If you’re starting out with your new business, you know that the only way to get sales/orders is by getting your business some customers. And you also know that a “make and wait” approach never works… if you do that, your business is doomed.
But how do you get customers to know your brand-new business? TV, Print, and Radio Ads are all old school, traditional marketing mediums… way beyond the budget of an average Joe or Jane! Enter – digital media. So effective and cheap, that even the biggest brands are now allocating more marketing budgets to digital media marketing than traditional media marketing. Here’s a rough breakdown of their effectiveness:
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Clearly, digital media marketing gives more bang for the buck. Now, let’s dive deeper into one aspect of digital marketing i.e. social media marketing and how you can use the power of social media to boost your brand!
Social media marketing has proved to be a game changer for established businesses and start-ups alike. It is the best and the cheapest way to target the right customers, engage with them, and build a solid brand image for a business. Social media enables targeting broad or narrow audiences and acts as an interactive interface between businesses and prospective customers.
Being active on social media may seem simple enough but creating a brand presence on there is a skill that requires meticulous planning and tactful strategizing. You have to create content that’s worthy of people hitting the “follow” button and you have to find a unique voice that superbly resonates with your audience’s way of thinking.
Every business does not need to be present on all social media platforms to get optimum results. You just have to work to your strengths and be present wherever your audience is! For some, this may mean maintaining a presence on 6-7 social platforms; whereas, for others, a presence on just 1-2 social platforms does the trick!
Choosing The Right Social Media Platforms For Your Online Business
The principal social media platform, Facebook, is used by pretty much every type of business, even if it is just to maintain some online presence. In fact, some small businesses decide not to have a website at all and just use their Facebook page or group to receive orders! Facebook is great for B2B businesses as it is increasingly limiting the reach of Facebook page posts. So, B2C businesses that spend a lot of time creating the perfect Facebook posts, often times don’t get the expected reach that they deserve. That being said, B2C businesses should still maintain a presence on Facebook in order to get more likes to their brand. But they don’t need to spend too much energy on the platform. Please note: if you want to market and advertise on Instagram, it is mandatory to have a Facebook page!
Facebook is best for brands into e-commerce; entertainment, news, or media; restaurants and food; travel; and other aspirational or relatable products.
Often referred to as the ‘professional’ version Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to connect with professionals, business people, and thought leaders from various fields. It is designed as a B2B medium and provides the best results for marketing B2B businesses and brands.
If you are a B2B company or a big business, your primary social media focus should be on LinkedIn. Use the platform to connect with more people in your industry as well as thought leaders. You can add value to your brand by using the platform to post compelling content, write articles, read posts and comment on them, help other individuals out, etc.
More than any other platform, Twitter is where the “trends” really happen and guess what – they can change every minute! So, Twitter is great for sharing trending topics and news; opinions; short life updates (if you’re famous); and thoughts and jokes. Twitter also allows users to participate in brand contests and easily find like-minded people to follow. So, if you’re a news or media company, Twitter will work out superbly for you. This is the same for celebs and internet celebs; journalists; and FMCG companies who want to keep increasing their follower count by hosting several contests and giveaways. Generally speaking, you should be present on Twitter only if you can dedicate enough time to it. With Twitter, you need to react quickly. Jump in on the trends, be the first few people to tweet about a breaking news item, get in on conversations, immediately respond to anyone who tweets to you regarding a complaint or otherwise, and just using the platform continuously for customer service and relationship marketing.
We suggest Twitter to be used by companies who are into FMCG products, e-commerce, service, news and media, celeb management, politics, sports, and finance.
The second biggest search engine after Google, YouTube has a reach and influencing power that cannot be denied. On YouTube, you can find channels dedicated to fashion, fitness, make-up and hair, Do It Yourself, short films, sketches, knowledge, tutorials, reviews, hacks, news, interviews, and pretty much anything you can imagine that can be conveyed through a video. Just like Facebook, YouTube can be used by both B2C as well as B2B brands for their promotional activities. Brands into mass appeal content (like those mentioned above) will find that YouTube flourishes for them and pretty much takes care of a lot of content that can be pushed out on other social media platforms too. For high investment purchase brands (like real estate), showcasing their products and services on YouTube helps to build brand awareness and trustworthiness. Potential customers will likely try to find the brand’s videos before making a purchase decision. A YouTube channel will also come in handy for businesses who want to use a video on their website or blog as the videos are usually embedded via YouTube itself.
Maintaining a presence on YouTube may be more expensive compared to other social media platforms due to the high production value of each video. However, video marketing is on the rise and if you can manage the costs in the short run, your investment will definitely be justified in the long run. So, if you can use videos to sell your product/service better, we say you go for it!
Pinterest can be very confusing for people who come to the platform for the first time. Allow us to make it simpler for you: Pinterest is basically a digital pinboard that anyone can use to create curated lists for specific folders or “boards”. Let’s say you create a board – “Travel Bucket List”. So, any exciting image you find all over the web and on Pinterest can be pinned to that board. Under this board, you can also create sections. For instance, create a section “Milan” for your upcoming trip to Milan and save any image you find about what to see / eat in Milan there. You can create as many boards as you’d like to cater to your different interests. You can also upload pictures from your desktop and show off your images or what you’ve tried! It is important to ensure that your pins are visually appealing as the focus on this platform is majorly images.
Pinterest is great for creating mood boards, getting inspiration, or just keeping stuff you like together in one place. So, if you’re a brand that is into photography, e-commerce, weddings and events, D.I.Y. tutorials, arts and crafts, home décor, travel, make up, hair and so on, Pinterest will work well for you. Just make sure to link your pins to your main blog page or website! You can create buyable pins too allowing users to buy your product without leaving Pinterest!
Like Pinterest, Instagram also focusses on images. Any business that needs to portray their products or services through visuals, has the potential to do well on Instagram. However, investing in a good photographer, good camera equipment, and coming up with good concepts are essential to succeed on Instagram. You can also go “behind the scenes” using the story feature and save evergreen story content on highlights! Ask yourself: Does my brand needs to communicate through pictures and videos? If yes, you know you have to be on Instagram. Many industries (like FMCG) can use the medium to post creatives and reach out to the large audience present there. They can also conduct contests and giveaways with their followers.
Some of the brands that could succeed on Instagram include those of food and beverages, fitness, fashion, lifestyle, photography, adventure sports, travel, arts and crafts, makeup, hair, etc. Since these are visually appealing brands, Instagram will be one of the key mediums to portray their businesses. Instagram also is a great platform for influencers to build their fanbase and promote themselves to businesses for influencer marketing.
Snapchat is a goldmine for businesses targeting millennials. You can advertise on the platform through video ads, filters and paid collaborations with influencers. And, you can use the app more natively by releasing behind the scenes footage, new collections, exclusive promo codes, etc. People who use Snapchat are extremely loyal to the platform and are not heavily influenced by any other platform like Facebook or Instagram.
There lies no point in setting up a diverse social media plan if your audience mainly uses only one or two social platforms. A complete study on what mediums your target audience uses is essential to kickstart your marketing plan. It is equally important to study the mediums your competitors are on and find out which platforms are working for them, how they are utilizing it, and so on.