned by Facebook, so when you want to run adverts, you run them through Facebook Business Manager and get your ads across three platforms (Instagram, Facebook and Messenger), so it is worth investing in Instagram if your organisation has the time and resources to create stunning visual content. Instagram is all about the visual impact, and content can be off-putting if the image isn’t optimised. 

Customers will want to look for you on Instagram, through hashtags and the search function. Having a presence there is more likely to stop your potential customers going to your competitors. Instagram allows for transparency and acts as a shop window into your company, including behind the scenes content and products or services. It’s a virtual word of mouth platform, with many happy customers taking to their personal platforms to review your offering. That’s free advertising right there! 

LinkedIn

We think it’s vital for businesses to have a LinkedIn company page, especially if they are selling into the B2B space. The biggest age range is between 25-34, (we know, millennials strike again)  but the platform is growing rapidly for the 35-54 demographic. Over the years, LinkedIn has blurred the lines and is heading towards an interface similar to Facebook, but for employees building personal brands it allows them to show their professional personalities, and in turn promote the spirit of their organisation. 

LinkedIn company pages are driven by employees, which is great for making business connections. The company page gives potential clients an overview of your brand and also allows the function of showcase pages for special projects, acting as spin offs from the main page. Particularly for recruitment, the first place potential recruits will look at is the company LinkedIn (especially if they’ve been job searching on LinkedIn anyway) and will follow your page if it’s of interest. 

Google and other search engines rank LinkedIn company pages, so regularly updating and optimising posts for SEO will improve performance. It all feeds back to the website which supports the overall marketing strategy and goals. 

Snapchat

Snapchat is famous for its ephemeral nature, but it can be a good advertising space for the right company. There is a potential global reach of 528.2 million users for advertising, with a huge segment of that audience aged between 13 and 20. If you are aiming towards a younger audience, Snapchat certainly lets you get down with the kids and get into their awareness range. 

Snapchat has a range of features that make it useful for brand awareness and sharing important updates. You can increase engagement with the use of geofilters, which allow users to use a custom filter on their photo. The filter can be shared with friends which automatically increases engagement. There are also useful analytics on these filters so you can see your reach and adjust your content accordingly. Who doesn’t love trying out the latest filters for selfies?

Twitter

Twitter has interesting advertising capabilities. It differs from its social siblings as the platform has always been predominantly text based. 

The birthplace of the hashtag, it is one of the only platforms that has a disproportionate gender split, with 63.7% of male users and only 36.3% of female users that can be accessed via advertising. It’s not clear why this should be the case, but it’s certainly interesting. There have been studies documenting why this should be the case, with some academics stating there is a difference between how men and women use language on Twitter (including hashtag selection and tagging behaviour). This psychology insight is fascinating!

Twitter allows companies direct two-way communication with customers, showing your brand in a positive light and it’s a spotlight on your brand identity. Twitter allows your company to communicate the brand ethos with more personality, as the content is publicly and directly interacting with other brands, clients, observers and other users to join in the social commentary. Businesses of all sizes can use Twitter to grow their business. 

TikTok

Rising to fame in 2020, TikTok has become the hometown of dance crazes and memes, but it could potentially be a strong part of your social strategy.  It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like dance, comedy, and education, with durations from 15 seconds to three minutes

TikTok allows you to maximise creativity for your content creators AND your customers. When content is created and shared, it sparks conversation and is part of social commentary. It can even start new trends!

TikTok users are able to use common sounds with other users, such as dueting, stitching and reacting to other videos through their green-screen feature. This increases exposure as the algorithm will push your content out to more users. 

As a platform, TikTok is growing and always updating its features, keeping it a fun and fresh place to be. Other platforms have started to feel threatened by TikTok’s influence, as they have started to roll out some of the video-focused features in order to compete. TikTok is also always ahead of the curve, at the forefront of trends. 

Conclusion

Consider where your customers live. Even if it’s where you are most uncomfortable. Social media as part of your overall marketing strategy is a very important component. It’s not just tweeting here and there, or putting a post out on Instagram for the sake of visibility. 

Behind each platform there needs to be a considered approach, and deciding which platforms to be on is a big part of that. Remember to think about your resource, time, client base and current knowledge, as these will be big factors in the success of your social media strategy.