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The availability of Social Media platforms for users to choose from has exploded to a multitude of platforms that allow users to share various parts of their lives and virtually connect in almost an instant. Social media isn’t limited to only personal use, however. In fact, the user-base of many major platforms has expanded far beyond individual users and has entered the world of business, marketing, and advertising. From small independently owned businesses to large enterprise-level corporations, one thing is for sure; when done correctly, social media marketing can take your business to new heights. Here are a few best practices for brands utilizing social media marketing.  

Choose the Right Platforms

With a variety of platforms to choose from, businesses must make informed decisions. Each network is different and can serve a different purpose for what you’re trying to accomplish. So, be sure to conduct the necessary research when finding which platforms will suit your brand’s needs the best. What is your brand trying to achieve by using social media? Are you looking for an image/media-based platform that provides a direct connection to the global masses? In this case, a high-quality image network like Instagram would likely be what you’re looking for. If your brand is less-visual and more focused on content that promotes traffic to websites or blogs, a channel like Facebook or Twitter could be the right fit. Many brands even use a combination of a few different platforms to cover all their bases.

Below are current user statistics of today’s most popular social media platforms:

  1. Facebook: 2.6 billion users, 79% ages 18-29, 75% female, 63% male                                                      
  2. Youtube: 2 billion users, 91% ages 18-29, 68% female, 78% male
  3. Instagram: 1.08 billion users, 67% ages 18-29, 43 % female, 31% male 
  4. TikTok: 800 million users, 41% ages 16-24, 44% female, 56% male
  5. LinkedIn: 700 million users, 37% ages 30-49, 24% female, 29% male
  6. Reddit: 430 million users, 64% ages 18-29, 8% female, 32% male
  7. Tumblr: 470 million users, 41% ages 18-34, 48% female, 52% male
  8. Pinterest: 360 million users, 35% ages 30-49, 42% female, 15% male
  9. Twitter: 330 million users, 38% ages 18-29, 21% female, 24% male
  10. Snapchat: 238 million users, 73% ages 18-29, 24% female, 24% male

Utilize Organic and Paid-For Engagement Strategies

Once you’ve decided which profiles would benefit your brand the most, it’s time to develop your strategy. Your social strategy is critical to your success and goes much further than activating a bunch of different profiles; as effective as this form of marketing can be, your efforts will likely go unrewarded without a solid strategy.

Organic (Unpaid) Content Strategies 

  • User-Generated Content 
  • Engagement Driven Questions
  • Humor-Driven Engagement  

Your organic strategies are marketing tactics that don’t dip into your budget and provide your best opportunity to connect with your audience and build a repertoire with new consumers. User-Generated content, for example, is wildly used amongst clothing and cosmetics companies that encourage their followers to showcase their products on their own personal pages with a mention or a shout-out to the brand, perfect for a platform like Instagram. For a network like Twitter, brands often utilize humor-driven and engagement-prompting questions to connect with their audience. SproutSocial provides a few great examples here

Paid-For Content Strategies

  • Sponsored and Promoted Advertisements 
  • Influencer Partnerships 

Paid-for strategies also have a massive impact on your audience engagement. There are a few different avenues to explore, like influencers that use their social networks for advertising different brands and products–to sponsored ads and promotional tools. Tactics like sponsored ads and influencer partnerships are a great way to continue and promote engagement with new and existing consumers.

Understand and Track Analytics 

One of the most important things to consider when utilizing social media marketing is data and analytics. Profiles like Instagram and Twitter (to mention a few) provide “business” profiles with analytical data that gives a great insight into audience demographics, usage, and regular interactions. These numbers are critical in understanding consumer behavior and the actions they take when engaging with different brands. For example, according to SproutSocial, 46% of active social media users said they had unfollowed a brand for too many promotional messages and insufficient organic content. While another 48% said, a brand’s responsiveness is one of the most important factors in promoting consumer purchases.