A Marketer’s Mise en Place
You wouldn’t go into culinary warfare without the right tools, so why leave your marketing plan up to fate? Social media is dominating the marketing world and the different platforms we use to communicate with our potential guests, clients, readers are our tools. Knowing the purpose and effectiveness each space provides puts you ahead of the competition. I want to analyze the heavy-hitting social platforms and talk through the importance of each.
If you haven’t heard of Instagram, you’re probably old. It is what it is. Instagram is a visual marketer's paradise. Stickers, quick video clips, boomerangs, shiny gifs, sparkly text, and every other trick used to grab attention thrives here. Since its inception a decade ago, the platform has continued to rise towards the top of the list in regards to social media marketing.
Over 500 million daily users take to this platform to visually share their life and the average age of your typical Instagrammer is 18–29. So, bear that in mind when planning your marketing strategy. You’ll be needing to keep it young, edgy, and relevant.
Instagram, like most other platforms, offers paid advertising. Even without paying for advertising, hashtags increase your potential visibility, helping compete against the 95 million photos that are shared in a single day.
How do you compete against that much traffic? Everyone has niched down, allowing marketers to target their customer groups with specified hashtags. Consistently, the most commonly used hashtags include ones dedicated to dogs, cats, food, photos, and selfies. These categories are broad and widely used, so you have to take it a step further. What breed of dog? What style of food? Hubspot compared hashtags to funnels. With the perfect funnel, you can catch the eye of your market.
If you haven’t started using Instagram in your marketing strategy, it’s time to consider it. Polls allow instant interaction and feedback from potential leads, hashtags help get your product in front of niche eyes, and Instagram continues to rise as one of the most prevalent platforms available. For any visual marketing, Instagram should be your first choice.
Facebook is the leader of the social media playground, even though it mostly consists of your parents arguing with strangers about politics. The range of ages, ethnicities, and social groups makes it the most used platform of Inc. Magazine’s top 500 companies for marketing. Since the platform sees over 2 billion monthly users and there isn’t a set demographic, it’s no wonder marketers flock to it.
The key here again is niching down. If there’s something you’re selling or promoting, there is a Facebook group already in place talking about the subject. Be specific and use niche hashtags the same as you would on Instagram. #nevernicheenough
The pure volume of users and content being generated forces marketing strategists to pay close attention to their customers. Via paid advertising, you set your demographics to funnel leads, but with the cost averaging a little over a quarter per click, it can get pricey. That being said, Facebook is still relatively cheap in the paid advertising game. Know your demographics and key in precisely who you are targeting in your marketing campaigns to save money.
The take-home is Facebook a wide, rambunctious world, with vastly differing demographics. Over 60% of EVERY American uses the platform to some degree. With some thought and strategy, Facebook fills the need of any and every marketer out there. You can do everything here:
- Completely run your ecommerce business.
- Instantly access direct testimonials and reviews of your product or service.
- Build customer relationships.
- Establish and maintain your brand’s reputation.
- Build brand awareness with targeting advertising.
Yep, that little blue bird our president loves to use so much should be on your marketing radar. It’s a place for opinions, sharing questions or advice, engaging with your community, and more than ever, highlighting your brand’s values. This is the platform where you speak your truths — use Twitter as your loudspeaker to address the things your brand cares about. Connect with your community, build others up by sharing their product if you believe in it, take a stance on trending social issues. Obviously, be aware of the repercussions, but as long as you stay true to your brand’s beliefs Twitter is a great place to let people know where you stand.
Twitter users range between 18–29 years old, similar to Instagram, which makes it a great place for connecting with Millenials and younger generations. They are quickly becoming a large portion of America’s spending power and have a tendency to support brands they connect with socially. Twitter doesn’t have the same return other platforms provide, in regards to marketing money spent, but with over 300 million monthly users, the ability to purchase demographic-specific advertising, and easy access to trending hashtags, Twitter is a formidable resource for online marketers.
We’re not seeing the same LinkedIn of yesteryear. The platform is in the process of making a big push and with millions of Americans looking for job placement, LinkedIn is setting the stage for marketers to reach the masses. Though paid advertisement can be pricey at $2-$5 per click, LinkedIn groups are gaining traction, and hashtags are helping reach your audience’s eyes. If you haven’t already picked up on the theme, you have to know who you’re targeting — they’re looking if you know how to find them.
The users of LinkedIn are older (30–63 on average) and professionally focused. That’s a good thing since “older” now includes Millenials. They’ve grown up, gone to college, and are looking for jobs. Especially if your business helps others find jobs, you want to be using LinkedIn right now. After the recession of 2008, professional recruiters and job head hunters thrived. Coming out of this one will be the same, and the territory is online.
Use LinkedIn as a place to market to the right employees, promote resume writing services and recruiting help, or promote your next online course. Anything and everything has a place but the platform caters to future education and job-related services.
But there’s more!!
In the marketing world, the four heaviest hitters are the ones I’ve already covered, but there are some new kids on the block and some old ones still providing value. I will say it again, niche groups and targetted marketing are key. All of these provide their own marketing advantages.
- Quora is essentially a question and answer platform but, like Wikipedia, all the answers are crowdsourced. It touts a monthly user base of 40 million. While Americans haven’t caught the Quora bug, (only accounting for around 25% of users) the platform is gaining the attention of younger, college students. Almost 50% of users are 18-24 years old. For marketing purposes, Quora provides a space for you to show your expertise concerning your industry, building trust for potential customers.
- TikTok is gaining popularity with younger demographics. Like its similar predecessor, Vine, the platform allows users to share whatever type of content they want in the form of short videos. You can add effects, music, and even do some edits to enhance your video. How can you use it in your marketing tool kit? Well, that depends on your market. Comedians, vloggers, and crafters do well here, but anyone who can entice someone in 15 seconds has a shot. It’s hot, trendy, and worth a look.
- Youtube has been around a long time. It’s changed over the years, but it is still the number one place for people to search for videos. With over a billion users, any marketer can stake a claim in this territory, whether they know it or not. Paid advertising is the easiest way for any marketer. Simply add a quick ad promoting your product or service to a video related to the same field. For those looking to save some money and get a little more DIY, Youtube has made integrating your website, featured videos, and additional links throughout any video you upload. Top all that off with the fact they have the largest demographic of any platform, and you quickly see the value.
- Pinterest isn’t just for arts and crafts. Figuring out how to navigate this world of recipes, DIY projects, and everything else under the sun can be overwhelming, but stick with it. Even though it ranks low in marketing, it is the fourth most used social media platform. 500,000 businesses use the platform for a variety of industries. Pins can link back to product pages, websites, company blogs. Provide value, identify your niche, and take advantage of this often-overlooked platform.
- Reddit is a space often passed over by marketers. But because of its highly narrowed threads and subthreads, marketers can directly connect with specialized markets. Not to mention it’s the 6th most used website in America — that’s a lot of visibility. Similar to Twitter, it works primarily as a platform for social information, but instead of following people, you follow topics. The system of upvoting allows marketers to see how the majority of people feel about topics. Just understand Reddit isn’t a quick flip. To succeed as a marketer here, you must first show value to the community you’re a part of. From there, you build trust and show authority, creating a dedicated following.
Provide value, connection, and get creative
If you aren’t connecting and providing value, you are wasting your time on whatever platform you choose. But by knowing what each available platform offers, you can understand how to better provide these things as a business. There’s are endless opportunities to connect directly with people, and sometimes you have to reimagine the way things marketing is done. Movie buffs, novelists, vagabonds, fetishes, whatever you can think of, there’s a group or entire app dedicated to connecting people. Learn the different platforms and dive into the ones that allow you to connect. Marketing doesn’t have a specified plan or a select few platforms. Learn, connect, provide value, and have fun with everything the marketing world has to offer.
I love talking shop. Feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, personal strategies. I’m into all of it. Thanks for reading.