Small businesses with limited manpower and cash flow leverage social media to get maximum exposure, engagement, and returns on investment. But, with lots of options out there, what social media platform should you focus on?
To answer this question, it is important to understand the meaning of “branding”.
Branding is not simply introducing your brand to people and what it stands for. It is also about building and maintaining your brand’s presence and relationship with the right customers.
The cost of social media marketing
It is common knowledge that digital marketing efforts, particularly social media marketing can be very expensive, especially if you want to be on top of the game. You need to gain followers, subscribers, and later on, paying customers.
Branding through social media is an active outreach effort that allows you to interact with your existing and potential customers, and to gain feedback and suggestions from them. But, not because it’s expensive, it works. In some cases, paid social media advertising may not give you the results you need. Why? Well, customers are people. And people need, well, people– active, responsive and truthful people who are willing to maintain a relationship with them.
That being said, let’s proceed to the three factors that you need to consider when choosing a social media platform for branding…
Each social media platform is a community. So, when deciding what social media platform should to focus on, make sure that it is what your customers often use.
If you have limited financial resources, having a well-defined target market can be very useful in your social media marketing campaign. It helps you focus your brand message to people who have more likely to be your paying customers than other markets.
What’s wrong with offering my brand to everyone else?
Well, if you have the money and human resources to market to all channels and customers, there’s nothing wrong with it. But, if you want to reach potential customers and grow your business in an affordable and effective way, target social media marketing will do the trick.
For example, a bakeshop offering cakes for all occasions could choose to market to mothers’ ages 30-60 in New South Wales. If you want to define your social media target market even further, you could pick only those who are earning over $150,000 a year, with kids. Break it down even further, by classifying them into two target markets-those with kids 0-18 years old, and those who have or are expecting grandkids. Now that your target market is clearly defined, it will be easier for you to determine where and how you can market your brand.
Use customer demographics to figure out who needs your brand and those who are most likely to buy it. Include gender, location, income, occupation and other relevant information.
You don’t talk about cooking to busy people in the construction site unless you’re serving it to them. In the same way, there are things that you can say to your friends, but not to your co-workers. In the marketing parlance, this means your product or service should fit into people’s lifestyle. But, in order for you to get them to understand how and when they can use your brand. There are some things you need to consider. These include your target’s lifestyle, values, interests, personality, and behavior. Based on their psychographics, capitalize on the features that are most appealing to them and the social media platform that they turn to when shopping online, attending events, or getting information.
Social media platform
Understand the social media site: who uses it, at what time, and what is it best used for. If you like to market to like-minded people who love to share relevant content, use Google Plus. There are many activities that you can join and share your brand.
Use Google Plus local to connect with people in your neighborhood and hangouts to start a conversation with anyone. If you like to engage your target market in real-time and share exclusive deals with your targets, Twitter is the way to go. And of course, there’s Facebook. Share content, ideas, and freebies, gain fans and do your business itself on Facebook. You can also share your latest photos on Instagram-just be sure you get good shots that would speak well about your brand.
If you want to get fewer, but more interested viewers, you can use Reddit, Quora, and StumbleUpon. The people using them are very responsive and they love good content.
The key to social media marketing
What social media platform should you focus on? Any social media site will work if you use it as the platform where you and your target customers get to know each other and grow a relationship together.
While branding focuses on ‘leads and sales’, its primary focus is building a good reputation. You want your target market to see your brand as something credible and trustworthy.