The question in marketing circles long ago moved away from “should I use social media” to “what channels and how.” The problem is, the answers can change as quickly as your Twitter feed.
And there are few one-size fits all solutions. While there are general rules about which channels are best for say, tourism companies vs. news outlets, the more vexing questions revolve around how much time and money you have to spend on developing and maintaining an effective plan.
A hotel giant, for instance, might have the budget for a full social media team to do everything from posting regular Instagram pictures of its paradise-like retreats to responding to guests’ comments or complaints in real time. At the same time, their executives maybe engaged in B2B circles on LinkedIn, while their advertising officials are developing branded content for YouTube.
For most companies, however trying to jump onto every channel can do more harm than good.
“These people expect to find their favorite brands on each of the platforms they visit,” according to the book, “How to Adapt Your Brand. Pt. 1 Social Media.”
“But each platform has a unique language, and brands will need to speak that language be understood and appreciated.
That’s why most marketing experts agree the key to effective social media marketing lies in first defining your audience, your message, the type of content you want to share and resources – then handpicking the channels that best those criteria.
For instance, Dominique Jackson, a blogger for the social media management software company Sprout Social, says s great starting point is defining your target audience, then matching it against these social media demographics.
“For instance, if you’re primarily targeting women over 50 years old, Instagram probably isn’t the best option. You’re better off with Facebook or Pinterest,” he writes.
Next, Jackson and other experts agree, you should analyze the best channel for your industry, and what type of content you want to share.
Linkedin, for instance, is a great channel for blogs and networking. Instagram and Tubmlr works well for companies whose marketing is heavy on visual. Twitter is more news focused, and is effective for companies with the time and resources to interact with the news of the day. Facebook is the most popular, with 1.5 billion users — more than a billion of whom log on every day, according to Sprout Social.
In the midst of all this, however, it’s easy to forget about good old fashion print media, which despite all the hype in recent years about its demise, still has a very important place. In fact, there are many instances in which it is still the most effective.
A study by Penn State University in the early days of the Internet found that people reading print remembered significantly more advertising material from the front page of a printed newspapers than those who read the same front page online.
And with an increasing focus on the proliferation of fake news, print ads are still widely considered more credible.
In our next blog, we’ll take at the different types of content, and how to create and effective content marketing plan.