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Social Media For Business: How To Grow Your Brand Using Social Channels

In this post, you will learn the crucial role social media plays in the success of your business.

With so many social networking sites out there, it’s essential to understand that not all will help your business grow.

Therefore, by reading this article, you will understand how some social channels operate and how you can leverage their features to your advantage.

What is social media for business?

It’s impossible to find people nowadays who aren’t on social media.

Over 3.8 billion people have at least an active account among the different social platforms. That’s more than the entire world population in 1971!

digital around the world in 2020

But as the population keeps growing, the world somehow keeps getting smaller, and it’s all thanks to social media.

It’s the best way to stay connected with people wherever they may be and keep in touch with what’s happening in the world.

Businesses share the same objective when using social media: spread their message and engage with their audience.

Of course, to reach your desired results from this channel, you need to learn the right ways on how to use it. You will find out later that specific social platforms work best for brands catering to a particular audience.

Why is social media good for business?

Compared to other forms of advertising, social media is an interconnected web of users from all over the world. By leveraging a single platform with your marketing message, you can reach people and generate sales across the globe.

These reasons are why everybody, from your brick-and-mortar shops to enterprise agencies, are on social media.

Surprisingly enough, what makes social media a desirable asset in your marketing strategy is not just because of the volume of potential users you can reach.

Below are far more important benefits that social media brings to your business:

Tap into social media advertising

Imagine the traditional marketing materials like posters and billboards that you see in passing. The goal of these materials is to advertise your business and make an impression on your target audience.

However, there are other factors that you need to consider to ensure the success of your ads.

For example, does your target audience visit the location where you displayed your posters?

More importantly, which among your ads turned them into actual customers?

Assuming that you featured your ads in multiple locations, pinpointing which exact ad generated the most revenue is next to impossible.

Thankfully, you won’t have this problem with social media advertising.

For one, you can start promoting your business on social media at zero costs.

Sure, you will have to build an audience first to engage with before your ROI starts materialising.

But the point is you can do all this without spending money. You don’t have to strike a deal with media outlets to get your social media campaign rolling.

Another benefit of social media is the ability to monitor your performance.

You can use analytics tools to identify which platforms are generating the most engagement with your audience.

At the same time, if your campaign is performing beyond expectations, you can diagnose the issues and make the necessary tweaks to improve it.

Generate highly targeted traffic

Now, if you want to expedite the results, you can use paid ads. This works similar to traditional advertising where you pay to use the platform’s advertiser program and ensure that more people who aren’t even your followers yet will see your ads.

However, the beauty of social media ads is you can choose the demographics of people who will see your ads.

Whenever people sign up for a social media account, the platform asks them for their age, interests, job, and other demographics that help them identify who they are in their profiles.

At the same time, the platform uses this information to help advertisers determine people who will see their ads. As an advertiser, you can choose which gender, age bracket, job descriptions, and others would benefit the most out of your ads.

More importantly, you can use this data to help you come up with ad campaigns unique to specific demographics.

For instance, having a grooming product for men doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t show your ads to women. You can create a campaign that promotes the product to women as a perfect gift for their partners or husbands.

Doing this allows you to show your ads to people with the highest likelihood of clicking on the ad.

This is in stark contrast with traditional ads where you have no control who sees your marketing materials.

Build a loyal following

Building a community is crucial to the success of a business. Your supporters are the backbone of your company. Without them, your business wouldn’t be where it is now.

That’s why you must find a way to organise them using social media. Using your platform of choice, you can share your content and refer traffic to your site, ask questions to generate buzz and engagement, and build relationships with your most active followers.

Part of building loyal followers of your brand involves keeping your customers happy and satisfied with your product or service as much as possible.

There may come a time when customers have complaints and criticisms about your business on social media. Handling negative reviews can be tricky, especially if customers come in hard.

But as a brand, you have the responsibility of solving their issues with your business. Because what you will say next to customers determines how people will perceive your brand moving forward.

However, if you approach customer support on social media with care, then expect to build even greater loyalty and respect from your audience.

What social media should I use for my business?

Social media is not an all-encompassing platform. As mentioned, different social networking sites are targeting specific audiences all over the world.

As a business, it is vital to profile these channels to help you understand better which ones to focus on instead of spreading yourself too thin on all.

Below are some of the most established and well-renowned social media sites that your brand could use:

Facebook

With under 2.4 billion active users in Q3 of 2018, Facebook remains to be the most prominent social media channel out there.

Not only does Facebook have the reach, but it also has everything you could ask from a social media channel for your business.

You can create a Facebook Page to mobilise all your audience and keep in touch with them here. On the downside, Facebook decreased the organic reach of Pages to serve users with content based on their interests on their respective News Feeds.

Still, there are other avenues on Facebook where you can promote your business. You can create topic-focused communities using Facebook Groups. This way, your brand takes a backseat and allow your audience to talk about things they are passionate about that are related to your industry,

Also, businesses can now leverage Facebook Messenger to get in touch with leads and customers faster and easier thanks to chatbots.

Youtube

While Youtube is the most popular video sharing site, it also comes behind Google as the second biggest search engine and most-visited website in the world.

Therefore, it shouldn’t come to a surprise that Youtube is the second biggest social media site, with 1.9 billion users in 2019.

Not too shabby for a platform known for cat videos and the (in)famous “Charlie Bit My Finger.”

However, Youtube is useful not only for sharing viral and fun videos. The platform gives brands the ability to create compelling visual content to their followers.

A lot of brands use Youtube to create instructional guides to viewers about their business. There is a 70% increase year after year for the creation of “how-to” videos on the platform.

For instance, below are the top search queries on Youtube related to hair:

top rising hair-related how-to searches

However, despite the popularity of Youtube among people between 18-49 years of age, only 9% of businesses are using the platform to market their brand.

Therefore, there’s an opening for your brand to take advantage of Youtube before others catch up.

Instagram

Compared to the previous platforms, Instagram is the first that captured the imaginations of today’s generations.

For starters, Instagram is very popular with the teenage demographic – 72% of teenagers in the US use Instagram.

YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are the most popular online platforms among teens

More importantly, Instagram’s user demographic is very diverse.

52% of total Instagram users are female (48% are male). Also, out of 1 billion users of the platform, 11% are from the US. It is still the country with the most users, but Brazil (70 million), India (69 million), and Indonesia (59 million) are not far behind.

So what makes Instagram very different from other platforms, at least from a business perspective?

Instagram is an excellent way for brands in the e-commerce and retail industry to introduce their products to their audience and make money off them.

11% of users look for photos of products that they can buy online.

However, instead of posting an image of your product online, it’s best to use Instagram Stories instead. It helps cut through the noise by delivering highly stylish updates straight to your followers.

A Story on Instagram works well for businesses – 62% of people who saw a product on their Stories feed became more interested in it.

Snapchat

Similar to Instagram, Snapchat is very popular among teens, which comprised 90% of their 210 million users in Q3 of 2019.

What makes the platform a hit with the teen demographic is the ability to send messages and photos that last to 24 hours only (similar to Instagram Stories). The platform also gives you the chance to display your creativity on photos using different face filters.

When marketing your brand using Snapchat, you can get the help of influencers to boost your online awareness. Four out of ten Snapchatters learn about the product from celebrity endorsers.

From a business standpoint, Snapchat quickly draws similarities with Instagram. However, if you have a brand catering to the female demographic, you’re better off promoting your brand on Snapchat first, with 61% of its total users being women.

Twitter

Despite the influx of new trends and platforms on social media, Twitter managed to remain relevant throughout the years by staying true to its roots.

What makes Twitter unique up to this day is how you can see tweet out bite-sized messages (280 characters or less) to your followers.

The ability to publish messages with a character limit helps aid conversations with other users. And with an active user base of over 135 million worldwide in 2019 (330 million total users), businesses will benefit from using the platform as a way to strike up conversations with their audience.

As one of the oldest social media sites, Twitter also has a very mature user base. 63% of its total users are between 35-65 years of age. Also, 66% of worldwide Twitter users are men.

As far as bringing in awareness to your businesses, Twitter is hanging in there as a referral channel. It generates 6% referral traffic, which is good for fifth place among other social media platforms.

Tiktok

The new kid on the block, Tiktok, also happens to be taking the world by storm.

Since its launch in 2016, the platform amassed over a whopping 500 million active users worldwide. And 41% of its total users are between 16-24 years of age.

So what makes it one of the fastest rising social media sites thus far?

As a user, you can create 15-second long videos from your mobile device. While other platforms can also do that, Tiktok allows you to customise the videos using different filters, songs, music, and even video clips.

Thus far, people create videos on Tiktok for entertainment purposes instead of promoting a lifestyle like Instagram.

However, there is potential for it to become more than just a way to have fun online. In particular, brands that clamor for a young audience should take a closer look at how to use Tiktok to their advantage.

And the fact that there are no case studies to help you determine the effectiveness of the app as a marketing tool makes it even more appealing for businesses.

For instance, a quick look at Chipotle’s Tiktok account, and you’ll see a much lighter side of the brand.

@chipotleThe internet is wild #oneyearoftiktok♬ #Me at the concert – #someonelikeyou

The Mexican restaurant chain perfectly balances whimsy and creativity, using its menu to share viral-worthy content online.

Like Chiptole, your brand can be one of the first few to generate awareness and revenue from the platform.

How do businesses use social media

There is no one way to use social media for the benefit of your business. Given the different platforms available and matching them with the demands of your audience, you’ll end up implementing a campaign that’s unique to you.

However, it’s one thing to have an idea of how to work social media into your strategy. It’s another to see how the different brands get the most out of their social media efforts to increase their visibility and generate sales.

For those starting, below are examples of top brands that use social media to significant effect.

Most of the tactics they used may be exclusive to them. But at the very least, these examples show you the different ways to get creative with your campaign.

Oreo: Newsjacking

The Super Bowl is one of the most significant annual sporting events in the US. Millions of people watch the show not only to witness the game but also to see the spectacle.

However, on Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, a blackout took place during the game, which caused a big fuzz online.

However, cutting through the noise is Oreo, by tweeting this out:

It generated lots of likes and retweets, mainly due to its timeliness and clever use of branding. The brand commented about the power outage but was able to put its product over in a tweet.

This tactic of leveraging the latest news and trends in the industry is called newsjacking. By riding the wave of a news story’s popularity (in this case, the Super Bowl power outage), you can get more eyeballs to your brand, which is precisely what Oreo did.

Of course, newsjacking can go awry. For instance, newsjacking stories about tragedies and natural disasters won’t end well for anyone.

AT&T learned this the hard way with its ill-advised tweet about 9/11.

at&t 9/11 tweet

In general, any attempt to piggy-back on tragedies will leave a bad taste on people’s mouths about your brand.

Airbnb: User-generated content

Why come up with your content if you can get users to do it for you?

Airbnb answered this question by showcasing photos taken by their users during their trip or stay they booked using the app.

This tactic, known as user-generated content (UGC) allows businesses to hit two birds with one stone.

As mentioned, businesses don’t need to create content from scratch. UGC provides businesses with text, images, and videos that they can simply upload share on social media.

Since Airbnb helps connect people with the right accommodations for them, it only fits that they feature photos from users on their Instagram account to show the places others can go.

As a result, and the most essential reason to employ UGC in your strategy is that you build trust with your audience.

People seek authenticity. Most brands will tell them to buy from them because it’s the best.

Of course, they will say this to generate more sales for their business. But it doesn’t mean that it’s true.

Instead, people seek out user recommendations to help them make informed decisions about products and services.

This is what 79% of consumers are doing.

They lean on what their peers think about a brand because their opinions are coming from an authentic place. It’s not to help a brand make a sale. Instead, it’s them shooting from the hip and telling others what they feel.

And through UGC, Airbnb gives its followers a glimpse of the experience of being in those locations.

By selling people to the idea that other people who booked using the app are happy with the place, it’s safe to assume that more people will do the same.

Gillette: Taking a stand

Gillette is famous for the slogan, “The best that men can get.”

However, those words ring hollow nowadays, especially since the #MeToo Movement came to light.

The purpose of the movement is to shed light on sexual harassment issues that are often swept under the rug and ignored by society.

Most of these issues spring from the enablement of toxic masculinity in history. By allowing “boys to be boys,” people perpetuate this behaviour until it’s too late.

As a personal care product brand for men, Gillette used its influence to shed some light on the situation by launching #TheBestMenCanBe campaign.

It started with a heartfelt video shared on Youtube, asking men to do better by taking a stand and putting a stop on the idea of toxic masculinity.

The video sent a compelling message that transcends what the brand does. It’s a beautiful way for businesses to use their position of power to try and usher change or make a statement at the very least.

Within 24 hours after publishing the video, around 1.5 million Twitter users heard the statement and followed Gillette.

Users also tweeted #TheBestMenCanBe more than 180,000 times during this period.

Of course, brands may have an aversion towards making political statements of this nature on social media. According to a study, 64% of people will support or boycott a brand based on their political beliefs.

However, what Gillette did is share who they are as a brand. Whether you like it or not, at the very least, you have to admire it for that.

Conclusion

Developing the right social media strategy for your business boils down to a couple of things: knowing what your brand is about, who your target audience is, and which social platform your audience uses the most.

Having this information lets you determine how to leverage this marketing channel properly.

Only then would the statistics and examples above make the most sense. Ultimately, they should help you come up with unique ways to present your brand.

Finally, make sure to track your progress regularly by checking KPIs like engagement and revenue. From here, find ways to improve your campaigns and maximize the results.

 

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Craig Campbell

I am a Glasgow based SEO expert who has been doing SEO for 18 years.

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