Social media is a collective term that encompasses various online communities where people – and businesses – interact, post and share information, news, entertainment and stories.
With such a large number of users, and with diverse types of social media platforms, as many as 87 percent of marketers have cited social media as their most common content marketing delivery mechanism.
Not only does social media provide brands more platforms to share content, it also gives them the opportunity to have direct conversations with their followers and provide customer service. Brands become more humanized through responses and can build stronger relationships.
Reaching a targeted audience
Social media allows marketers to reach specific audiences that relate to their niche(s). For instance, LinkedIn is an effective platform for B2B marketers to reach their desired audience. Instagram is good for brands who have a strength in developing photos and striking visuals. Snapchat is ideal for brands who tend to target younger audiences.
Other community-based forums such as Reddit and Quora give brands the opportunity to participate in conversations and build brand recognition.
Many of these platforms also offer paid media options with excellent targeting characteristics to reach specific audiences. This makes it easier for brands to get their content directly in front of an audience as part of their demand generation strategy.
Social media best practices
What works and what doesn’t on social media is not a one-size-fits-all. A brand’s industry, size, brand personality and other characteristics will determine what kind of content and topics resonate with their social audiences. However, there are a few common best practices to keep in mind:
- Examine your posts and sites from the point of view of user experience – add more media-rich content like eye-catching visuals and entertaining videos.
- Use a social media scheduling tool to plan and track social media activity.
- Assign social media/customer service staff to provide personalized answers to user questions and comments, avoiding repetitive, formulaic responses.
- Know your target audience. This will provide insight into which social platforms will be most effective for a brand to be active on.
- With so many components to social media, the most successful brands have a documented social media strategy to guide their plan and process