Social Media Platforms
What are social media platforms?
Social media platforms refer to online platforms and tools that allow people to create, share, and exchange information and content with others. Examples of social media platforms include Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok. Collectively they have become an integral part of social media marketing, allowing businesses to connect with target audiences, build brand awareness, and drive engagement and conversions.
The term 'social media' was first coined in the early 2000s when social networking sites like Friendster and MySpace gained popularity. Since then, social media has evolved into a powerful marketing strategy tool that businesses can use to connect with their existing and new audiences.
What are the characteristics of a social media platform?
The essential elements of social media platforms include:
User-generated content means that users can create and post content, either text, image or video.
Sharing and commenting features including engagement metrics, such as likes and shares and the ability to engage in online conversation with others on the platform.
Real-time communication and engagement.
Data analytics and insights which show how well marketing campaigns and efforts are performing, and how they can be optimized to improve.
Mobile accessibility because users engage with social media platforms from their phones.
Benefits of using social media platforms for marketing
Social media platforms offer several benefits for businesses looking to improve their marketing efforts. The main ones are:
01. Increased brand awareness and visibility
With millions of users on social media platforms, there is huge reach for brands who are able to make their content go viral.
02. Improved customer engagement and loyalty
Social media platforms are recognized as an effective way to not only reach customers but to engage them with a brand also. The platforms are made up of strong online community's, and allow brands to build their own network of potential customers.
03. Cost-effective advertising options
Advertising on social media can be organic or paid, and generally there are paid options for all budget sizes.
Best practices for using social media platforms for marketing
If you're looking to get started with marketing on social media platforms, there are a number of best practices to keep in mind when building your strategy if you want to make maximum impact.
01. Develop a clear social media strategy with specific goals and objectives
The first step in building an impactful social media strategy would be to choose which social media platform to run your efforts on. Different platforms speak to different target markets, and so make sure to do your research to find where your audience is. If you're looking to target a younger audience, you might choose TikTok over Facebook, for example.
At the same time don't forget to set the specific goals, with clear KPIs. These can vary between platforms but generally engagement metrics are important to track: likes, shares, reposts, comments.
You'll also need to consider what your CTA's will be. The goal of social media marketing usually revolve around brand awareness and elevation by keeping users engaging with your brand on the platform. But you can also consider ways to channel users from your social media content to your website, or landing page.
02. Creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with the audience
Content is how you engage your audience on social media platforms. Think about, and research, what types of content will resonate best with your potential users. This might be posts, images or videos. Different platforms format media in different forms, and it's important to consider this before planning what types of content you use.
03. Using social media analytics to track performance and adjust strategies accordingly
Once you've set your marketing KPIs for your social media efforts, you'll need to understand how to track them. Most social media platforms have in-built analytics tools for both organic and paid campaigns.
Once you have enough data, make sure to use it to understand what's working and what's not and then improve your campaigns in line with this.
04. Maintaining a consistent brand voice and image across all platforms
Even though audiences and content formats are different across social media platforms, you'll still need to focus on making sure your brand voice and identity is consistent across all platforms. This means your brand style and messaging reads the same, as this is what makes your brand recognizable.
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Challenges associated with using social media platforms for marketing and branding
While social media platforms offer many benefits for marketing departments and brands, there are also some potential challenges or drawbacks to consider:
The constant need for fresh, engaging content can be time-consuming and expensive. Generally it requires posting at least once a day to stay relevant.
Algorithm changes and updates can affect organic reach and engagement and undo progress made to build engagement and follower numbers.
Negative feedback or comments can damage brand reputation if not handled appropriately. You'll need to dedicate resources to handling these comments quickly
To overcome these challenges, businesses should focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with their audience, while actively engaging with their followers consistently, and also monitor their social media channels for any negative feedback or comments.
Social media platforms FAQ
What's the best social media platform for marketing?
The best social media platform for marketing depends on the target audience and the type of content being shared. For instance, businesses targeting B2B clients may find LinkedIn to be more effective than Facebook or Instagram.
How often should I post on social media platforms?
The frequency of posting on social media depends on the platform and the target audience. For instance, Twitter users expect more frequent updates than Facebook or LinkedIn users. However, quality is more important than quantity, so businesses should focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with their audience rather than spamming them with low-quality updates.