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The 7 Social Platforms Marketers Need to Know About

The 7 Social Platforms Marketers Need to Know About

The best marketing makes it feel like a brand is everywhere at once. They might have a TV spot that’s constantly airing on network TV. An out-of-home campaign about their brand promise could be showing up on bus shelters across Canada. Looking for something on a search engine? There’s the brand’s

The best marketing makes it feel like a brand is everywhere at once.

They might have a TV spot that’s constantly airing on network TV. An out-of-home campaign about their brand promise could be showing up on bus shelters across Canada. Looking for something on a search engine? There’s the brand’s pay-per-click (PPC) ad, appearing right near the top of the page.

On social media, it’s a little more challenging to be quite as ubiquitous, perhaps because there are so many options to choose from.

In the early days, social media was defined by companies that either no longer exist or are largely forgotten by now. They might have offered a compelling way to share photos or written posts, but they somehow didn’t amass a large following or find a way to keep people coming back for more.

Many of today’s hottest social media services have not only survived but become stock market darlings based on their ability to generate revenue through advertising and other means. They have also unleashed a slew of solopreneurs who use it to find and convert customers.

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), social media continues to offer one of the best ways to pursue marketing based on organic reach. In other words, you can pay platforms to promote your posts, but you can also publish content that attracts your target market based purely on its quality and relevance.

This means making sure you have a good understanding of how social media algorithms work, though. There might be some features that tend to generate higher engagement than others. Some offer hashtags to make it easier for your posts to be discovered. The learning curve isn’t necessarily steep, but you have to be aware of it.

Probably the biggest initial stumbling block for many marketers is determining which platforms are critical in terms of establishing and managing a corporate account. Beyond the usual heavyweights, there are newer social channels emerging all the time.

This list gives you a rundown of the usual suspects, as well as why they may or may not be a fit.

1. Facebook

This platform is so successful that a film about its origin story was simply entitled The Social Network. It’s where we first encountered the “like” button and where some of your first connections might have been those you met in college or university.

Facebook continues to be a huge player in social media. Its demographic appeal is broad, and includes those on the older end of the spectrum who find it relatively easy to use.

You can build upon posting to your profile by hosting Facebook Live events or using its Messenger app as a customer service channel.

2. Twitter

This was the platform that taught us to be as concise and to the point as possible. Though the original character limit of 140 was doubled a few years back, it remains a platform where your feed is likely to have the biggest number of posts, or “tweets” on view at any given time.

Twitter is a favourite of startups and big companies alike, including those in B2B environments who use it to promote everything from their thought leadership content to event updates. This can help a lot with areas such as lead generation.

You can also turn to Twitter to conduct written meetups, called Twitter chats, to engage your audience, or monitor it to gauge the sentiment about your brand at any given time.

3. LinkedIn

This is where social media really got down to business. Originally conceived as a sort of resume database primarily of interest to recruiters, LinkedIn has evolved to become a hub of discussions across a wide array of professional groups.

LinkedIn definitely skews more to B2B brands. Some encourage employees to use their own personal account to share insights, ask questions and comment on other people’s posts, which can build stronger relationships.

If recruitment is part of your marketing mandate, meanwhile, LinkedIn is still a great place to help people understand why they might want to consider your firm as a worthwhile part of their career journey.

4. Pinterest

If you see it — a web page, an image, a recipe — you can pin it. That’s the premise of Pinterest, where millions of people have created a set of “boards” that showcase their inspiration and aspirations of what they one day hope to buy.

B2C companies often love using Pinterest as a marketing channel because it’s great for showcasing content that is normally aimed at retail audiences. This includes not only fashion but housewares, interior design and travel.

5. Instagram

It’s part of Facebook, but Instagram remains an entity all its own, where showing off your best photos and videos can earn you a sizable following.

Brands have begun taking advantage of “shoppable” features on Instagram such as buttons that can take visitors directly to an e-commerce area. It’s also a perfect venue to display the creative that might normally have run in a print magazine or newspaper.

Like Pinterest, Instagram tends to get more love from consumer-oriented companies, especially those in lifestyle categories or even music and art.

6. Snapchat

Most social media platforms positioned themselves as a way to preserve your favourite memories. Snapschat offered something different: a way to communicate quickly with images, but in such a way that the content disappears afterwards.

Snapchat has also been innovative in how it lets people combine words, images and video. It was the originator of the “Stories” feature that is now popular across not only Instagram but LinkedIn and Twitter (where they’re called “Fleets.”)

Lately Snapchat has also been touting its Discover network, which is often made up of short, digestible TV-like programming. Many brands and publishers have partnered with Snapchat directly on their own Discover shows.

7. TikTok

Ready to bust a move? Then you’re ready for TikTok, the social platform where trends pop up with a ferocity that rivals the dance crazes of the 1950s.

There’s more than dancing on TikTok, of course. Its short-form video format is particularly addictive because you can keep on swiping up to see an infinite number of different accounts in one sitting.

Perhaps as a result, TikTok has become known as a digital hangout for younger consumers, including Millennials and Gen Z. Think about trying TikTok for some of your lightest, most entertaining content, especially if you’re marketing fitness apparel, a restaurant or anything else that screams “fun.”

The biggest rule of social media marketing is to explore, experiment and then analyze your results — and to remember that no matter which platforms you use, you’re operating in a space where people came to enjoy themselves. Make sure you’re adding something to that experience besides your marketing messages.

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