Social networks marketing is nowadays a must in the online strategy. It’s allow you to target a specific audience and interact with customers or prospects very easily. With a good strategy, it is not uncommon to see a significant increase in awareness and sales.
If you want to know more about the strategy to be implemented on social networks, then this article (in the form of a guide) outlines the priorities, advice, and actions to be taken. In order to successfully develop the presence of your brand and your products on social networks.
Social networks are web applications or platforms that allow users to create a profile. Users can share and publish content in the form of photos, videos, and texts to their followers.
Users of these sites can comment on, like and share the content they find interesting. Many platforms are very popular today, with as many as 4.5 billion social network users by 2022.
The most popular social networks
The most popular social networks are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat. However, other platforms also exist for predefined groups.
LinkedIn, for example, which has no less than 630 million users, is a social network widely used in the professional field, especially by companies.
Reddit is a social network specifically created to promote stories on defined topics such as new technologies, politics, or music.
One might think that the first social network was one of the most popular networks of today. However, the creation of social networks is quite different
The very first social network appeared in 1997 and was called SixDegrees.com.
Myspace, which was created in 2003, was then one of the most popular social networks of the 2000s.
Beginning of Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg launched the facematch platform, which became Facebook in 2005 after buying the domain name for more than $200,000 and turning MySpace from a trendy platform into a kitschy site.
The use of social networks was rapidly democratized.
The same year saw the arrival of large portals such as LinkedIn, YouTube or the famous WordPress platform which offers the possibility of creating blogs and websites.
In 2007, Twitter, which limits tweets to 140 characters, popularized the hashtag (#) and made it possible to bring together ordinary citizens with political organizers.
Instagram is a must for photo sharing
Instagram, which was created in 2010, now has over 100 million photos and videos posted every day. In addition, the number of videos published on this social network is multiplied by four each year. It is also where the popularity of influencers began.
In 2012, Facebook celebrated one billion users. It was also a pivotal year for Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion.
Social networks with millions of active users
Since October 2020, Facebook is now Meta. The main reason for the company’s name change is the Metaverses, which is a new virtual reality technology. The creator of Facebook wants to invest a lot of resources in this ambitious project, which is described by some as the “future of the internet”.
The Meta company includes the Instagram company, but also WhatsApp and Oculus VR since 2014. The social network Facebook alone has 2.9 billion monthly active users worldwide (4.2 million active users in Switzerland in 2018)
The pioneer of the new social networks
Originally, Facebook was mainly used to share content within a family circle or with close friends.
With all age groups represented, the platform is now recognized as a quality showcase for brands and companies looking for visibility to promote their services or products.
Instagram has been a huge success in recent years. The company has no less than 1.4 billion users worldwide, and almost 500 million accounts are active every day.
Instagram’s users spend an average of 53 minutes a day on the platform, mainly via the dedicated application.
The meeting place for brands and influencers
It is also one of the most popular social networks for marketers and influencers, with 82% having integrated it into their digital communication strategy.
YouTube is a video platform with 2 billion monthly users worldwide. The platform was acquired by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion.
Since the pandemic (COVID-19), YouTube has experienced an unprecedented boom. The number of channels that now generate a six-figure monthly income has increased by 40%.
Furthermore, thanks to YouTube, by 2021, brands have increased their awareness by an average of 14%.
The leader in video sharing
In other words, in a digital marketing strategy, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube should be considered as a priority, especially because of the visibility and reach that these platforms offer to a brand.
Eventually, depending on the brand’s sector of activity and the users to be targeted, TikTok and/or Snapchat could also be integrated into the strategy. These are two platforms that have been very successful since 2021.
In my social networking guide, TikTok is one of the fastest growing networks in terms of audience. Created by a Chinese company (ByteDance) in 2016, the name TikTok was given to the European version, initially called Douyi in China.
The rising value
Aimed at a rather young audience such as millennials or Generation Z, TikTok has experienced some setbacks, especially in the US when Donald Trump wanted to ban the Chinese application. However, the American federal court rejected the request. A controversy also arose in India in relation to the Chinese government. The use of the application is now banned there since 2021.
The application now has more than one billion monthly users worldwide. By 2021, it has reached 3 billion downloads.
According to the company, TikTok’s mission is “to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge and important moments in life through your phone. TikTok empowers everyone to be a creator and encourages every user to share their passions through their videos.”
Created by Stanford students in 2011, Snapchat’s principle is to give its users the possibility to receive and share photos and videos that disappear after ten seconds.
According to a study conducted by Reggie Brown (its creator), some users regretted sending a photo that they could not then delete.
The teenager’s Messenger
He decided to make up for this shortcoming and create a “picaboo” application (the first name given to SnapChat) with two partners, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy. In a very short time, the application aroused real interest from well-known companies such as Google, Facebook, etc.
Today, Snapchat has no less than 293 million daily active users (500 million monthly active users) and has generated 2.5 billion dollars in 2020. The users are rather young, 82% of them have an average age of 18-24 years.
Snapchat is therefore a social network of choice for a brand that wants to communicate with an audience under 33 years old.
Founded in 2003, LinkedIn is the leading social network for developing professional relationships and B2B (Business to Business) activities, also known as social networking. The business model of the LinkedIn social network was based on the exchange of information between Employers and jobseekers. It was acquired by Microsoft in 2016.
With almost two million publications per day, the frequency of use of the platform exceeds 40% of members who access it daily via the application.
Whether employees, business managers or entrepreneurs, every profession is represented. LinkedIn has 810 million members worldwide and more than 2.6 million users in Switzerland, which represents half of the active population.
LinkedIn is a reference for companies
The platform is mainly used to share and consult content directly related to the sector of activity of its users and companies.
Thus, like social networks such as Facebook or Twitter, there are very few familiar posts (chat photos or even) on LinkedIn.
Also, 58 million companies including 2 million SMEs are registered on LinkedIn.
81% of B2B marketers use the platform for advertising.
A must for companies or entrepreneurs who are looking for new partners or want to promote their brands and activities to other companies.
Today, for a brand, social networks are primarily used to disseminate information about its activity or its products. Thus, the launch of a new range, an important update or simply a special offer can be highlighted through social networks.
However, social networks are also, and above all, a very good way of keeping in touch with your core target audience. It is also important to distinguish between communication with purely promotional content (intended to generate sales), and content that generates engagement from subscribers.
Often, some brands use social media for purely commercial purposes and miss opportunities to create a long-term relationship with their audience.
Engagement with your audience
So, when you want to implement a strategy on social networks, it is essential to take into account the nuances of creating content (articles) according to the platforms you have chosen. You also need to set aside resources for managing and moderating your pages on each of them.
Responding to comments, interacting with your followers, updating your pages or simply publishing informative content about your brand or products are all part of the strategy. Social media management is the job of the community manager, who usually takes care of these tasks.
Publishing only a promotion or product launch will most likely not have the desired impact.
Regularity as a long-term strategy
Social networks are mainly used to increase the number of subscribers or fans on a company or brand page. This audience can then be redirected to the official website and thus increase traffic.
Also, the strength of a social network is above all the ability to share information with your group of friends, family, or people who have the same passion or interests. If the information content you publish has added value, you can increase your reputation through the sharing of your members in their circle of friends.
Selling online using social networks
Recently, social networks have also made it possible to sell products directly. This means you can generate sales and increase your turnover quite quickly. An important point about social networks is that the activity does not necessarily require a large budget. Compared to other channels that require a defined budget, publishing on social networks requires time and creativity above all.
Listening to your followers
For example, many brands have developed a very large audience simply because of their editorial line and the high value-added content they publish on a regular basis. Social media is the gateway or shortcut between your customers and your brand.
As a result, you can interact directly with your fans and your core target audience in the same way that they can interact with your brand or company.
If your strategy works, then social media has a very high added value in your digital marketing strategy.
A static official page on each social network is not an effective strategy. For networks to be a real added value, it is not enough to “be there”. You need to set up a strategy and plan your posts at specific times.
#1 The golden rule is regularity
Creating content, and posting it regularly on each network, has a much better impact than posting several times a day irregularly. As well as the choice of networks is fundamental to the success of your strategy. More than 90% of the users of one social network also have a profile on another.
Choose a limited number of social networks
You don’t need to be present on all the networks for your strategy to be effective. I recommend that you first have a presence on Facebook, as the content that can be published on this platform is quite simple to create (Post, Image, etc.). Facebook also offers a fairly large audience compared to other networks that offer younger audiences.
Communication strategy on Facebook
Once you have established your strategy on Facebook and have put in place regular posts, you can develop your strategy on Instagram, which will require a little more creativity and quality content for the photos you publish. Finally, if your resources allow it, YouTube will allow you to share videos with high added value.
Of course, some content can be “recycled” and used from one platform to another. However, building and establishing an audience takes time and planning. Posting a video on YouTube every three months will have very little impact compared to posting regular photos three times a week on Instagram.
Therefore, an optimal monthly rhythm would be a publication every three days which, in our case, is equivalent to creating 10 varied contents (Post, Images, Videos, etc.).
#2 Define clear objectives in your content strategy
Very often, the objectives sought when content is published are not really defined beforehand. Thus, many brands spend budgets that are sometimes substantial in the creation of content without defining a precise goal to achieve.
A good practice is to attach a clear objective before planning each publication:
- Informative content that will create added value
- A promotion that will increase the number of sales
- An article that will increase awareness
- A photo or video that will trigger interaction with the community
This is why, depending on the objective sought, the content of the publication can be worked on accordingly.
#3 Measure performance and optimize content
Even though all publications should be planned, the performance of different types of content can vary greatly even though they are relatively similar.
You should therefore analyse the performance of each piece of published content to understand which formats appeal most to your audience, and especially at what time of the day and week you get the best results. Whether it’s a text, video or image, the number of likes, shares and comments are important signals to take into account.
Analyse your content and articles
It is therefore crucial to analyze your content regularly and then adapt your social media strategy according to the results. I have seen through my various experiences that the most expensive videos, images, or even photos in terms of production do not necessarily have the best performance.
Test and Learn is the strategy to implement when it comes to producing content for your audience.
#4 Monitor the competition
Being present on social media also allows you to keep a constant watch on your competitors’ activities (social listening). You should definitely follow and subscribe to most of your competitors’ official pages to keep up with their news. Social networks are often used for product launches or to give additional information about a brand.
#5 Authenticity and engagement with your community
Like many people, especially when managing a brand or company’s official page, you want (or need) everything to be just right. The photos must be taken by top photographers during expensive shoots. The films must look like real Hollywood productions. And finally, any published content has to be reviewed, edited and sometimes brainstormed with a fairly large team.
Unfortunately, these are most of the time the main reasons why a digital marketing strategy on social networks does not work.
Branding vs. sales
It is important to differentiate between a branding activity, which is mainly about increasing awareness, and an activity related to community engagement. The rigour and guidelines defined by the Brand team must be meticulously respected when the aim of a campaign is to position its product or brand.
Nevertheless, authenticity must be the key word when communicating with your audience.
Therefore, negative comments should not be deleted if they are justified. A constructive response will add much more value to a community that follows you.
Focus on authenticity
High audience engagement is very often a sign of success for a brand or product. Simply put, the community around a brand is not usually looking for the perfect photo of a product they are interested in.
They will be much more interested in a post that offers exclusive content. Detailed information about the production system of the product can be a very good example. Also, posts that invite comments or feedback are very often synonymous with high subscriber engagement.
Almost 54% consult social media and networks as the first source of information about a brand before buying a product.
If the official page is static and shows very little interaction, the interest for the potential customer might be less. An official page for your brand is an important thing to have in place. This way you can communicate with your audience and people who have already bought one of your products.
For this reason, if you want to increase your reach and reach prospects who have never heard of your brand or your products, advertising on social networks is a very good solution.
In recent years, the use of social networks has become more and more popular. Whether it is entrepreneurs, companies or even influencers, social networks are being used intensively. An effective way to increase your brand image or to target a specific audience is to set up advertising campaigns on social networks. This way, you can effectively control the messages you want to promote and, above all, you can prioritise the people who will see your ad.
There is a lot of talk about personas (very popular in marketing), but you should also take into account the behaviour of a target customer or user.
Effective advertising tools
Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube now offer very effective ways of optimising your budget according to the objectives of your marketing campaigns.
- Increasing your brand awareness will result in maximum visits to your page or website.
- Generating leads for additional information about your products or services can be improved by optimizing the cost per lead
- Finally, creating online revenue through product campaigns can be measured and maximized through cost per acquisition management.
An important advantage of social media advertising is that it can be infinitely optimized. Changing the visuals, adapting the messages, etc. are optimisations that can maximize performance. Other more traditional communication channels such as print or radio do not offer the same flexibility. Hence, the growing interest of many brands to invest in online advertising, especially on social networks.
An overview of good practice
There are several ways to advertise on social networks, the type of communication and the formats used are different depending on the type of person you want to target. When you are addressing a person who does not know your brand (Prospect), visual formats are to be preferred. Thus, the prospect will discover your product range or services through emotional visuals that will generate curiosity.
Once the initial contact has been made, the prospect can be retargeted, i.e. see advertisements targeted at the features or benefits of your products/services. A mix of visuals and text can create an effective message. Finally, when the prospect has visited your website several times and has not yet made up his mind, retargeting with promotions, offers or simply the price of your products is a very good way to generate a conversion.
Of course, there are a number of strategies, whether it’s targeting the audience using demographic data (age, gender, location…) or a prospect’s interests (hobbies, passions, pages they subscribe to, posts they’ve liked…)
Recurrently tested the different strategies
Testing different combinations of targeting and ad formats is ultimately the best way to identify which advertising strategies work best.
The evolution over the last few years of the different social networks has been exponential, they are now an integral part of the digital marketing strategy. Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are the main players for the majority of internet users worldwide. However, other more specialised networks such as LinkedIn or Pinterest offer high visibility and great opportunities to target a specific audience. Setting up a clear strategy by defining precise objectives for each post is a guarantee of success. Regularity in terms of activity on social networks is essential.
Develop your presence through regular content
It is also a very good practice to develop a regular presence on each platform. Finally, advertising campaigns should be part of the medium and long term strategy. They offer a definite advantage for increasing results and brand visibility. I hope that this guide to social networks has helped you see things a little more clearly!
If you haven’t yet established your social media strategy or have any questions, especially about advertising formats, don’t hesitate to contact me.
I’ll be happy to tell you about the best formats and the audiences to focus on, thanks to my feedback on the different campaigns I’ve implemented.
I’m a digital marketing consultant with 20 years of experience in digital growth in Switzerland.
I assist small and medium-sized businesses in enhancing their online presence and generating more leads.
Based on research and data-driven approach, I create digital marketing strategies and effectively implements them.
I also train marketers in SEO, SEA (Online Advertising), and Web analytics to enhance their skills.