2023 is the year of great digital strides as AI, Machine Learning, seismic shifts at well-established channels like Twitter and a raft of other technological developments accelerate across the globe.
From a user’s perspective, this means having to field an avalanche of new information as audiences, personas and digital touch-points close the gap even more between businesses and consumers.
From a business perspective, this means having to learn and absorb a vastly expanded data and toolset as marketers try and figure out what to use, what not to use, how and where to use it, when to use it (and when not) and so forth… that in itself is not new, but the volume of information and need to separate what’s useful and what’s not is expanding daily.
And so, more than ever it’s absolutely vital to try and understand the different types of social media and how they can benefit your business, and equally importantly what tools there are to help you manage this deluge of information going in and out.
Firstly, a quick recap…
1. Facebook: The king of social media with an ageing but the well-versed and digitally-savvy audience who don’t ‘do TikTok’…
- Huge audience reach: With over 2.7 billion active users, Facebook provides a massive audience for businesses to reach and connect with.
- Direct sales opportunity: Features like Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Shops allow businesses to sell products directly to customers.
- Versatile ad options: From sponsored posts to carousel ads, Facebook offers a wide range of ad options for businesses to effectively reach their target audience.
- Audience targeting can be extremely granular too, so you can really focus on the who, when, where aspects of digital marketing
2. Twitter: Can be a bit of a minefield, but if you keep your focus right and your approach non-confrontational, it’s a great tool to develop conversations.
- Real-time engagement: Twitter’s fast-paced microblogging platform provides businesses with the opportunity to engage with customers in real-time and share quick updates.
- Wide audience reach: With promoted tweets and trending topics, businesses can reach a wider audience and participate in relevant conversations.
- Quick updates: Twitter’s short-form format makes it easy for businesses to share bite-sized updates and keep their followers in the loop.
3. Instagram: The perfect visual showcase tool (and less ‘arts & crafts’ than Pinterest)
- Visual product showcasing: Instagram’s visually-driven platform provides businesses with the perfect opportunity to showcase their products and services.
- Personal connection with customers: Features like Instagram Stories and IGTV allow businesses to give customers a behind-the-scenes look and connect with them in a personal way.
- Direct sales opportunity: Sponsored posts and shopping features provide businesses with additional opportunities to reach customers and drive sales.
4. TikTok: The home of 1.5-billion digitally-savvy youth…yes, BILLION…
- Reach a younger audience: TikTok is particularly popular among younger audiences, making it an ideal platform for businesses looking to reach this demographic.
- Showcase products and services in a creative way: TikTok’s short video format provides businesses with a unique opportunity to showcase their products and services in a fun and creative way.
- Massive audience reach: TikTok’s popularity provides businesses with the opportunity to reach a massive audience through sponsored ads.
5. LinkedIn: Still a bit ‘early 2000s’ but such an effective tool for the B2B market.
- Professional networking: LinkedIn is a must-have for B2B businesses, providing a space for businesses to connect with other professionals, showcase their brand, and participate in relevant conversations.
- Talent acquisition: Sponsored content and job postings allow businesses to reach a specific audience and attract top talent.
- Brand showcasing: LinkedIn provides businesses with the opportunity to showcase their brand and participate in relevant conversations in a professional setting.
6. WhatsApp: for people who don’t use Discord… all 2.24-billion of them worldwide…
- Direct communication with customers: WhatsApp provides businesses with the opportunity to communicate directly with customers, offering personalised support, and building relationships.
- Increased engagement: WhatsApp’s instant messaging format allows businesses to quickly respond to customer enquiries, increasing engagement and building trust.
- Cost-effective marketing: WhatsApp is a cost-effective way for businesses to reach their target audience, as it eliminates the need for expensive traditional marketing methods.
- Versatile marketing opportunities: WhatsApp can be used for a variety of marketing activities, including promoting products and services, conducting customer surveys, and delivering promotional messages.
- Global reach: WhatsApp is used by millions of people around the world, providing businesses with a global reach and the opportunity to connect with customers from anywhere.
- Marketers can use WhatsApp to reach their target audience in a personal and direct way, providing value, building relationships, and ultimately driving sales. It is important to approach WhatsApp marketing with a clear strategy and to respect customers’ privacy by only sending messages that are relevant and useful.
7. Discord: for people who don’t use WhatsApp… and it’s no longer just for ‘gamer nerds’…
- Community building: Discord provides businesses with the opportunity to build a dedicated community of customers, fans, and followers.
- Direct communication with customers: Discord allows businesses to communicate directly with customers in real-time, offering personalised support, and building relationships.
- Increased engagement: Discord’s instant messaging format allows businesses to quickly respond to customer inquiries and participate in conversations, increasing engagement and building trust.
- Cost-effective marketing: Discord is a cost-effective way for businesses to reach their target audience, as it eliminates the need for expensive traditional marketing methods.
- Versatile marketing opportunities: Discord can be used for a variety of marketing activities, including promoting products and services, conducting customer surveys, and delivering promotional messages.
- Marketers can use Discord to build a dedicated community of customers and fans, providing value, building relationships, and ultimately driving sales. It is important to approach Discord marketing with a clear strategy and to respect the privacy of the users in the community by only sending messages that are relevant and useful.
There are, of course, a raft of alternative social media channels out there, most of them trying to dethrone the mainstream options listed above. In time they may succeed, but for now, the above channels are really what you need to select from and engage to ‘fish where the fish are’, so to speak.
What’s hot, and what’s not…
Ideally, you’ll want to spend time, effort and budget in the right places, and not all the above channels may be ideal for your purposes. And quite frankly, some are sort of in decline in popularity (mainly due to user fatigue, over-complication by the developers and rising advertising fees) whilst others are very much the ‘channels of the moment’…
To help you get a solid picture, here’s a provisional ranking of sorts to indicate whether a channel is ‘hot or not’…
Facebook – globally the audience for this pioneer of social media channels is in decline, and has also become an older, less digitally-savvy user. On the plus side, however, users tend to have more expendable income and less complicated buyer personas! 6/10 on the hot/not scale…
Twitter – like Facebook, the Elon-Musk-owned social platform has been in a bit of disarray of late, and there are definite signs of audience fatigue and intolerance. That said, there are millions of die-hard conversationalists on the platform who are going nowhere…and are therefore very much available as an audience to talk to! Like Facebook, 6/10 on the hot/not scale…
Instagram – the calmer, more sophisticated channel remains a beacon of hope for digital marketers looking to engage in creative ways with a discerning and broad audience. A comfortable 8.5/10 on the hot/not scale…
TikTok – the buzziest of buzzing channels, TikTok is by far and away the most popular and fastest-growing social media channel at the moment. The perception of it being ‘only for the young and frivolous’ is a thing of the past, as the audience expands to include a far broader segment of the digital population. 9.5/10 on the hot/not scale…
LinkedIn – still a bit of a ‘digital rolodex’ but nonetheless very mass-niche if you need to connect on B2B matters. Quite pricey for paid media, but effective for a select segment of the digital audience. 7/10 on the hot/not scale…solid, but not exciting.
WhatsApp – this ‘non-traditional’ social media channel used to be just a direct communications tool…wait, that’s the perfect social media channel! WhatsApp’s constant upgrading of features and functions is fast making this a brilliant B2B, B2C, C2C tool and more. 8/10 on the hot/not scale…
Discord – discount Discord at your peril! A quirky, discerning, selective and slightly militant user group but personas are easy to develop and identify here… 7/10 on the hot/not scale, and on the way up!
Get the Tools to Manage your Social Media!
Knowing the above information and even being able to put together a really solid social media strategy, budget and set of KPIs isn’t the same as actually doing the daily graft to get content created, scheduled, sent out etc.
Luckily there are tools that you can use to do a lot of the ‘heavy lifting’ for you – tools that not only help you schedule and post, but also aggregate results and data, produce reports and more. Let’s take a look…
Hootsuite is a comprehensive social media management platform that helps businesses streamline their social media activities, monitor their performance, and make data-driven decisions. It is an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes looking to improve their social media presence and reach their target audience.
Hootsuite helps you with:
- Social media scheduling and publishing: Hootsuite allows businesses to schedule and publish social media posts across multiple platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. This saves time and helps ensure consistent and timely posting.
- Social media monitoring: Hootsuite provides real-time monitoring of social media mentions, keywords, hashtags, and competitors, allowing businesses to quickly respond to customer inquiries, resolve issues, and track the performance of their social media presence.
- Team collaboration: Hootsuite allows multiple team members to collaborate and manage social media accounts, assign tasks, and monitor results, improving efficiency and ensuring consistent messaging.
- Analytics and reporting: Hootsuite provides in-depth analytics and reporting on social media performance, including metrics such as reach, engagement, and sentiment, allowing businesses to track their progress and make data-driven decisions.
- Integrations: Hootsuite integrates with a variety of tools, including Google Analytics, Salesforce, and Zapier, allowing businesses to streamline their workflow and improve productivity.
Like Hootsuite, Buffer offers a range of tools and dashboards to help save time and create efficiencies in the set up and management of social media marketing and content scheduling, as well as integrations with tools like Hootsuite, Zapier, Google Analytics and so forth.
Additionally, Buffer offers:
- A content library: Buffer provides a content library where businesses can store and organise their social media content, making it easier to find and reuse content.
- Collaboration: Buffer allows multiple team members to collaborate and manage social media accounts, assign tasks, and monitor results, improving efficiency and ensuring consistent messaging.
As with the above two platforms, Social Sprout is a turnkey social media management platform that helps businesses manage their social media presence, engage with their audience, and measure their results.
It shares many of the same features and functions as Hootsuite and Buffer, and additionally offers highly-useful provides social listening and monitoring capabilities, allowing businesses to track mentions, keywords, and hashtags, and quickly respond to customer inquiries and issues.
Once you’ve got your social media channels set up and active, and you’re managing them effectively using one of the above tools, it’s worth considering how this all feeds into your CRM tools such as HubSpot, Salesforce and others.
The more data you’re able to feed into your various tools, the more streamlined and optimised your campaigns will become. And with it, sales and marketing success in 2023!
Find out more about our digital marketing capability, or simply drop us a line to ask a question, we’re always happy to help!