[Edit Notes: Social media marketing is getting increasingly difficult, especially for newcomers and beginners. In this post, Abhishek Dadoo takes a look at how each platform is different from the other and how it can be used to your advantage.]
If Social Media had a preamble it would say ‘for the people, by the people’, i.e. democratic distribution of ideas amongst friends, between strangers, between people with similar interests, or between an influencer and his followers. While it remains for the people (even if we were to debunk recent press about fake accounts), a large portion of the Social Media content today is generated by business marketers. Moreover, it is no longer democratic. Content distribution is largely controlled by the companies that own these Social Media channels. Hence whatever idea you may put out on Social Media, might or might not be seen by your friends, groups, or followers.
Typically, any Social Media marketing strategy has the following basic tenets:
- Get a critical mass of fans or followers
- Secure share of mind (engagement) by putting out engaging content and resolving fan queries
- Advocacy to friends by existing fans (Like, Comment, Share…)
- Securing share of wallet inside the Social Media network is aspirational at best. Referring traffic to the brand’s online portal via Social Media is an option, but that’s moving into a different domain altogether. Hence, in this feature we will not discuss conversion to sales aspects of Social Media.
As a marketer, you allocate resources for Social Media channels which generate the highest engagement metrics for the brand. A brand’s asset on various Social Media goes by different names – Facebook Page, Twitter Handle, Pintrest Board, Google+ Page, Instagram Account, YouTube Channel, etc. Then again, each piece of content published on Social Media has different terminology – It’s called Post on Facebook and Google+, Tweet on Twitter, Pin on Pintrest, Photo on Instagram, Video on YouTube, etc. The landscape gets confusing fairly quickly.
Facebook Page – Like
Post – Like, Comment, Share within Facebook network
People typically use Facebook while idling. Since brand Posts show up directly in peoples’ Facebook feed, it’s an opportune time for brand’s to engage with their fans. In theory, if someone Likes a brand Page, then he should see every Post that the brand makes. In reality however, Facebook algorithms determine the organic reach of your Posts. As such fans who continually engage with a brand have a higher likelihood of seeing that brand’s Posts.
Twitter Handle – Follow
Tweet – Favourite, Reply, Retweet within Twitter network
Twitter is used by marketers to share the pulse of the moment with their Followers. For example, a clothing brand Tweets about the real-time events taking place at a new store launch. Followers absorb the brand’s personality and it’s a great way for brands to provide recall for their Followers on a daily basis. Twitter does not control the user feeds like Facebook does. While this democratic approach to Social Media is praise worthy, it does pose an overcrowding problem for the brands. With so many Tweets crossing a user’s feed every minute, there is a likelihood that Followers might miss the brand’s Tweet on and off.
Pintrest Board – Follow
Pin – Like, Comment, Pin It within Pintrest network or Share with other Social Media networks
A picture speaks a thousand words and Pintrest is a platform for people who love pictures. Good pictures invoke aspirations; For example, “I want to look like that model” or “I would love to own that pair of shoes”. To leverage on peoples’ aspirations Brands create Boards to catalogue pictures – called Pins – which invoke a deeper connection between the brand and its Followers. For example, a shoe brand may have a Board to catalogue their 2014 spring collection and another Board to showcase models during photo-shoots. In either case, Pins assist in brand recall via the photographic memory of the Followers.
Google+ Page – Follow
Post – +1, Comment, Share within Google+ network
Google is the world’s largest search engine. Having a Google+ page allows you brand to rank higher in search queries and displays your Google+ statistics right in the search results.
Google+ is an interest based social media platform. People form Google+ Communities based on interests such as travel, food, shopping, shoes, apparels, etc. This provides brands an opportunity to share or co-create content with people having similar interests, thereby increase the brand’s organic reach on Google+ and driving genuine Followers led by quality content. “Hangouts” is a Google+ feature which allows a brand to engage Followers via a video call. It’s a great way for brands to conduct open discussions with industry experts or celebrities who endorse the brand.
Instagram Account – Follow
Photo – Like, Comment, Share only via other Social Media networks
Instagram is a Photo sharing network. People share Photos from real-time events they are part of which is very different from the catalogue based approach of Pintrest. On Instagram you post pictures taken by you thereby revealing to the word your current location, surroundings, and moods. Instagram provides brands with an opportunity to showcase the inner workings of an organization. For example, a brand might post photos from their factory floor giving its Followers a behind the screen view of their business. Another brand might post pictures from the fashion ramp at their latest photo shoot. Followers appreciate this type of content as they connect with the brand at a real world level.
YouTube Channel – Subscribe
Video – Like /Unlike, Comment, Share only via other Social Media networks
A Video is a means for subconscious communication between a customer and the brand. Creating engaging Video content is different from creating Video ads involving call to action. As the owner of a YouTube Channel, brands focus on short form Videos to engage customers at the top of the marketing funnel, while long form Videos are more appropriate to answer frequently asked questions or product profiling. In the short form, Videos involving humour and emotions work best for engaging new Subscribers on your YouTube Channel.
It is imperative to understand your brand’s Social Media objectives and cherry pick which Social Media will help you achieve those objectives. Selecting an appropriate channel is just the beginning of your Social Media journey. The heavy lifting starts when you execute your strategy to garner new fans and start visualizing engaging content for your fans.
[About the Author: Abhishek Dadoo is the Founder & CEO of Shoffr, a mobile shopping assistant to discover brands in your vicinity. At Shoffr, he is trying to solve the last-mile conversion problem for brick and mortar retailers in India.]