It's been roughly two decades since social media networks came into existence, and since that time, they've completely changed how people around the world communicate, do business and approach their daily routine.
For Millennials and Gen X'ers, it all began in 2003, when Myspace first launched. Having one's own page—which was more of a personal blog than anything—was the best way to express oneself digitally. But the most important part of Myspace's value proposition centered around connecting users around the world in the form of comments and direct messages.
And it's interesting, because when users first began to flock to social media, the networks were viewed as a medium to connect people around the world. But now many see social media as a disconnect. They feel it has fractured the manner in which we communicate, favoring these digital platforms over face-to-face interaction.
But the blame shouldn't be placed on Myspace, or Facebook, which launched the following year (as "TheFacebook."). There were some predecessors as well that enabled digital communication from a social perspective, although they don't fit the traditional social media mold as we know it today. AOL Instant Messenger (like in the screenshot below), ICQ and Yahoo! Messenger all had an effect on the world as we know it. But none of them should get the majority of the blame for social disconnect.
Fast-forward to today, with social media channels being the predominant way users communicate globally. Not only that, it's also the most common touchpoint for businesses and brand managers to reach their customers, both for business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C). And that's exactly what we're going to focus on in this post.
There are a number of different social media sites in existence today, each of which harbors different demographics of users. As such, businesses and brand managers must employ different approaches on each individual platform to reach their audience. We've highlighted the key comparisons between each network, so you can do exactly that.
Great for brand awareness, and also informative and educational. The beauty of Twitter is that it's versatile, leverageable for both B2B and B2C purposes. It's effective for advertising in the form of written messages, but falls short in creative, which is why it's not popular in the E-Commerce vertical.
This social media giant excels at reaching users at the middle and bottom of the funnel. It's the gold standard for advertising, in terms of engagement and impressions, which is why software as a service (SAAS) and E-Commerce companies tend to spend a lot of time here. Unfortunately, it can carry high costs for conversions, and there are also issues with ads being rejected.
It's still fairly new, having launched in 2010. But it's good for top of funnel targeting, resulting in general brand awareness, and to get one's products seen. A low cost for advertising entices some brands, but there isn't much benefit for established businesses, if looking to drive conversions.
There may be less daily visitors on LinkedIn, but it continues to grow in popularity, as it offers great value, and very high engagement. It's viewed as professional and trustworthy, and there are opportunities to opt into email lists, webinars and more. Users also tend to know what they want.
TikTok is where brands have been flocking to, because of high engagement, and lower costs to advertise. Given that it's comprised entirely of video content, it features a high level of creativity, and ingenuity. This allows your brand to stand out and possibly become top of mind for users, due to a high level of engagement.
Like TikTok, it's extremely popular for brands and businesses, for both audience building and advertising. Gen Z has a strong presence on this platform, due to the simplicity it offers, in terms of messaging. And the video content is also well received by the younger generation. The advertising costs aren't cheap, but are fair, given the high level of engagement. Product-based marketing strategies tend to do well here.
Not really a social channel by definition, but is still great for brand awareness. Podcast advertising continues to increase, and it does have social components to it that cross-shares into social platforms. CPMs are currently low, so it can deliver a solid return on investment (ROI) if you're looking to get your brand mentioned.
Identify your ideal customer. Use that "avatar" to dictate which social media sites are best to allocate your resources, both from a time and financial perspective. Time is finite, and budgets for small businesses and brands in their incubation phase can be thin.
As such, we advocate starting with only one—maybe two— social media platforms to reach users. It won't take long for you to identify if your efforts are giving you a positive return, in terms of engagement and conversions. If they are, then, by all means, continue to build your audience there. If not, it's probably best to move on to another platform.
It's a long, complicated process to identify which sites are best for your brand, and it really depends on your niche and ideal customer, first and foremost. So start there, and make sure you continue to employ different strategies along the way.
Split testing tactics, strategies, approaches and even your profile information will allow you to identify what works best, and once you find that secret formula, the road to social media success gets a lot easier.
Lastly, make sure to optimize website performance. That should be a priority if you're funneling users to a landing page or homepage in search of conversions. Make sure you're delivering a frictionless, enjoyable experience for users.
Just remember that no brand should overlook social media, and while it can take time and energy to identify the right sites to leverage, it's well worth it in the long run.