Maintaining a social media presence has become an important practice, in marketing as well as our personal lives. 91% of retail brands use two or more social media channels. It’s a great way to increase brand awareness and expand consumer insights. Being strategic about what audience(s) to target, which platform will reach them, and what kind of content to share will make your social media presence more impactful and more likely to contribute in a meaningful way to your company’s goals. To get started, decide on a target demographic and choose the social platforms that support that target. For example, research shows that Facebook isn’t as popular with millennials as Snapchat and Instagram, so if you wanted to reach that demographic, you would have better success focussing your social strategy on the newer sites.

Facebook is typically the first platform considered in most social media strategies. It has over a billion users along with useful sharing tools, like Facebook Live, to help you connect with your audience. The Facebook Live tool, in which users tune into a live video stream and leave comments or questions that are visible to everyone participating, may soon be an important way to engage your brand’s followers: Live streaming is predicted to be a major social media marketing trend in 2017. At Creative, we use our Facebook page to share pictures of projects and connect with customers and the community. We worked with Girls on the Run of Northwest Arkansas to design a medal for their annual race. We shared the picture of the medal and a short message stating there was still time to register for the race that weekend. We also use Facebook to thank people and recognize brands that we particularly enjoyed working with.

Confidence Challenge Medal | #GOTRNWA
Haven’t registered? You still can, in person, at Visit Bentonville tomorrow after 3 pm.

Posted by Girls on the Run of Northwest Arkansas on Thursday, November 10, 2016

Instagram is a community of over 600 million people who connect through sharing photos. It’s one of the most popular social media channels among millennials and teens and is constantly adding features to keep their users’ interest. The site recently introduced Boomerang, which stitches together a rapid stream of pictures and plays them forward and backward. The result is a unique animation that stands out in your audience’s feed.

@Instagram’s #Boomerang is here and we’re going to be GIFing 24/7

A post shared by Refinery29 (@refinery29) on

Instagram also recently added Stories, video, and a “save post” feature. We use our Instagram to showcase projects as well as photos with a more personal feel so that followers can get a sense of who we are as a brand and as a team. We share photos of our team at professional events but we also post pictures of our team-building events or birthday celebrations and, most importantly, we show off our office dogs. Our Instagram shows the daily, behind-the-scenes aspect of our brand so our followers have a better understanding of who we are at Creative.

LinkedIn has over 400 million registered members and it’s the go-to channel for professional connections. The site gains more than two members per second and its fastest-growing demographics are students and recent college graduates. It has over 133 million members in the US alone. It’s a great tool to connect people whether they are looking for jobs, networking opportunities, or other companies to do business with. We use it to connect with people in our industry and notify our network about job openings. LinkedIn is an area of potential growth for us, and we intend to start sharing more content with our professional network, so that we can be more engaged on the platform and add value to our network there. Forbes has a few tips on how to get the most out of your LinkedIn profile, including: make your profile visually appealing and use it to showcase things that don’t fit on your resume,strategically build your network, and stay active on the site.

Creative

See Creative’s LinkedIn Updates.

But wait, there are more social media platforms to consider! Twitter is useful for getting small bites of information out quickly and measuring consumer attitudes towards a brand. However, its growth has been stalled for some time, and its content limitations can make it difficult to engage your audience with meaningful content. We use Twitter as a “secondary” network, sharing much of the same content there as on Facebook and Instagram, simply to reach the Twitter audience in addition to our “core” platforms.

Over 150 million people use Snapchat every day. It’s very popular with the younger demographic, reaching 41% of 18-34 year olds in the US. A nationally sponsored Geofilter (artwork incorporated into the share or “Snap”) typically reaches 40%-60% of daily Snapchatters and users play with a sponsored filter for about 20 seconds on average. We’ve opted not to be on Snapchat for now, as we don’t think Creative’s target audience is there, but if your brand’s target demographic matches Snapchat’s, the platform offers a great opportunity to find an audience among a highly engaged group of users.

Any social media site will have pros and cons, but taking the time to find the platforms that match your audience and goals will benefit your brand. Using social media helps you advertise, increase awareness, communicate directly with customers, and improve brand loyalty. Focus on the networks that are best for reaching your target audience, and set goals for how often you want to post and what kind of message you want your social media to send. A simple, easily-maintained social media strategy will ensure that your brand is visible where and how it needs to be.