As a social media marketing agency, we understand that our clients often have limited time and resources. That’s why it’s our job to make sure they are directing their energy and resources to the digital marketing channels that are the best fit for them and their audience…and then making sure they are making the most of those mediums. When it comes to the ever-expanding world of social media management, the choices can be especially overwhelming. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, TikTok…it feels like a new social platform for digital marketers to consider and master is emerging every day. That’s why we’ve broken down which owned channels are worth your time and which are worth skipping.
Social Media Marketing Channels: A Breakdown
Social Media Marketing Channel #1: Facebook
A classic. Facebook is the ideal platform for brands looking to share relevant articles, company blogs, or engaging video. Live video has seen particular prominence in 2020. In fact, the time Facebook users spent watching live video has quadrupled this year, with Facebook users four times more likely to watch live video than they are to watch pre-recorded video. Plus, with several shopping features—including tagged products and online shops—Facebook is ideal not only for increasing brand awareness but for generating leads. Facebook’s audience tends to skew a bit older than other platforms’. Users 65 years or older make up the fastest-growing group on the platform—40% of the demographic was on the platform in 2019, up from 26% in 2018. By comparison, Millennials and Boomers only slightly increased in usage during the same time period, while Gen-Xers actually decreased in usage.
Social Media Marketing Channel #2: Instagram
With a high emphasis on branding and visuals, Instagram is the perfect platform for brands looking to share high-quality imagery, cherry-picked UGC, and polished videos. Which isn’t to say Instagram is only home to highly produced content. Because Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, they’re a great place for content not deemed worthy of the feed. Like Facebook, Instagram has several shopping features—including tagged products and a shopping tab—making it ideal not only for increasing brand awareness, but for generating leads. However, unlike Facebook, Instagram’s audience tends to skew a bit younger. In fact, 72% of 13-17 year olds and 67% of 18-29 year olds are on the platform, compared to only 23% of 50-64 year olds and 8% of 65+ year olds.
Social Media Marketing Channel #3: Twitter
Market research, brand awareness, lead generation, customer service…Twitter has many uses to brands. Like Facebook, Twitter is the optimal platform for brands looking to share relevant articles and company blogs, but also for brands looking to interact with their valued customers directly and publicly. With the Retweet feature, Twitter allows brands to share, amplify, and respond to other users’ content more easily than perhaps any other platform. Like Instagram, Twitter’s audience tends to skew a bit younger. In fact, 44% of 13-17 year olds and 31% of 18-29 year olds are on the platform, compared to only 17% of 50-64 year olds and 7% of 65+ year olds.
Social Media Marketing Channel #4: Pinterest
Pinterest is an incredibly underrated product discovery search engine. Pinterest currently has 322 million active users worldwide. In the U.S., 89% of these active users look to Pinterest for purchasing decisions, while 49% of these active users go to Pinterest specifically to shop. That’s a ton of potential customers right at your fingertips. Pinterest users tend to skew female, with 42% of U.S. women on the site and 15% of U.S. men on the site. Perhaps most notably, 27% of those making $30k–74,999 a year use the platform and 41% of those making more than $75k use the platform. That being said, take a second to consider whether your products would resonate with Pinterest’s audience. While it’s true that DIY projects, art supplies, and hobbies are popular among women, so is clothing, footwear, and certain types of gear. Food, drink, and technology, meanwhile, tends to perform well with men.
Social Media Marketing Channel #5: LinkedIn
LinkedIn is best geared toward companies offering professional or B2B services. Share relevant articles or company blogs to show off your professional know-how or company successes. Just keep in mind, LinkedIn’s audience tends to skew toward the educated: only 9% of those with a high school education or less are on LinkedIn, compared to 26% of those with some college education and 51% of those with more than a college education. The platform’s audience also tends to skew toward those with higher income: only 10% of those making less than $30k are on LinkedIn, compared to 26% of those making $30k–74,999 and 49% of those making more than $75k.
Social Media Marketing Channel #6: TikTok
Vine’s much hipper, yet slightly controversial, younger brother. In Q1 of 2020, TikTok was downloaded 315 million times—more than any other app. Of the app’s 800 million monthly active users, 3.8% are in the U.S. A whopping 42% of the overall active monthly users are 18-24 years old while 27% are 13-17 years old, making the app the ideal vessel to reach the social-savvy Gen-Z crowd. However, before you jump headfirst into the meme-replete, challenge-filled world of TikTok, make sure you know the right social customs (or risk the kind of public humiliation you likely haven’t experienced since middle school). TikTok users can smell overtly branded content a mile away…and aren’t here for it. That being said, brands who have a knack for humor or can nail the right voice will be rewarded with a seat at the popular table.
How to Pick the Right Social Media Marketing Channel
Consider Your Content
High-quality imagery, cherry-picked UGC, engaging video, relevant articles, company blogs. What content does your brand have access to and excel at? Knowing this will help you figure out which channels are right for your brand. Are you most interested in sharing aspirational photos? Instagram or Pinterest may be your best bet. Or are you most interested in disseminating useful information? Facebook or Twitter may be the right choice instead.
Examine Your Audience
Where is your audience spending most of their time online? You may already have an idea of this from your Google Analytics. For example, if a certain channel is already sending a ton of traffic to your site, that’s a good indication that your brand should be on that particular channel. Otherwise, pay attention to your audience’s demographic data, and attempt to align it as closely as possible with your chosen channels’ demographic data.
Look at Your Competitors
Where are your competitors spending most of their time online? You know the phrase, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? Chances are if your competitor’s target audience is on a certain channel, your target audience is, too. So go get ‘em.
So now that you know which social media marketing channels are right for your brand, let’s get you started with our guide for setting up a social calendar and a social calendar template, which you can download below. If you want to learn how Darby can help your brand have a more impactful social media marketing strategy, drop us a line HERE. You can also go HERE to learn more about the successes we’ve had for our clients in both public relations and digital marketing.