Social media is now vital to establishing an online presence. As of June 2022, there were a whopping 4.59 billion social media users across all platforms. And that number is rising all the time.
People use numerous social platforms in their daily lives, giving businesses enormous opportunities to speak directly to the customers they’re hoping to target. But when it comes to social media promotion, getting it right is easier said than done.
To achieve real social media stardom, businesses need a well-thought-out, data-driven social strategy. And with so many companies now recognising the opportunities that social platforms present, competition is as fierce on social media as in the marketplace.
This guide will reveal everything you need to know to make the most of social media. We’ll explain what it is, what a loyal following can do and what you need to do to expand your reach on social platforms.
Our tips will give you plenty of advice and inspiration to help you plan your next social strategy, helping you turn your social platforms into a lead generation tool that never fails to improve brand awareness and bring in revenue.
Here’s your guide to getting it right.
What Is Social Media For Business?
Social media took the world by storm relatively recently, and interest in the world’s top social platforms hasn’t waned. With new platforms being developed and launched all the time, there’s always something new and exciting in the world of social. Users can’t get enough of it.
The average person spends 95 minutes per day consuming content on social media. Consider that a typical person will also be flitting between an average of seven social platforms, and you can see the vast opportunity social media presents.
Unlike traditional forms of advertising, social media provides the perfect channel for businesses to speak directly to the consumers they’re looking to target.
Companies can establish platforms on the sites most likely to be used by their target demographic, and they can also use targeted advertising tools to get their message seen by those most likely to make a purchase.
Businesses can use social media in all manner of creative and imaginative ways. Companies can establish a presence on any platform, generate content and build a following. The options are endless, particularly for brands with plenty of compelling content ready to share.
Benefits Of Social Media For Business
Take a look at how businesses are using social media to ramp up their marketing efforts, and the benefits of a social media presence will soon be crystal clear. Social media provides invaluable opportunities for businesses in any industry because it allows brands to connect with consumers in a meaningful, sustainable and cost-effective way.
Here are just a few key advantages of social media for business.
1. Marketing on social media helps brands build traffic
Social media is enormously powerful when it comes to growing traffic. Content shared through social media can be used to direct valuable traffic to landing pages, websites and product pages. And as a company’s following grows, so does the volume of traffic generated by each post.
2. Brands can use social media to expand their reach
Companies are now focusing on growing their social media following to expand their content’s reach. This is a great way of building reach cost-effectively, as a loyal group of customers will share content on a brand’s behalf, allowing the company to reduce advertising spending over time.
3. Social media is a brilliant lead generation tool
Lead generation is simple with social media, as long as the content a company shares is informative, engaging and exciting. Brands that focus on creating content their followers can’t resist will enjoy considerable benefits in lead generation, particularly as their follower numbers start to rise.
4. Companies can use social platforms to improve brand awareness
Brand awareness is a priority for businesses in all sectors and is becoming more difficult as competition gets fiercer. Social media is a great way to combat this, though.
All it takes is a single post that piques users’ interest and gets plenty of shares and comments, and before long, brand awareness will skyrocket. Focus on creating unmissable content to boost brand awareness without breaking the bank.
5. Social platforms help to build brand loyalty
Customer retention is another big area of focus for today’s companies. Social media can be essential in strategies designed to build loyalty and retain customers. It helps brands connect with customers and authentically interact with them.
Companies can harness the power of social media to keep customers loyal to their brand, no matter what the competition throws at them.
6. Companies can use a social presence to give their brand personality
It’s not enough to simply provide the products that customers want. If a brand stands out in today’s marketplaces, it must show customers its difference. And personality is key to this.
Marketers are now focusing on giving their company a voice and a real personality that sets it apart from the crowd. That job becomes far more accessible with social media, as companies can create content in their unique tone of voice, interact with customers and even show off their sense of humour in how they engage with other accounts online.
Best Social Media Platforms To Use
Facebook is, without a doubt, the biggest social platform in the world. While interest in the platform appears to have slowed over recent years, it remains the go-to social site for most users.
In August 2022, Facebook had an incredible 2.934 billion monthly active users. It’s used by 36.8% of the world’s population at least once a month, and in terms of marketing opportunities, it is hard to beat.
Businesses looking to build a loyal following on Facebook will need a strategy that targets this site specifically, as it works quite differently from other social media platforms. Companies can use several options, such as groups and forums, local business pages and general brand pages.
The biggest demographic on Facebook is users aged between 25-35, with a higher concentration of male users than females. While Facebook has grown in popularity amongst older demographics, those aged 65 and over remain the smallest group on Facebook, at 4.8%.
YouTube is somewhat underappreciated as a marketing platform, but it provides some incredible opportunities for brands. It has 2.6 billion active users, so there’s real potential to reach new audiences on this platform.
Companies can use YouTube to share all kinds of video content. Brands have the chance to build their channel of carefully curated content and show off what they can do to a huge audience of potential new customers.
Companies can use YouTube to share various content, but this platform focuses on video only. It’s ideal for content such as tutorials and how-to films, which provide valuable SEO opportunities as these clips are now highly likely to feature right up there at the top of ‘how to’ searches.
Brands can also advertise on YouTube. The platform provides numerous options for companies looking to get their name out there. Brands can choose where and when their ads are shown to increase their likelihood of being seen by the right demographics.
There are over a billion monthly active users on Instagram. That means that almost 13% of the global population checks their Instagram feed at least once a month.
Instagram is a brilliant platform for businesses. It’s widely used by consumers who follow their favourite brands. There are numerous options for brands on Instagram. They can post images and video content on their feeds, create reels, go live, appear on IGTV and update their stories in real-time.
Companies that partner with influencers achieve huge success through Instagram, an enormously popular platform for influencers and their followers. It can direct traffic to commerce pages, build brand awareness and get the word out about new products and promotions.
Businesses can also advertise on Instagram. While the cost of advertising on this platform is higher than on Facebook, companies benefit from a greater organic reach on Instagram.
LinkedIn is a valuable social network for professionals and provides many brand opportunities. The platform is perfect for companies looking to build a following of skilled professionals. It’s also great for companies hoping to recruit new talent and stay ahead of industry news.
While LinkedIn doesn’t usually help companies to reach huge numbers of consumers, it is a great tool for boosting brand awareness amongst peers. Companies can use LinkedIn to celebrate workplace successes, share great news about new milestones and post updates that would be of interest to their industry.
Snapchat first achieved popularity amongst teenagers, but many more demographics are now active on the social network. The largest group of active users is those aged 13-34, so many businesses could benefit from building a presence on the platform.
Companies can use Snapchat to share all kinds of content. With the addition of Snap Maps and geofilters, it can also be used to target consumers in the local community – perfect for small businesses hoping to build their brand in the local area.
Content created for Snapchat tends to focus on imagery and short video clips, so there are many opportunities for creative companies on this social site. Look at how other brands build audiences on Snapchat, and you’ll soon be inspired.
Twitter is one of the world’s best-known social platforms, and it’s now widely used by brands in a number of different sectors. It has 396.5 million users worldwide, many of whom are active on the site regularly.
Twitter differs from other platforms as it is far more time-sensitive, so if a company hopes to build an audience on Twitter, it needs to be active regularly.
Companies active on Twitter can use the platform to showcase their personality and share branded content, but that’s not all. It’s also great for customer interaction, whether sharing a great review of a new product or engaging with customers to solve queries or complaints.
Twitter is also a great source of information. It can help marketers stay in the loop about the latest developments in their industry. Companies can also use it to follow influencers and stay updated on their latest content. It’s a great way of keeping an eye on the competition too.
TikTok is a relatively new social platform compared to Twitter and Facebook. But its user numbers have exploded in recent years. Now, this is one social network that brands can’t afford to ignore.
It only took TikTok five years to reach a billion active users, and those numbers are constantly growing. It’s well known for light-hearted, entertaining content, but TikTok can be used to share all kinds of information with your target audience.
It’s all about entertainment on TikTok, so companies looking to grow an audience on this platform need to be engaging, funny and creative. Create content designed to make your audience smile, and you’ll soon be experiencing the real potential of TikTok.
Social Media Tips For Businesses
Businesses use social media in many different ways, so your chosen strategy will depend on what you’re hoping to achieve using social media. Take a look at some of our top tips for businesses getting started with social media to see how you could make the most of the enormous potential of social platforms.
Set clear goals from day one
Companies that achieve real success through social media tend to have a well-thought-out social media marketing strategy, which always starts with clear, quantitative goals. Take a step back and think about why you’re using social media. Then decide what your goals are before you start.
Consistency is key
It’s essential to be consistent on social media. So, if you use a number of different platforms, your strategy should be similar on each one. Your content should flow seamlessly between other platforms, and your brand personality and tone of voice must be consistent on all social media channels.
Focus on content creation
No companies achieve social success without great content, so this should be your next focus. Think about the types of content you’ll create, and start deciding how to connect with your audience by creating engaging content you know they’ll love. You could use anything from video and photography to quizzes, interviews and blogs.
Join the conversation
Social media is a two-way conversation. Use it to engage with customers and connect with new audiences by interacting with your target demographic as much as possible. Answer questions, celebrate successes, share relevant content and solve customers’ problems as quickly as possible.
Make use of content creation tools
Tools like Canva are your friend when it comes to content creation – so use them. Creating plenty of interesting content takes time, which is why many great tools are designed to make life easier for businesses. Explore the tools to help you improve your content and make the most of them.
Explore advertising opportunities
There are advertising opportunities on almost every social network. While they won’t always work for every brand, if you choose the platform most popular amongst your target demographic, you could find that the ROI of advertising on social media is exceptional.
Measure success using analytics
If your social media posts are being shared and your follower numbers are rising, you might think all the hard work is done. But we’d recommend you think again because there’s much more you can learn from social media. Use analytics tools to see how your content is performing, and keep an eye on your stats to learn all you can about your audience. Then, use what you’ve learnt to keep improving.
If you need to up your skills in social media marketing, check out our article The Best Social Media Marketing Courses To Up Your Game.
Best Social Media Tools To Use
Building a presence on social media takes work. A lot of work. However, some brilliant tools are designed to simplify marketers’ lives.
Here are some of our favourite social media tools to help you make the most of every social network.
Buffer enables brands to see how content is working and improve it. It can be used to publish content on a number of networks. It also provides analytics tools to track engagement. Brands can use Buffer to analyse demographics interacting with their content and tailor strategies.
Unbox Social is a powerful analytics tool which can make all the difference to your social strategy. It’s perfect for brands working with influencers, and it offers a number of different analytics options to give you all the information you need. It also allows companies to analyse social audiences and track their competition.
Designed to help companies measure the reach of their content on social media, BuzzSumo is another tool we wouldn’t be without. This social tool enables companies to monitor their competitors, compile research and analyse the performance of different types of content at the touch of a button.
With Agorapulse, you can keep all your plates spinning at once. It helps with everything from publishing to reporting and can also monitor the performance of different channels and inform social strategies. There’s even an inbox feature to help social teams manage tasks.
Marketers can use Sprout Social to manage social media tasks and projects. It’s a great tool for publishing and scheduling. Sprout Social provides all the necessary features to help teams stay consistent across all platforms. It’s also useful for analytics, refining your engagement strategies and social listening.
Hootsuite is one of the best-known and most useful social media management tools. The tool can help brands manage social campaigns, which is invaluable for business promotion. Companies can schedule content with Hootsuite and use its analytics tools to monitor performance.
Social Media Strategies
There’s so much variety on social media, from the platforms we choose to log into to the content that catches our eye. For brands, this can be problematic, as it’s difficult to see which strategies might work best to achieve the goals teams have in mind. However, a few different strategies never fail to bring in great results, from improvements in brand awareness to significant boosts in web traffic and sales.
These are some of the top social media strategies to try out:
Posting regularly to keep audiences engaged
You need to be active whether you create a profile on one social network or a hundred. Brands that set up profiles and leave them dormant risk alienating consumers, which certainly won’t help a company’s online presence.
Post regularly on all social networks. Users will soon notice this consistency, and the platforms will be more likely to feature your content highly. Use social management tools to help with this; it’ll quickly become second nature.
Getting to know your audience
Social media isn’t just about sharing content you’ve created. It’s also a brilliant way of learning about your customers. And what company wouldn’t like to know more about the customers it’s looking to connect with?
Marketing teams can use social media to obtain information about their customers, from their likes and dislikes to the pain points that have left them searching for a certain product. Social media can also be used to analyse how customers feel about different companies and what their opinions are on recent purchases.
Get to know your audience using social media. You might find some incredibly valuable information.
Establishing a brand identity
A powerful identity is a must-have for today’s brands, and many social strategies are now centred around establishing such an identity.
Just look at some of the most talked-about brands on social media, and you’ll soon see how they use their social presence to show a unique personality.
Social networks are perfect for brands hoping to create an identity and build a rapport with existing and potential customers. Users are far more likely to engage with brands they recognise, and a strong identity can make all the difference here.
Use your social networks to show some personality by creating tailored content for your social platforms that give your company an authentic, human voice.
Using social media to improve customer service
Many customers now choose to interact with brands using social media. If your company is active on social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, you may have a golden opportunity to improve your customer service using these networks.
Create a strategy aimed at improving customer service, then use it to interact with your customers quickly and efficiently whenever they ask a question or make a comment. You can solve all kinds of problems using social media, and if you deal with a complaint well, you’ll be able to turn a disgruntled customer into a loyal fan.
Focus on the inbound approach to generate leads
Social media is an enormously powerful lead generation tool. So, if lead generation is your goal, you could create a social strategy with this at its heart.
It’s easy to use social media to generate leads. All you need to do is create content your audience wants to read, watch or look at, and then wait for them to start sharing and engaging with the content you put out.
Engaging content will draw in the crowds, and ultimately the most interested customers will soon be clicking the links on your social profiles to find out more about your company. Before long, those leads will be flying in.
Improving awareness through social media
Brand awareness is vitally important in today’s digital world, so it could be worth creating a social strategy that champions this.
Use your social platforms to build brand awareness by sharing content you know your target demographics will love. You could create informative, engaging or entertaining content. The important thing is that your audience shares it. The more your audience shares, the further your reach will expand. And the greater your audience will be.
Brand awareness will soon improve if you focus on creating and sharing compelling content.
Examples Of Successful Social Media Campaigns
Several brands have taken the world of social media by storm in recent years. Companies that have made a real success of their social strategies have invariably been brilliantly funny, highly entertaining or incredibly informative. And there’s so much that we can learn from these success stories.
Here are some of recent most inspiring and successful social media campaigns.
Budget supermarket chain Aldi currently provides an absolute masterclass in social media marketing.
The company has long been known for its witty tweets and tongue-in-cheek comments, but it came into its own when news of its battle with Marks & Spencer came to light. The intellectual property case over Aldi’s caterpillar cake provided endless inspiration for Aldi’s social media team. They even used their rival’s tagline for their own devices!
Whether you’re team Colin or team Cuthbert, there’s no denying that Aldi’s social strategy was on top throughout the fight. And they won’t let M&S forget about it, regularly tweeting jokes using the hashtag #FreeCuthbert and mentioning the case on Twitter.
If you want to learn more about making your brand sound like a human being, just look at Yorkshire Tea.
This well-known tea company has brought its product to life simply by using a real, authentic tone of voice on its social channels.
Take a look at this example, where the company shares its excitement about reaching the milestone of 200,000 followers. It reads just like a message from a person because, of course, that’s exactly what it is.
Far too many brands sound almost robotic on social media, so Yorkshire Tea’s social strategy is a real breath of fresh air. Browse the company’s Twitter profile to see why the tone of voice is so important.
Boohoo.com has upped the ante for brands on Instagram. The fashion company now has over 12 million followers on the platform, showing its unique social strategy’s success.
Instagram was a perfect fit for this forward-thinking fashion brand. Its target demographic used Instagram in their droves, making it easy for the brand to get the word out about its new collections using this platform.
Boohoo.com used a social strategy centred around influencer and celebrity partnerships to expand its reach significantly. As a result, the company’s following started to skyrocket, and the reach of its posts grew enormously. Customers were then more than willing to share their purchases on Instagram, and the brand managed to keep the conversation about them.
Spotify is now almost as well known for its social media strategy as it is for its music. The company used the data it had collected on customers, giving each and every listener some great content that they could share at the touch of a button.
Customers engaged with Spotify Wrapped, sharing the content in huge numbers. As a result, the campaign appeared to dominate certain social platforms, getting everyone (customers and non-customers) to talk about the music app.
Spotify Wrapped is one example of what can happen if you have a clear social strategy with a single goal, backed up with personalised content that shows your customers how valued they are. It’s not easy to execute, but the results are compelling when done well.
Starbucks is one brand using all social networks to their full potential.
Take a look at how the coffee chain presents itself on all of its social networks, and you’ll find that while the content is consistent and created in accordance with the brand’s tone of voice, it varies slightly depending on which social network it has been designed for. That’s how Starbucks is making the most of the potential of each and every one of the social platforms it’s on.
Go to Facebook, and the company’s page is centred around the information. It’s designed to show off new products or services and tell customers everything they need to know.
The Starbucks Twitter page is built around customer interaction and significantly enhances the company’s customer service. The Instagram account is where the company shares the best images of its food and drinks, with recipes for custom orders and short clips of customers tucking in.
Starbucks shows us how to create an omnipresent social strategy to target the demographics most likely to use different social networks. There’s no denying the enormous work involved in developing and managing such a strategy, but when it works, it works.
Using social media for business
Social media is a powerful tool for businesses of all kinds. It works just as well for small businesses as it does for global corporations, as long as the strategy is right.
There’s so much to learn to make the most of social media, and there’s never been a better time to dive in and start exploring what it can do.
Build your online presence by creating profiles on your customers’ favourite social networks, then use those platforms to connect with your audience, interact with followers, share content and analyse your competition. It could take your business to the next level.