With the advent of the Internet, social media has become part and parcel of the modern digital world. Social media websites are no longer just a way of posting funny stories or chatting with friends but an indispensable tool that leads to traffic and sales. In that respect, various-sized companies have started to implement a social media marketing strategy in their businesses to scale their audience and optimize conversion rates. Let’s dive into all things social media websites: their definition, types, and how companies can use this evolving trend.
Understanding the Concepts: What Social Media Platforms Stand For
Social networking websites are the digital arena to meet new people. It comprises the online technology and methods through which people can share information, express themselves, and discover new opportunities through the multiple connections they establish. Social media websites focus on exchanging different shapes of content (posts, videos, pictures, etc.) to bring added value to users. From a business perspective, it’s an invaluable marketing instrument that bridges the gap between customers and companies, allowing the latter to foster user-centric services thanks to the tight connection with prospective customers.
Generally, social networks identify with Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube. However, it’s just the icing on the cake. I would like to talk about the top category of social media websites; so you have an idea of what to look out for. Every class of social community influences how you interact with customers, what type of content you’ll be posting, when you need/don’t need to reply back, and so on.
Social Networking Sites
These kinds of social media are the bread and butter for modern businesses. Social networking sites are platforms where people connect kind of informally with each other to share their social interests or interest in general.
These hubs are the digital space allowing for:
- Generating and sharing different forms of content: varying from blog posts to engaging video content and infographics.
- Responding to other participants’ posts and engaging in heated discussions.
- Establishing connections with multiple participants
- Creating interests- or niche-based communities and expressing the opinions within those groups.
These websites are all about the people and encourage self-expressing. Moreover, they allow organizations to define social media ROI, resulting in better marketing strategy planning. In addition, such platforms are the perfect places for acquiring more leads by setting up advertising, establishing trustful relationships with your existing customer, and increasing brand awareness through sharing educational and entertaining content.
Image Sharing Communities
Some people process the world visually and tend to perceive the content if it’s presented with the help of images. Image-based social websites allow you to spread knowledge about your brands through eye-catching photos using branded hashtags. The best thing about image-sharing sites is that they water down traditional written content and stand for additional promoting channels. For example, if you deliver UI/UX design services, it’s important to have an account in Dribble to present the user interface of your digital products.
Video Hosting Websites
Much like image-sharing communities, video hosting platforms like YouTube influence conversions through visual content. Video platforms allow you to deliver your message in ways images and longreads can’t. However, brand promotion through video-sharing sites requires thoughtful preparations steps. It’s not sufficient to post content once a month or create videos purely for selling. Your video marketing strategy should comprise entertaining, educational, and inspiring videos to refuel viewers’ interests. As for the video formats, I would highly recommend considering short video content. Short-form videos gain momentum, letting you build anticipation around your products or services.
Imagine you decide to create an educational website, but you need a start point for idea deployment. This is where discussion forums like Reddit or Quora come into play. These platforms are specifically designed to help startups, entrepreneurs, researchers, and specialists receive expert subject matter opinions or get answers to industry-related questions. Participants can also make a statement, engaging more like-minded people in conversation. Actively participating in such discussions, you’ll be able to establish yourself as an opinion leader, thus driving more leads to your website.
Business Social Media Platforms
Business-forward social networks intend to bring diversified-industry specialists or potential clients to one place. Focused networks are the right tool to recruit talents, build B2B relationships, and expand your connections with experts in your niche.
The list of platforms described above is the “invisible elephant” in the social marketing room. There are a sheer amount of social media platforms companies and marketers can benefit from. However, the thing is, there is a lot of crossover in social media websites. For example, Instagram implies image-based platforms, but it’s also a social networking hub since you interact with your customers and set up valuable connections. The following section outlines the opportunities of social media sites for businesses backed with statistics.
When Do You Need a Social Network?
With social media marketing, organizations get an inexpensive and effective tool to engage with half the world’s population. Such communities allow business owners to be more informed about their target users, their interests, needs, and expectations; so they can better tailor their content and inspire clients to take action. Let’s see in what cases businesses require the power of the social network.
You want to increase your brand awareness
Social networks are the natural place for brand promotion since enterprises can spread their trademark across multiple communities and come up with a unified voice of business. However, it’s not enough to register a company page and wait for clients to come. You need to humanize customer experience and build a consistent online presence. Simply put, increasing brand awareness implies engaging with your audience. Participating in online chats, posting captivating content, including exclusive ones (e.g., case studies, latest awards, new product launch, etc.), comments, live streams, shares, self-promotion, and so on.
You want to drive more traffic to your website
Relatively few experts accept the marketing power of a “social media-conversion” combination. However, social media communities are a linchpin of an increased conversion rate. Why? The conversion happens when you come into contact with the client and close the deal. And social networks turbocharge such “business-client” connections. In order to acquire more customers on your website, you can organize interesting contests, insert links to the bio description and posts, share interesting facts and news about your corporation, make announcements on new project releases, and much more. You can also directly sell your offers to followers. However, don’t try to bombard your prospective clients with promotional posts. Instead, it’s good to include educational, expertise, and entertaining content. This approach guarantees that followers won’t leave you, and upcoming ones will opt-in to your account.
You’re looking for a low-cost way to promote your business
Startups and small businesses are all about the question: “How to generate more leads with low-priced marketing efforts?” And social media platforms are cut out for this objective since it enables organic business growth. By investing some time to scrutinize your prospective users, and customizing your content and style, you can quickly expand your followers and form a loyal audience. It’s always beneficial to put an eye on leaders and take clues from social accounts that inspire you. Scrutinizing your core competitors will let you detect their strong and weak spots and, therefore, adjust your marketing tactics to be unique and distinct.
You are eager to provide a white-glove service
Let’s find out first what it means. White-glove service implies delivering a flawless customer experience and paying attention to nuances and demands. This term is widely used in the logistics and transportation industry to outline “premium delivery service.” But it also can be applied to the social networking platform industry. Why? Lead generation is referred to as the most prominent business concern, affirmed by 60% of surveyed respondents. Social media websites advance better clients’ satisfaction due to face-to-face interaction. Communicating with followers on a one-to-one basis is an excellent chance for enterprises to demonstrate their utmost care for customers, which results in a better user experience. Whether there is a need for advice or a customer has a complaint, companies will be able to appeal to clients privately.
You want to make your own partner network
Building and managing relationships lay on the basis of a human being. Partnership and networking uncover the broadest range of opportunities for business improvements. Connect with the community, and you’ll be able to access valuable resources, take market insights, and enlist more experienced market leaders’ support. And social networking sites make it possible to become a part of a massive network by facilitating entrepreneurs’ interaction.
Bear in mind that social media platforms do not guarantee a vast pool of loyal customers at once. It requires thoughtful social media marketing planning to be able effectively manage your business presence, measure success and ROI. Otherwise, you’re at risk of wasting time and investments.
Yuliya Melnik is a technical writer at Cleveroad. It is a mobile and web development company in Ukraine. She is passionate about innovative technologies that make the world a better place and loves creating content that evokes vivid emotions.