We know the most effective marketing strategies are those that utilize more than one channel or medium to capture an audience’s attention and stand out. So which channels are right for you and your audience? While it is true print marketing is the most trusted and influential form of advertising out there, its influence extends beyond just that one advertisement. Magazines are the No. 1 stimulus for online searches, and while those searches might just lead them to your website, maximizing your web presence with active social media channels multiplies your impact exponentially when it comes to interaction, trust and brand awareness. Embracing social media as a versatile tool for your marketing strategy and integrating it into your plan keeps you in the conversation, even after a print campaign ends.
Why Use Social Media?
The benefits of social media run the gamut from cost effectiveness, to audience targeting, engagement and tracking. Social media can be one of the most affordable ways to promote your brand online. You can always share content at no cost, but be sure it is engaging, educational or entertaining to maximize its reach. If you choose to promote your posts or run an ad, you can bid for the promoted posts, allowing you to set your own budget and stay within it. Of course, if you decide to make social media a major aspect of your campaign, the cost will depend on how you choose to implement your strategy, and whether you use an intern, employee, or a marketing agency to plan and execute your social media engagement.
These platforms also allow you to target your audiences much more specifically than traditional advertising and track who is interacting with or responding to your content. On platforms like Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn, you can easily decide what the exact purpose of your campaign is, select the post or ad you want to run, and then select the audience you want to share it with using filters for age, location, gender and interest. Now you can set your budget, place your order and begin tracking your results.
Tracking these results can be accomplished either through the platforms directly or with websites like Sprout Social or HootSuite, which allow you to integrate, manage and see results from several sites in one spot. With these analytics tools, you can see which types of content are generating the most interest, how much engagement each post is getting and who your audience is. You can then use these tools to adjust and streamline all aspects of your marketing strategy so you are reaching your audience where they are and with the kind of content they want to see.
Picking the Platform
The world of social media can seem overwhelming and hard to navigate in a marketing context, even for those well versed in using multiple platforms in their personal lives. Knowing the strengths of each platform from a business standpoint and which ones your clients are using will help you decide how much energy to focus on each.
LinkedIn: As the third most commonly used platform among business owners, LinkedIn is a wonderful place to position yourself as a leader and expert in your field. With a polished profile and expert blogs and articles, you have the opportunity to forge connections, generating leads at minimal to no cost.
Facebook: Forbes found that more than half of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 54, and that 44 percent of them check the social media site more than once a day. Facebook is a valuable platform for visibility if your audience is older, and you can easily share everything from videos to blogs to sales and offers.
Instagram: With 59 percent of users checking this site every day, it may seem like Instagram is the perfect place to be seen, especially for more visual brands. However, keep in mind both Facebook and Instagram utilize an algorithm to determine which posts will be seen most often, making it more difficult to ensure your visibility. Rather than invest a ton of energy into Instagram on its own, try integrating your account with your Facebook so you can share posts on both, maximizing exposure.
Pinterest: The majority of users on Pinterest are women, with 42 percent of women online using the site. If your product or brand is targeted at a largely female audience, especially if you can utilize eye catching photography, Pinterest is an extremely useful platform.
With the right plan and channels, you can integrate social media into your content and inbound marketing strategies to solidify your connections with your audience, along with your place in the market.