ADOTAS (First of three parts) – Businesses have begun to understand the value in social media for connecting with consumers, driving marketing campaigns, and increasing long-term revenue. However, with multiple social platforms to choose from, which platform works best for your brand?
This is the first installment in a three-part series on social networks where you’ll find an introduction and best use case for each social media network.
With over 1B active users, Facebook remains the most popular social network. A recent study, however, showed that teens and young adults are moving elsewhere, while users aged 55 and older are increasing their FB use. Depending on your brand’s target audience, Facebook may not be the most appropriate platform to engage users. That being said, if you aren’t marketing to teens or young adults, Facebook can be an ideal forum to engage your audience to showcase a company’s culture and vision. Check out this love story between a Facebook user and Applebee’s Facebook page.
Research shows that image-based, short posts fare better than long diatribes. To understand why, you must first understand the way users interact with social media: the Stream. Users scroll through a live stream, which updates them on the latest national and international news and what their friends have been doing. They don’t spend a lot of time on any one post, unless the post catches their attention. This is why images are the most effective way to create conversations around your brand: they’re quick, simple, and visually stimulating. Our brains also process images quicker than text. Here are some examples of brands on Facebook that use images to convey what their brand is, what it supports, and why the consumer should support them.
In one image, Nike is able to capture its patriotism, the Olympics, and its motto: Just Do It. When done right, images can evoke strong senses and feelings and increase the amount of engagement.
Oreo has successfully leveraged an upcoming holiday to remind users that while chocolate may be synonymous with V-Day, Oreo could substitute as an alternative. Use recent events and holidays as opportunities to springboard your brand into your consumers’ minds.
Virgin America has long been part of the gold standard for companies who do social right. A standard post to update on a special sales price includes a subtle, but subliminal message. When you take a look at the plane featured in the background, you’ll notice that the airplane is branded with Virgin America’s signature color pattern.
With roughly 170M active users, Twitter has evolved into being the premier, short-form marketing tool. Remember that study we cited above about teens and young adults leaving Facebook? Well, Twitter is one of the social networks they are migrating to.
But what about those hashtags and @ symbols? The #hashtag is used to label content. Users will then be able to locate this content based on the #hashtag. The @ symbol is used to mention other Twitter users and accounts in a tweet. This can be used to associate a tweet with a particular person or direct the tweet to a particular person.
As with Facebook, users are drawn to image-based tweets. There’s also the fact that Twitter limits tweets to 140 characters. With 140 characters or less, you’re forced to capture readers’ interest in concise, digestible content. Here are two examples of company Twitter accounts that use humor to do just that.
The candy brand uses to light, cheeky humor to capture readers, while also showcasing its funny bone. Skittles branding has long been focused on humor (think back to some of your favorite Skittles commercials), and bringing this personality into their social persona keeps the brand in sync.
Charmin uses surprisingly tasteful humor to secure its title as, what Time Magazine called, the sassiest brand on Twitter. Using interesting and memorable images to accompany their quirky posts ensures Charmin is remembered and talked about.
With 100M active users, Google+ is on the rise. Though it’s not quite the Facebook competitor it had initially set out to be, it is important to keep in mind that the makers of Google+ also run the most popular search engine in the world, own YouTube, and most recently purchased Nest and DeepMind. Just because not all users have made the switch to Google+ is not reason enough to discredit the social networking site.
A Google+ account for your business means improved SEO ranking and increasing your Google search visibility. Perhaps you won’t focus all your resources on growing a Google+ following, but signing up for an account can place you one or two places ahead of your competitors.
The +1 button also increases the chance of this visibility as the more +1’s a link has, the more attention it gets in search results. Additionally, Google+ circles create more personal relationships with consumers, even allowing businesses to have live video chat sessions with their audience through “hangouts.” Here are a two examples of Google+ brand Pages.
In keeping with the rest of its marketing strategy, the Red Bull G+ Page showcases the types of lifestyles its consumers choose rather than the product itself. If your brand is tied to a particular activity or lifestyle, sharing images that showcase the activity or lifestyle is a great way to reach the consumer.
Ford’s G+ Page features its product and how it has evolved over the years, using its illustrious history to evoke feelings of strength, loyalty, and trust.
Because social media is an essential part of successful marketing today, digital and marketing professionals must be well versed in the most popular and growing social media platforms. Effectively using social media begins with proper education on the platform, as each has the potential to be a valuable asset, not only in the success of a social media strategy but also in the success of your brand overall. Our next feature in this three-part series will delve into Pinterest, Vine, and Instagram – three of today’s most popular purely image — and video-based social network sites.