There are some amazing infographics that have been designed to highlight the various pros and cons of different social media sites as useful tools for marketing and advertising.
Depending on your business and your target audience, one or several of the social media sites is going to be more of a natural fit for your business marketing plans. Social media marketing or SMM is becoming as important to many businesses, including attorneys, consultants and other types of professionals marketing services rather than products.
These infographics, or cheat sheets if you prefer, are very effective at helping any business in developing the right type of SMM strategy. By understanding the basics for any social media platform, you can help to structure your messaging and advertising to attract your target audience.
The Basics of Social Media Sites
To orient your advertising, marketing and branding with the different social media sites, here is a quick snapshot of each as well as the pros and cons of each for branding and marketing:
*Facebook – most widely used social media site worldwide with over 128 billion users. Typically older audiences, about 65% of users over the age of 35 and about 60% female.
*Pros – offers in-site advertising that is easy to design, allows targeting of specific audiences, people 70% more likely to purchase products marketed on Facebook than other social media sites, excellent analytics in the advertising package
*Cons – advertising within the site is all pay and not organic, significant competition through already established brands
*Twitter – over 271 million users, 140 character messages or less with the option to share short 6 second videos (Vines) as well as images and links.
*Pros – good analytics and customer support, used more commonly by younger target audiences under 20 years of age, mostly male but changing
*Cons – very limited messages, posts are seen only for a limited time, can be expensive with a lower ROI
*Google+ – about 62% male users with about a third between 25 and 34 years of age, about 300 million members but not active users posting or using daily, uses connections of “circles” to create self-selecting groups.
*Pros – uses all Google analytics, SEO, YouTube and Adwords tools and features
*Cons – poor activity levels across the site make it less appealing for marketing and advertising, uncertain future with the platform
*LinkedIn – this is really a social media site for professionals, entrepreneurs and companies to interact. Often used for recruiting, branding and marketing for B2B companies, has built-in analytics and tracking abilities.
*Pros – focused target groups, highly interactive, corporate and individual profiles, ability to post articles and content and interact to develop networks, ideal for branding and becoming an authority/resource in your area of expertise
*Cons – really designed for B2B marketing, finding qualified professionals and branding of individuals or companies, limited access by the general public
There are also other social media sites such as Snapchat, Instagram and Pinterest among others. These tend to be more focused on sharing pictures and collections rather than advertising or marketing. They are also limited in the ability to use analytics, which makes tracking performance more challenging and less effective.
Important Points to Consider
Regardless of which of the SMM platforms you select, there are some essential takeaways that can turn an average campaign into a top performer. By keeping these components as the central focus of your marketing and branding efforts on these sites, you will see positive results both in terms of traffic to your website and an increasing number of followers that are potential clients and customers.
*Interact – the most important part of social media is the interactive component. Interactive means spending a lot of time listening to determine what customers and clients want and need, addressing questions in a timely fashion and having the ability to build a rapport not possible through a website or even a blog type of format. Listening and learning about your customers allows you to generate the content that will build your online reputation as a trusted resource or expert.
*Content – what you choose to post on social media sites is critical. People are looking for informative, helpful, beneficial, relevant and value-added types of content, not for sales and marketing information. Giving the customer the platform to leave feedback on your social media platform sites is also helpful as they will generate content in their comments that uses keywords and also provides trusted feedback for new potential customers to review.
*Groups and Connections – by connecting with groups, pages or communities on the various social media platforms you are creating a brand reputation. When you interact with other professionals in your area of expertise or become a resource to others in a group, it is a very powerful way to not just share your expertise and build a reputation but to also gain referrals from those who know you best.
While SMM is not likely to be your sole form of branding and marketing, it is becoming increasingly more important. Just remember you need to have a specific strategy and plan these campaigns as you would any other type of marketing and branding program.