Social media has become a crucial part of society. And, as a result, a successful company should have a concrete grasp of social media. This will be your comprehensive guide to social media: which platform you should use and how to use it.
What Are the Advantages of Social Media Marketing?
The Internet is quickly becoming the best place for marketing. With websites like Amazon boosting online shopping over in-person shopping, products are able to reach much wider audiences than they would locally. In order to reach those audiences, you need social media.
It also forms a kind of network. With in-person or traditional online ad marketing, people are likely to skim the content of the ad and neglect it. They may even find it bothersome. But if you use social media to build a platform for your product, your followers see you as more than somebody trying to take their money. It forms a personal connection that’s more likely to be long-lasting.
Finally, social media is ubiquitous. The chances of somebody scrolling through your post, even if they don’t follow you, are high. Through the app’s analytics, your target audience will be filtered through to you. Somebody, at least, is going to see and pay attention to your content.
Goldilocks: Which Fits Best?
To be successful in social media marketing, a key idea is understanding who is most likely to see your content. Each platform has a targeted audience, divided by factors like age and socioeconomic standing. You should define your target demographic and then choose the platform that houses the most people in that demographic.
The second factor when choosing a platform to use is content. What kind of content can you commit to creating? Various social media platforms have different content styles, from short videos to blog posts, and it may be easier for you to make one than the other. Remember, social media should be a tool for you, not a hindrance.
The final factor is what you plan to do on social media: whether you decide to use paid advertisements or grow a following from scratch. This choice depends largely on your demographic. For example, elderly people are more likely to click on ads that are well–tailored to them—teenagers often aren’t interested.
Once you’ve defined your demographic, your commitment to content, and your plan, it’s time to choose a platform. There are three major ones that this guide will cover: Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.
Your Guide to Facebook Marketing
Facebook, the grandparent of social media. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s demographic tends to be parents. As of April 2021, 56.4% of its users were over 35, and the largest chunk of its user base was between 25- and 34-year-olds.
Keep in mind, the elderly tend to steer clear from social media, to begin with. It’s an enormous commitment to make and get used to so late in life, and the learning curve to be able to effectively use it is intense. However, if your demographic targets older people, your best chance of finding them is on Facebook.
Facebook also tends to cater slightly more to women. In the same April 2021 study as above, every designated age group had a higher percentage of women than men—except 25 to 34, in which the percentages were equal.
Now, we have established who tends towards Facebook. But what kind of content should you put out?
If you have decided to go the grow-a-following route, regular Facebook posts are the way to go. Include an image of what you’re writing about, and keep your post short but informative. If you have a lot of information to share, it helps to break up text into small paragraphs—people are more likely to read material that looks easily digestible.
For example, if your smoothie company is launching a new collection of vegan smoothies, your content might be a short description of the flavors, or what inspired you to create this new line. Facebook is where people want to get to know you, so give them something to learn.
Update your page often, and consider implementing some kind of scheduled weekly post. This helps keep your following base interested, as well as ensure your Facebook page is a reliable and up-to-date source. Also, try to interact with companies similar to yours—their fans will more easily find their way over to you.
Finally, if you have a concrete website, be sure to create a firm link between that and your Facebook page. Include your website link in your page bio, and add a Social Media tab on your official site. This will help boost traffic to your site. It also allows you to keep your page more entertaining. You can post important points there, but your viewers can look to your website for more information if they’re interested.
If you don’t have a concrete site (and definitely consider getting one!), then treat this Facebook page as your site. Frequent updates, visually interesting posts and good organization will all help grow your following base. Facebook is the most information-wealthy of the three main social media platforms, so treating your page as a website is more viable here than elsewhere.
If you’ve decided to go the paid advertisement route, however, Facebook is probably the best place to be. Their Ads Manager is sleek, easy to use, and quite effective at getting your product to the eyes of your market. Not to mention, Facebook’s user base is scientifically more likely to click on ads presented to them, due to their age grouping.
If you’re just starting out, Facebook Ads could give you a decent foundation of people familiar with your product, from which you could build your own following. However, if your product is already fairly well-known, ads might not be the way to go—simply because they aren’t worth the trouble.
Your Guide to Instagram Marketing
The middle child of the big three platforms, Instagram is all about aesthetics. Its age group ranges from 13 to 30, with no trend in the gender of its users—so to use it, you must focus on aesthetics as well.
Successful Instagram pages keep things visually interesting and unique and manage to maintain a theme throughout their posts. The best way to do this is to manipulate patterns while keeping color consistent. When looking at an overall feed, the patterns tend not to jump out, but a good color scheme ties the whole piece together. In individual posts, however, patterns are allowed to stand out.
A good example of this is Pura Vida®’s page. Their posts are organized in subtle groupings by color: beige, light blue, green, a different shade of light blue, etc., as you continue to scroll.
While simply looking over their feed, it looks cohesive. However, they change up the patterns in their posts by choosing what to photograph: cloth bag, girl surfing, dreamcatcher, denim jacket. Scrolling through these individually keeps each post visually interesting, but the overall color scheme remains the same.
Not sure how to create a cohesive feed? Not to worry! Websites like Colorkuler take the most prevalent color in each of your posts and create a palette of your Instagram feed. From here, you can see which colors you should include more of or what you might want to rein in.
We know that Facebook is the best platform for consistently sharing lots of information, but Instagram can handle that occasionally, too! However, you still have to keep things visually interesting. The solution? Infographics.
Infographics are a great way to get your audience to look at the important points of your post, which will hopefully spark their interest enough to warrant further research. Most Instagram users will refrain from reading excessively long captions because they’re on this platform to be entertained—infographics maintain that.
Love to All Project, a nonprofit aimed at educating and funding LGBTQ+ students, does a fantastic job of Instagram infographics. Not only is their color presentation consistent, but they vary their style enough to keep the information engaging. The information is presented in concise sentences, with statistics if necessary, and its abruptness is balanced by the artistry of the graphic itself.
Another thing Instagram is well-known for is hashtags. Hashtags, when used properly, can boost your posts onto the Explore page, where people interested in your product or service will more easily see them.
However, hashtags can be hard to get a hold of, and popular ones fall in and out of usage. So, it’s best to start off with a hashtag guide, like this one. Once you’ve found a pattern of what tags work well for you, you can stick to those.
Your Guide to TikTok Marketing
TikTok, the last of the big three, is more difficult to manage. It’s addictive in nature because it’s almost exclusively entertainment, divided into 15-second videos for a short attention span. Ads on TikTok look completely out of place. To be successful here, you have to dive entirely into entertainment.
First, their user base: 25% of their users are between 10 and 19, and another 22.4% are between 20 and 29. As with Instagram, there doesn’t seem to be a gender preference amongst their users. TikTok is very much a youthful app—to make it work for you, you have to work for them.
Second, how their content works: TikTok users create 15-second-long videos (though they can range up to a minute if need be) by using pre-recorded sounds. That might be a popular song, audio from somebody else’s video, or even just a funny collection of sounds. They can then add stickers and text to their videos.
There are two routes of content you could take: comedy or aesthetic. Both of these follow the fast-paced trends of the app, and both require the use of popular sounds. However, one may be easier to create than the other, depending on your product.
For example, if your company sells make-up, it would be easier to do aesthetics—a chicken nugget company would probably resort to comedy, and a surfing company could be in-between. If your product can be marketed for its look, over its function, aesthetic would be the way to go.
An example of an aesthetic-style company that does well is Shekou, a clothing company. Their content focuses on their product, and they use trending sounds and hashtags to get on the For You page. But their content is about displaying the clothing, the details in the fabric, and how they can be styled. Their sounds also tend to be music instead of vocal, which comedic content often uses.
In contrast, Ryanair does a fantastic job with comedy. The European airline has greatly boosted their image by making TikToks that are both funny and follow trends. They cater their content to the product, the airplane itself, and market their low prices through comedy.
A common trap that businesses fall into on social media is the guilt trip: instead of keeping the focus of their content on the product, they shift it to the people instead. Nuggs, a vegan chicken nugget company, is struggling with this. Their content focuses largely on the person who runs the account and not exclusively on their product. If you simply ask people to follow you, the odds are that they won’t—content is key.
TikTok marketing is about building a relationship between your company and your followers, so it’s key to respond to comments. By interacting with your viewers, you show them that you’re paying attention. It also helps to answer frequently asked questions in the comments, and a higher number of comments boosts your general engagement.
If you don’t know where to start, however, you can turn to a guide. TikTok trends move quickly. Some have even gone in and out over the span of a day. So, naturally, it gets difficult to keep up with the trends enough to create good content around them. You could use a trend watch service, like this one, to stay up-to-date. Or, consider hiring somebody as a social media manager.
Can Somebody Else Do It?
Social media marketing seems easy, but keeping up with demographics and consistently creating content is a tedious process. That’s why it can help to hire somebody else to do it. Reputation management companies, like Repute PR, often have a team devoted to boosting your company on social media.
They do this in various ways. Facebook posts, for instance, are written and tailored to bring the most engagement possible to your company. They can also find and work with social media experts to create visual content for Instagram or entertaining content for TikTok.
The benefit of this is more free time for you! Growing your business should be your first priority, and you can leave social media growth to people trained to do it efficiently.
Repute PR’s team is comprised of professional writers, research analysts, and digital marketing experts, among others—they have backgrounds in campaign management, journalism, and branding. They’ll be able to help you define your target audience, determine which platform works best for you, and subsequently guide your growth on that platform. Fret not—your company is in good hands with Repute PR.
How have social media tips helped you?