Social media is a key part of many marketing strategies. Whether it is always on social media or campaign specific, as more and more consumers turn digitally social, brands are following suit.
But do brands know how to operate in this social media space effectively? The answer: no for many brands! (Some brands are amazing, by the way!)
Therefore, let's start by looking at the basics of the role that each platform can play for brands, small and big.
Facebook is great for local businesses and services/products aimed at an older demographic.
As there is an older audience segment on Facebook, many tend to stick to offline shopping, rather than online shopping, meaning that local businesses can build up the credibility, fan base and conversation they need to succeed. It has great features, such as reviews, jobs, a shop, offers, events and more.
With larger brands, looking to target older consumers, Facebook is perfect. Facebook doesn't have the most success with younger consumers, so it is best not to invest heavily into Facebook when targeting younger audiences.
Instagram is great for e-commerce businesses, fashion brands, beauty brands, make-up/cosmetics brands and any brand that can make itself visually appealing. It tends to have a younger audience, partly due to the emphasis it has on aesthetics.
For e-commerce/DTC businesses and brands, the platform gives a virtual shop window for consumers to see and buy, all within the confines of the app, as the consumer's browser opens within the app. Although currently many products on the page go to external URLs, the wave of updates coming will continue to improve the consumer journey and sales.
Instagram also allows consumers to see the products in-situ or within the hands of an influencer, allowing them to get a taste of what it would be like in their hands.
Also worth noting is that Instagram is an image based platform, where brands are competing with so many pages to gain the attention of scrolling consumers. With so much content on the platform being updated daily, and an algorithm that seems to change daily, having quality content posted regularly will allow brands to win in this space.
Twitter is great for support accounts, updates, brand conversations and trends. Twitter tends to have a younger audience, with ages ranging from 13 to 39 as its majority of users.
As Twitter is a threaded platform, it allows conversations to take place easily, whether it is with influencers or brands. This is why many brands will use the platform for social customer service. Trends are also often founded on the platform, before they move to Instagram.
Snapchat is great for Behind The Scenes content, more personal influencer content and direct messaging between friends.
It has great lenses, filters, stickers and more that users can interact with to create personalised stories to share with friends and family. Influencers are able to have what feels like a more intimate relationship with their fans.
Ultimately the concept of stories, that is now so successful on Instagram, came from Snapchat. Therefore the platform must really understand its community of users.
Pinterest is great for inspiration and communities, whether that be hairstyle inspiration, a technology community, fashion inspiration, a meme community, home design inspiration or anything similar.
It allows all ideas and posts to be credited correctly, with links sitting on the platform but no actual owned content. It can help consumers to visualise the use of a product, allowing them to feel more comfortable when coming to purchase.
Similar to Instagram, it is a visual platform, with users skewing towards posts that look interesting or attractive to them.
LinkedIn is great for formal content, which is more business focussed. The platform has been developing in the past few years to include a lot more informal content, however the core of the platform skews heavily towards B2B sales interactions and communications.
Although the platform is not a consumer platform, I believe the platform is still great for brands to market directly to people, in a B2C way.
LinkedIn is also growing to be more of a social platform, with creators posting on a wide variety of topics, both business and non business related.
Whilst each platform has their own role to play, it is worth noting that every single social media platform has people at its heart, allowing communities to develop.
As brand owners and business leaders, never forget, the person you are speaking to, is actually a person.