Every day, I check my Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter anywhere between five and ten times on my iPhone. I get on Facebook, Poshmark, Pinterest, and LinkedIn probably about once or twice a day. And to be honest, I don’t think I’m on social media that often. I am one out of 75 million millennials living in the U.S., and because most of us have similar social media habits, it’s crucial for businesses to get onto social media if they are going to reach us.
According to this report, there are more than 800 active social networking sites, including mobile apps and digital platforms. The market for social networks has a compound annual growth rate of 20.11 percent over the period of 2014-2019, and it is not expected to decrease anytime soon.
Businesses that effectively use social media follow a few key strategies; they engage, advertise, and experiment with new platforms.
1. Engage Your Audience
Posting on social media is not the same as engaging with your followers. It’s just as important to reply, comment, and like what others are saying as posting about your newest products. The greatest thing about social is that your customers are already showing off the products they love — you just need to be listening to what they have to say.
Instagram has been one of the best engagement tools in the past few years. With the ability to #hashtag anything, it’s super easy and quick to find your loyal customers and see what they’re posting about. Here are two examples of two extremely different companies reaching out to followers and reposting their images.
2. Advertise to Potential Buyers
During 2013, internet advertising surpassed newspaper advertising for the first time. According to Bryant Harland, “Social advertising spend is on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. While display ads still play a key role in terms of brand awareness and new product discovery, getting the most out of social media marketing requires a greater emphasis on aiding networkers in conducting deeper research and helping them find information that is truly relevant to their needs.”
Social media advertising is a tangible driver of leads and sales. Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks are filled with hundreds of potential buyers. The best way to advertise on social effectively is to use targeting features, rotate ads, know what you’re paying for, and design ads with smartphones in mind.
3. Experiment with New Platforms
New social media platforms sprout up all the time, and one of the biggest challenges is quickly identifying which one consumers are going to latch onto. Snapchat is a perfect example. Although it took off for teens and young adults alike, at first it was viewed as an impossible tool for marketing. Snapchat's 10 second videos and photos just didn’t seem realistic for brands to use. However, companies such as Taco Bell, ESPN, Cosmo, and others have found creative ways to take advantage of this social tool.
Be ready to try out new social apps and websites so you can be there when your customers want to find you.
Social media usage isn’t slowing down. It’s important to use the same outlets as your target customers, but testing out new social tools is smart too.
To learn more about how you can use social media as a market researcher, check out our free white paper.
Thanks for reading!