Social media is a critical aspect of any brand’s marketing footprint. But despite its importance, many businesses misunderstand social media, especially the sites they should (or shouldn’t) use.

Just like any other business-related activity, social media marketing should be viewed with ROI in mind. After all, what’s the point of creating content and posting updates to a network none of your customers use?

Here’s a closer look at today’s social media landscape, the questions you need to ask when formulating a plan of attack, and the sites you should be considering.

The current state of social media

As Neil Patel explains: “Social media isn’t a fad or trend. It’s an enduring reality of online existence. For marketers, it’s indispensable. Social media marketing includes a myriad of potential social media sites, a vast array of ways to engage, and a medley of styles for each platform.”

For this reason, brands and businesses must figure out:

  • Which social networks to join
  • The messages they want to convey to customers
  • How often they should post updates
  • Who will manage each account
  • How much to spend on paid-for promotion
  • How social media will integrate with other marketing channels

With so much consider, it makes sense to formulate a strategy based on the following questions:

  • Where is my audience? – First and foremost, you need to identify the social media networks where your audience spends their time. And remember, followers don’t mean customers, as a 2019 report claimed that upwards of 50% of Facebook’s accounts were fake.
  • Where is my audience active? – The big hitters of social media, Facebook and Twitter, comprise billions of accounts. However, both have a relatively low number of active members, and these are the accounts that matter most when it comes to marketing.
  • Where is my audience searching? – Along with communicating, another reason why people use social media is for searching. With millions of queries taking place every day, there’s ample opportunities to appear in social media search results.
  • What niche social media sites should I use? – There’s every chance that you’re missing out on valuable leads because you’re not part of niche social media sites, which are typically created by subject matter experts or aficionados.

Social Media Sites – The Big Three

Facebook

With over 2.7 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the largest social network out there. In years gone by, users would post updates and browse photos. But now, they’re connected to dozens of pages, groups and events, which is where you should be capitalising.

Twitter

Twitter has more than 330 million Twitter monthly active users, and 100 million of those are active at least once a day. Even though Twitter tends to generate less leads than Facebook, it is extremely influential as a search engine, news source and customer service portal.

LinkedIn

Every second, two new people join LinkedIn, and it remains the go-to network for working professionals. For this reason, it is the number one social media site for B2B marketing. Even so, LinkedIn can be hugely beneficial for B2C marketers as well.

Social Media Sites – Secondary and Niche Options

Instagram

Instagram is typically where social media influencers promote their personal brands. But due to its visual and visceral appeal, Instagram is a great place for businesses to build a following that keeps your audience coming back for more.

YouTube

YouTube is not just a platform for streaming videos; it’s also the second largest search engine in the world. Even if your brand doesn’t lend itself to video, you can’t still make a success of this type of content through testimonials, Q+As and product promos.

Reddit

The so-called ‘front page of the internet’ has long been touted as a platform with huge marketing potential. However, you need to do it in the right way, such as creating engagement on subreddits and communities packed with people in your niche.

Subject-specific sites

Although niche social media sites do not have millions of followers or fans, they do contain highly targeted audiences, which could be more worthy of your time and attention. Examples include:

  • Untappd – Beer lovers
  • Behance – Creative professionals
  • GoodReads – Bookworms

Social media marketing – what you need to do

Social media marketing can get overwhelming if you’re active on every single site. The key is to choose your network wisely for maximum ROI:

  • Must: Facebook, Twitter AND LinkedIN
  • Should: Instagram and YouTube
  • Could: Reddit or a similar sized site

Possibly: One niche site relating to your industry or organisation