Social media’s growth has exploded into the business realm over the past couple of years. Big brands like Nike and Wendy’s leverage social media to grow their audience. Social media can be a useful tool to include in your marketing stack. It is reported that 88% companies use social media for marketing in USA.
Still not convinced that you should be on social media?
There are over 2.2 billion daily active users on Facebook alone.
As a business, you need to take advantage of this as it presents an opportunity to connect with your target audience where they are most likely to spend most of their time.
Moreover, 95% of online adults aged 18-34 are most likely to follow a brand via social networking. Spend time thinking about your audience and where they are most likely to connect with you.
So, why should spend so much of your valuable time on social media when you can spend it on development or any other business function?
71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
Look at it this way. You build a great product and are ready to ship it to market. Now, having a great product isn’t enough. You need to build buzz around it.
Using social media you start spreading the word about this great product. One customer buys your product.
He likes its and becomes a brand advocate of your product.
He starts talking about it to his friends, families, colleagues. He even starts posting about it on social media. Soon other people will start purchasing this product.
Now, you can sit back and watch your sales figures skyrocket.
I hope you see my point.
Now that you understand the need for social media, you need to establish which social media platform is best suited for your business.
The plethora of options can be a bit overwhelming especially if you have a lot on your plate, and choosing the wrong platform will have dire consequences.
I’m going to help you select the best social media platform that will get your marketing strategy up and running.
In this post, I’ve decided to split it into two based on the type of businesses i.e. Business to consumer and business to business.
This will help you choose the platform that drives the best result for you and your business.
So, let’s get started.
Business to consumer:
According to Investopedia, “Business to consumer (B2C) refers to the transactions conducted directly between a company and consumers who are the end-users of its products or services.”
For a B2C business model, your target audience is the people who are actually going to use the product or service. This also means that you need to specify who your target audience is and you also have to listen to a lot of public opinion.
Challenges of B2C marketing
Your customers are spoilt for choice
With B2C model, your customers will have different preferences. It’s not sufficient enough to offer online payment functionality. Now, that standard has been raised to the point where customers expect different types of online payments such as credit card, net banking, paypal and even bitcoin.
B2C is no longer just about desktops
A majority of online customers are using mobile and tablets to make purchase. This implies that having a good website is not sufficient. Your website need to be responsive across the various digital properties.
What’s more is that brands are now expected to have mobile apps that help in online transactions. This becomes a big problem for brands that have a lot of consumer products.
Brand loyalty is probably the greatest challenges faced by consumers. Clearly, B2C companies face a heavy competition. One of the only ways to overcome this is to build brand evangelists over time.
This could mean giving a lot of special bonuses and deals to long time buyers. Large corporations spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to protect their brand image in their customer’s minds.
Simultaneously getting customers from other brands to try your own products can be a major challenge. One way of overcoming this is to offer special deals and discounts for first time buyers.
Now, that you fully understand the concept of B2C marketing, let me tell you some of the best social media platforms that will drive revenue for your business.
Facebook with over 1 billion active users is an obvious choice when deciding on your brand’s social media platform. There are over 50 million business pages on Facebook. This means while Facebook should be your number one choice, it can also get quite competitive.
Given the competition that is on Facebook, it’s where a majority of your market lies. Facebook proves to be a great way for brands to reach out to audiences across the world and build brand awareness.
Most social media campaigns start with Facebook. It is the go-to platform for various brands from different industries.
So, how do you leverage Facebook to build a community of loyal customers?
Create content that’s compelling and remain consistent with your strategy. Post content that your target audience will like even if that means you have to get out of your comfort zone.
Another great strategy is to get your customers more involved within the marketing strategy by asking for video testimonials or conducting contests frequently.
Use your Facebook page as a way to keep consumers coming back for more.
Facebook also allows users to join groups. This feature can be especially useful for startups who are just looking to promote their brand in any way possible.
Apart from raising brand awareness, Facebook can also be used for advertising. Facebook ads are way cheaper than Google Adwords. They also allow you to target consumers based on certain demographics like age, gender etc or hobbies/interests like video games, movies, music etc.
Creating custom audience segments will ensure you reach the right people at the right time saving you a ton of money.
Facebook possesses a wealth of data, and as an advertiser you need to take advantage of this data to better serve your marketing needs.
If all these features weren’t enough to convince you, Facebook also offers users a way to deal with frustrated customers. You can hide inappropriate comments and respond to them directly. Facebook recently rolled out a private messaging feature allowing consumers to contact businesses directly and privately.
To sum it all up, Facebook should be used if your main motive is to create brand awareness, build a community of loyal followers, customer engagement, and online selling.
Pinterest has received mixed opinions on being a social media platform for business. Since then, it’s grown to be one of the best ways to get your brand noticed. Pinterest serves two main purposes.
It can help you gain visibility in Google search engine results pages and it can also boost your image SEO.
Just because Pinterest benefits B2C businesses, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for all industries.
So, when should you use Pinterest?
Pinterest works best if your business markets visually – if you sell art, fashion, infographics, exercise etc. A large demographic of Pinterest’s users are female, so keep this in mind when planning your marketing strategy.
Reach out to consumers by creating boards that reflect your brand’s image. Don’t forget to add a link back to your website. This should get you a ton of traffic. Since Pinterest appeals more to millennials, try to be consistent and maintain a trendy aesthetic.
Chobani is a great example of pinterest done right.
They have efficiently used this social media platform to amass over 100k followers.
They smartly created boards that their customers would most likely search. Apart from adding picture of different types of yoghurt they sell, they got creative and pinned recipes that customer could make with their yoghurt.
These yummy recipes would certainly give people a reason to try their yoghurt.
So, what are you waiting for?
Get out there, get creative and build your brand using Pinterest.
The most active Instagram users belong to a younger age group. If this falls under your target audience, then Instagram may be the best platform for your business.
Instagram has grown in popularity since it was acquired by Facebook, so it may be in your business’ best interest to cash in on this popularity.
Instagram deals with visual content. Users can post pictures or very short videos with small descriptions. As easy as it sounds, it can get vey intimidating to deal with.
You need to consistently post visually appealing content around the same theme. Pick a specific theme and stick with it whether you’re going with minimalistic look or taking a more colorful approach. Then comes the touch part – filters. You need to select the right ones that will make your photos pop.
Photos are a great way to showcase your product, but hashtags are the silent heroes that will get your brand noticed. In every post, you need to include a short description with a few trendy and relevant hashtags.
Because when people search for those hashtags, your post will be more likely to show up. They will then engage with your post gaining you more visibility.
If you don’t have a product, then you can let your customers behind-the-scenes where they can take a sneak peak into your working environment and see how your employees deal with customers.
Take a look at one of my favorite Instagram business pages – starbucks.
All their posts follow a similar caffeine related theme. They maintain throughout their profile while showing off the various types of coffees they sell.
A look inside one of their posts reveals the hashtags they use with a very small description and a few emojis. Look at the amount of engagement it has received already. Their target audience is aged between 25 and 40 an they appeal to this demographic through hip, contemporary design that maintains consistency in advertising and décor.
To sum it all up, if you own a B2C business that caters to a younger audience, then you should definitely give Instagram a try.
Snapchat is so new that not a lot of brands haven’t fully leveraged this platform, and that’s exactly why you need to get on board. Snapchat not only is a great way to build a relationship with your followers, but it is also a great opportunity to advertise. Snapchat ads are viewed by millions of people per day.
For example, Taco bell created a filer for Cinco de Mayo that looked something like this:
This turned to be huge success for Taco Bell. The filter was viewed 224 million times.
Do you know how much they paid for that filter?
They paid an estimated $750,000 for 24 hours. That is about 0.3 cents per impression.
That’s so incredible!
This also boosted Taco Bell’s sales.
This is just one of the many ways you can use snapchat for your B2C business. Snapchat continues to grow every day, so keep that in mind when you doubt Snapchat’s marketing potential.
Business to Business:
Unlike B2C, business to business is a situation where one business engages in a commercial transaction with one or more businesses.
For example, if a business outsources some of their operational tasks to another business or if a business resells goods manufactured by other businesses.
Challenges of B2B marketing
Getting leads initially
Imagine you’ve just started a company and now you plan on approaching other companies who would be interested in what you offer.
You meet with prospects and do almost anything to close the deal, but everyone seems to pull out at the last moment because you’re new to the market and lack experience.
This proves to be the biggest challenges B2B companies face. From the leads’ perspective, it’s actually understandable why they don’t want to offer you the contract when they could go with a more well-known vendor.
The only solution is to keep trying. Approach each meeting like a job interview and always try to improve your communication skills in every meeting.
Communication between the sales and marketing teams is a big challenge for B2B companies. Your sales guys are constantly running around in the heat trying to close deals, and suddenly the marketing team has just dumped a excel spreadsheet with a lot of leads.
Now, it’s up to the sales team to test the validity of the leads and move them through the sales funnel which can be overwhelming if you have a lot of leads.
Now, I hope this helps you understand B2B businesses better. Let’s get on with this article and see which social media platforms are best suited for B2B companies.
Linkedin is by far the most popular social media platform for B2B businesses.
Because Linkedin is a professional network where businesses can connect and build relationships with prospects or leads. Linkedin is also the platform where businesses can learn a lot about their leads.
Linkedin groups is a great way to reach out to other people within the same industry or niche, and there are groups for pretty much any industry or niche.
As a brand, you can join a group where your target audience is most active. Try not to be too promotional here. You need to engage in conversations, provide expert advice and answer important questions. Being a part of important discussions will make you a thought leader within your industry.
If Linkedin groups was not enough, you can write full articles on Linkedin that link back to your website getting you a ton of traffic.
Linkedin’s search engine is also quite robust. You can search for decision makers of companies you are targeting. Next, you reach out to them, and build a relationship over time. Then, you can slowly tell them about your business in context of the conversation.
Leverage your SEO by creating a Linkedin page.
Yes, that’s right! Linkedin pages are crawled by search engines. This means by having a company page on Linkedin, you are increasing your chances of being found on Google.
The most important feature that separates Linkedin from the competition is Linkedin ads. Linkedin ads allows you to target people based on their job function, industry, company etc. This means that if you’re a B2B business, you can make sure the right people from the right industry are watching your ads.
Twitter is a microblogging site that serves a professional purpose. Although you are limited 280 characters only, that shouldn’t stop you from becoming a thought leader within your industry.
Twitter also integrates well with tools like Hootsuite and TweetDeck allowing you to follow industry related hashtags. Similarly, you can search for mentions of your company. This way when someone has a problem or question, you can answer them and engage in the conversation.
Twitter is also a dual-directional platform allowing you to engage in conversations with one or more people at the same time. Twitter also allows you to create lists related to your industry allowing you to keep up with latest trends.
However, I would not recommend Twitter ads if you’re a startup. It can get quite expensive. For advertising I would recommend other cost effective platforms such as Linkedin.
All in all, Twitter is great platform if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to position your company as a thought leader.
Reddit is not known for its amazing user interface. However, this social media platform offers a way to network with communities. This is a great way to find people who have genuine interest in what you have to offer.
Reddit forums are broken into subreddits that cover a wide range of topics from plumbing to cryptocurrency. Users can post links, and engage in meaningful conversations with other users.
Let’s say you are offering services to other businesses in Atlanta. You can search for the locally dedicated subredit /r/Atlanta or any other interest within your line of business. Once you’ve identified your subreddit, you can go ahead and post whatever you want as long as it falls under the guidelines.
You can build your brand by reaching millions of users daily.
The only downside to this is that it’s not easy to gain trust and credibility within the Reddit community. Reddit users are not very fond of spammers and advertisers. Hence, spamming and advertising could result in a ban.
If you manage to get by Reddit users’ trust issues, you will realize that it is actually a nice platform to grow your business.
Now that you know what social media platform works best for your business modal, it’s time you got out there and started building buzz around your product/service. Remember, it’s all a matter of trial and error. You need to approach each social network with an open mind. What has worked for someone else may not work for you and vice versa. It all comes down to having a great product and building meaningful conversations with your audience.