It may come as a surprise that only 60% of UK businesses use social media as a marketing tool, when the possibilities are endless for business growth including brand awareness and increased sales.
In fact, social media is one of the cheapest forms of marketing, majorly benefiting small businesses and start-ups. It’s free to set up an account and you can focus on your organic social media efforts without the need for a marketing budget.
So why do SMEs shy away from social? Businesses may avoid choosing social media as a viable marketing channel as they don’t know where to focus their attention. ‘Should I be tweeting?’, ‘Is IG where I need to be?’, it can be a maze of confusion for companies that have never really ventured into social media before.
Before we dive into different social media platforms, you must take into account the following questions when weighing up which channels to include in your marketing strategy.
What Are Your Business Goals?
What do you actually want to achieve from social media? All of your activity must link back to your overarching business objectives whether that’s using social media for top-funnel or bottom-funnel goals. Different platforms will work better for different objectives - for example, Instagram won’t let you put links on posts meaning you probably wouldn’t see a massive increase in web traffic using this particular platform.
What Resources Do You Have?
Every business wants to see significant ROI for the lowest cost. How much time and money do you have to spend on your social media marketing? If you do all of your marketing in-house, do you have plenty of team members to update five different social media platforms? Otherwise, if you outsource to an agency, you may want to keep costs low by focusing on the two most popular platforms for your business.
What Are Your Competitors Using?
Just because you love using Instagram outside of work doesn’t mean it will be a good fit for your business as well. Take a look at where your competitors are posting and, most importantly, where are they finding success? Opt for platforms that have proven results in your industry.
What Are Your Target Audience Using?
The best social media platform for your business is the one where your target audience spends the majority of their time. Don’t make an account on every platform as managing multiple accounts that don’t really gain you any business is time-consuming and a waste of resources.
The top social media platforms that businesses across the globe use are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn...
- For companies that have a paid social budget and want access to an extremely advanced advertising platform
- 2.27 billion monthly active users
- 74% women and 62% men of all online users
- Highest age demographic - 81% of 18-29 year olds
- For companies that have ‘Instagrammable’, visual content and products
- 1 billion monthly active users
- 39% women and 30% men of all online users
- Highest age demographic - 72% of 13-17 year olds
- For companies that like to start conversations and jump on trending topics/hashtags
- 330 million monthly active users
- 24% women and 23% men of all online users
- Highest age demographics - 18-29 year olds
- For companies that wish to target business professionals
- 303 million active monthly users
- 25% women and 25% men of all online users
- Highest age demographic - 30-49 year olds
Of course, they are not the only social media platforms you might consider. There’s also Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube and even up-and-coming TikTok. Think about the audience you wish to target and what platforms they’re likely to use. You may want to send out a survey to your existing customers/clients to find out which social media channels they engage with regularly.
To make sure you’re utilising the right social media channels, you should review your analytics at the end of the month. Take into account the main metrics you’re interested in, such as, reach, engagement, link clicks, etc. Consider correlating your social media analytics with Google Analytics to track website traffic. Do visitors from a certain platform spend longer on your site or make more purchases? Focus your efforts on social media accounts that have quantitative data to back up your reasoning.
It’s important to spend time on social media platforms that will help you reach your business goals, backed up with facts and data. You must keep monitoring performance monthly because a platform that worked a year ago might not be as successful today. Where you focus your marketing activities should shift with the times - go where your audience goes!