Social media marketing has become an integral part of any marketing strategy. Companies are often faced with the question of which channels should be used to reach the largest possible target group. Is Facebook still enough or does it make sense to use several platforms? In the following sections, the most important platforms and their most important features are presented to simplify decision-making.
Facebook is still at the top of the most used social networks. The platform is mainly used for communication between members, but also between companies and private individuals. The constant, real-time exchange between praise, criticism and experience is a challenge for community management, but can also be a great opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty.
What counts on Facebook is authenticity and relevant content. The target group can only be reached with high-quality posts and appropriate topics. A Facebook profile serves as an interface between interested parties and companies for customer care as well as customer loyalty and can thus create new input and approaches for product development.
Instagram belongs to the category of social image networks, in which the visual aspect is in the focus. The main interest is the published photos and videos, comments are rather intended as a supplement. Pictures can also be uploaded to Facebook. However, Instagram has developed a dynamic of its own, where only the image, or rather the video, is in the center of attention. Also, on this platform target groups can be reached with the help of suitable content and the right strategy. Apart from your own company profile, there are also other ways to draw attention to the business. In recent years, the model of product placement by Influencer on Instagram has proven itself. For some time now, however, there has also been the option of placing advertisements in the news feed. Meanwhile more than half of the worldwide companies use the image network.
Pinterest is also to be found in the field of image networks. Many users use Pinterest as a source of inspiration, especially in the fields of fashion, living, food or travel/tourism. The platform is a kind of virtual pinboard and is less similar to classic social networks. So although Pinterest is not so much about interaction and communication, the network is certainly a strong instrument for customer loyalty and strengthening your own brand. The principle is simple: users collect pictures and contributions from others on their own pinboards. The pinboards can be structured thematically. In addition, you can follow other users and receive their latest “pins” in the feed. Advertising possibilities exist through so-called “Promoted Pins”, which are integrated into the natural content.
The Twitter platform has its origins in the blogging scene but is nowadays also used outside the classic blog posts. Especially companies, organisations, media, celebrities and politicians like to use Twitter as a communication tool. Like Facebook, registered users can share content, which then appears on the timeline of members following the corresponding profile. Twitter is not yet fully established as a marketing channel. The biggest challenge is probably the specifications of the medium itself – because if you want to twitter, you must be brief. Users of the social media platform can spread short messages of just 280 characters maximum via their profile.
Different characters can be used to address other users directly (@) or to assign posts to specific topics (#). Tweets from companies usually arouse interest only through attached links to photos, videos or network addresses. Ideally, tweets tailored to your target group and the correct preparation of your account will bring more followers.
Within social blogging networks, the target group must first be developed. This can be achieved by posting relevant content, following like-minded users and sharing and commenting on other content: Those who appear authentically and make a name for themselves in the process can thereby secure the trust and attention of the users.
LinkedIn and Xing
Experts recommend separating private and business social media profiles. Many companies accordingly advise employees against communicating with business contacts via Facebook. LinkedIn, but also Xing, make use of this attitude and offer a targeted exchange between business partners, employees and between applicants and companies. They offer the advantages and communication possibilities of a social network, but in contrast to Facebook, they focus exclusively on serious content.
LinkedIn and Xing are divided into three pillars: Building up and dismantling your own network (also corporate network), support for further education and professional reorientation, as well as the internal news service and the transfer of knowledge by other members.
Whether one should choose XING or LinkedIn depends on the orientation and goals of the company. While small and medium-sized companies in German-speaking countries are better off with XING, LinkedIn is a clear favorite among large companies with an international focus.
The popularity of the video streaming platform YouTube is quite justified. Youtube is by far the most used channel of its kind and offers a lot of potential. Not only YouTube channels of celebrities and well-known companies sometimes have hundreds of thousands and more subscribers – thanks to innovative ideas and content, some YouTubers have even been able to turn their hobby into a profession. Accordingly, the range of influencers on the platform is extremely large.
In particular, the enormous reach that can be achieved via the Google subsidiary is a strong argument for using YouTube as a social media marketing channel. This also means enormous competition if you want to present your company or brand on YouTube. And as always, the same applies here: The quality must be right – otherwise a YouTube campaign will receive more criticism than it can achieve success through the comments and ratings of other users.
Conclusion: Determining the target group before the channel
As a company, you should only focus on the social media platforms that suit the target group. After all, what good is the greatest reach if your own target group is left out in the cold? But target-group-specific planning requires that you know your customers and know which channels they predominantly use. Because of the smaller bud, small businesses should address their customers directly or rely on published studies.