As you may know, the number of social media platforms has skyrocketed since the success of iconic names such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. However, it may come as a surprise but as of April 2016, Smart Insights found that while Facebook placed 1st in terms of active users (1.59 billion), Twitter fell outside of the top 5 and in fact placed 9th with 320 million! So why are Twitter, Facebook and Instagram regarded as the essential marketing and brand awareness tools when lesser known platforms such as QZone placed 6th with 640 million active users?
It’s clear to see that having an active Facebook presence for your business has become a necessity. With a captive audience of what should now be well over 1.59 billion, even the most unexperienced business owner should be able to see the potential Facebook has for their entreprise. Unlike Twitter, Facebook offers a more consistent feel as post are less sporadic and content can have a lifespan of up to 5 hours before losing traction. Compare this to the average lifespan of a Tweet (18 minutes), you can imagine how easily your well crafted Tweet could be washed away in the high volume environment offered by Twitter. In fact, posting too frequently on Facebook can cause your reach to decrease if people aren’t engaging with your content.
Facebook posts also have much more versatility as Facebook is decidedly more accommodating for business use than other platforms. With Facebook introducing a number of built-in post templates that allow you to change the way your posts look depending on your goals, it’s arguably one of the most effective online marketing tools to date. For example, we work with Mick Collins, owner of Chocablock Limited, and when he first came to us we decided he needed to make a strong initial impact on Facebook to capture a large audience as quickly as possible. To do this we used one of Facebook’s built-in features, which allowed us to create a free voucher to be used in store and the ‘Chocablock Club’, only available via Facebook. This resulted in hundreds of people signing up to receive the voucher, giving Chocablock Limited a way informing customers of new deals and promotions, while also making over 4 times return on investment in their first few weeks with us! The Chocolate Lounge page now has over 2,000 likes.
Facebook also has an extremely effective algorithm which you can exploit to gain maximum reach if you know how to. One way to do this is to vary your content. In a previous statement, Facebook representatives have said they want to be able to create a personal, tailored newsfeed to each and every individual user based on the content they want to see. Therefore, if an individual consistently engages with videos and scrolls past pictures, Facebook’s algorithm will register this and ensure that person sees more videos and less pictures. This is vital for your social media marketing campaign as it means you have to keep your content varied if you want to ensure you stand a chance of appearing on the newsfeed of your target audience.
Known as a ‘mirco-blogging’ channel, Twitter is great for updating your followers and sharing anything you do or find interesting as often as you like; with the general rule of thumb being ‘the more you Tweet, the better‘. This is backed up by research carried out over at Social Quant, revealing that by Tweeting more, the increase in engagement and reach is exponential! This means if you were to double the number of Tweet’s you put out, your growth would increase by over 100%! In addition to this (going back to the lifespan of a Tweet) with an average of only 18 minutes before your Tweet is no longer relevant, a constant stream of content means you’re brand will be more visible in the noisy world of Twitter.
Twitter, like Facebook, also gives you options in the form of posting videos (limited length), pictures (max. 1500 x 1500), GIFs and links. This means you can keep your content varied and peak the interest of your target audience. However, unlike Facebook, non-varied content will not necessarily lead to a decrease in reach. Twitter’s algorithm is different and while it does allow for engagement when choosing which Tweets display, the main focus is chronological. This is again why, ‘the more you Tweet, the better‘.
The connected community atmosphere of Twitter allows people to publicly or privately talk to ‘influencers’ and followers, share audiences and even share content, giving everyone the ability to improve their reach by interacting with one another. While Facebook gives you the opportunity to share posts, Twitters ‘Retweet’ function has been a critical feature in the platforms success. Profiles can go from nothing to something if an influencer was to ‘Retweet’ their content, which is one of the reasons why Twitter is such an important social media channel.
While a phenomenal success in it’s own right, Instagram was bought by Facebook in April 2012 and has since seen huge a increase active users, surpassing Twitter by 80 million (as seen in the data above). The platform began life as a simple photo editing & sharing app, yet since it’s launch features such as the addition of video sharing, direct message, Boomerang and, more recently, the introduction of Instagram Live and Instagram Stories have meant continual growth for this ever adaptive platform. Instagram also gives the option of a business page with features such as analytics and public contact details, allowing you to easily switch between personal and business account and adverts.
Instagram, unlike our previous two platforms, is a solely visual social media channel. This means that while text captions are used, the main focus of the app is the picture/video shared by the user. As a result, some businesses such as a B2B law firm, may find Instagram to be less effective at gaining leads than Facebook or Twitter. To thrive on Instagram you need to be creative and find ways that your industry can be visual. We’ve had the pleasure of working Soccer Scholar Academy (SSA) to redesign their website and boost their social media presence. SSA provide pre-academy youth football training which may not be considered a very visual industry, however, we sent photographers to a number of training sessions and worked with SSA to amass a number of high-quality, intriguing pictures that we can then share via Instagram using #PicOfTheWeek and showcasing the weekly award winning players to boost brand awareness, while allowing parents and players to engage with the SSA community.
So, choose your social media channels wisely and remember that no two platforms are the same. Different limits, algorithms, audiences and focuses mean that a post generating hundreds of leads on Facebook, could fall flat on Twitter. DigitalDinos offer tailored services based on your industry, working with you to find the most effective lead-generating social media channels and to build audiences that want engage with your company.