When it comes to our personal lives most of us have a love/hate relationship with social media. You get a Facebook notification and what do you do? You tap that little notification bar on your phone and 10 minutes later you wake up in reality wishing you had that precious time back. Short of deleting the apps that provide you with such sleuthy and sophisticated stalking capabilities, it is hard to avoid the social platform world.
For this same reason it is impossible to deny such highly engaging platforms as one of the most effective forms of marketing today. The 50 minutes a day average time each user spends on social channels is an astonishing number that cannot be ignored. There is no other advertising platform that allows you to segment down to your exact customer personas which gives the ad medium almost undivided attention. Because of this segmentation and the ability to follow your exact customer profile literally everywhere they go online, digital advertising as a whole generates the lowest cost per conversion of any advertising vessel in existence, with social media taking the cake.
Social media advertising spend was projected to reach nearly $36 billion globally in 2017, with the U.S. and Canada spending the most and eclipsing $12.5 billion in 2016 (eMarketer). The average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) using traditional marketing can reach as high as $57 per CPM whereas social media falls in at less than $3 per CPM. Don't get me wrong, I get that in some industries ,like ours, it is essential to participate in traditional marketing channels like digital or print trade journals, PR activities, trade shows, etc. for a number of strategic and promotional reasons. The bottom line in regards to your full marketing strategy is that it aligns with your company's vision, promise, short and long term goals, and always focuses on the pain points and personas of your customer. There can be copious (hehe I said copious) amounts of marketing and advertising channel combinations that yield average results but normally only a few perfect fits for each brand. Due to the nature of reach, speed, traceability, and less financial investment, digital should be THE priority.
I understand that for smaller brands in particular, trying to prioritize the most effective strategies for selling your products and building your brand in a way that creates the most revenue possible for your company, it is difficult to find the time to refine your online and social strategies. If you do not currently have a digital strategy in place for your brand, I implore you, make the time and start with a minimal investment.
With such a huge range of social media platforms out there, how are we to know which is the best suited and most effective when it comes to creating a stellar digital marketing strategy? Read on for an overview of the top 10 social media platforms today, how to choose the best social media site for your business, and future predictions.
The Ideal Social Fit
While many marketing execs utilize a strategic mix of social platforms, it’s not necessary. If you are just getting started in doing social the right way (strategically) it's actually more important to start in bite size chunks and learn one platform thoroughly before moving on to the next. Keep in mind all the while that each social channel serves a different audience and a different purpose. On each channel, you will need to thoroughly learn how to properly engage and message to your ideal customer personas, utilize the platform, schedule posts, and never stop studying the data.
Here are a few things to consider as you figure out which social media sites are ideal for your company or product brand: · Demographics: How old is your audience? How old is the audience of each social site you are considering? What about gender? Where do your audiences overlap? · Vertical & Category: Is there a particular platform that’s more geared towards your vertical or category within the natural supplement industry? · Content: Considering the messaging that targets your customers, what is the nature of most of your content and (how) do you expect this to change in the near future? · Product: How does your product “fit” with a given platform?
A Few Social Trends
Why are some social channels more popular than others? Let’s take a look at some up-and-coming trends that will drive the popularity of certain platforms.
Stories & Livestreams
As you're lying in bed at night scrolling through all of those posts, ever notice how more and more people are posting quickie videos on Instagram and Facebook and they only last for a day? Are you a SnapChat user or have you checked out Facebook Live? Welcome to the world of ephemeral content. Users are drawn to it because of it's authentic and intimate nature as it provides a window into a person or brand's “normal” life. It’s normally unfiltered and raw which is great for engagement and makes it a low cost investment. Instagram and Facebook stories are also examples of “micro-moments” the companies and brands can use to their advantage.
Our beloved industry has been using "influencer marketing" before it was "influencer marketing." This isn't new for the nutraceutical space but the amount of tools, services, and marketing methodologies around the topic are. Influencer marketing is especially effective for Millennials and Gen Z. The idea behind it is that they gravitate toward and start following people they “love”. You are then able to capitalize on this digital crush and advertise via product placement, mentions, and other various forms of promotion from the specific influencer. This allows for a more organic experience and people feel more connected to your brand through their favorite personalities.
There’s plenty of room for partnering with up-and-coming stars or just people you feel that your brand is connected to – just be sure to be transparent about it. The FTC recently sent a reminder to some major influencers about this in the interest of maintaining transparency.
Hangouts: Generation Z is all about hanging out – but it’s not so much about chilling in the bedroom or at the mall anymore. Today all the kids are hanging out online – at least, that’s what the group app called Houseparty would like us to think. Whether or not your product fits this angle for branding reasons, you’ll want to bear the hangouts concept in mind for your ongoing strategy in the near future.
Top 5 Sites
At over 2 billion monthly users, Facebook is showing no signs of slowing down. Innovative, newer features you may want to check out include a change in the algorithm that de-prioritizes business and encourages more interaction between friends and family. As a result of this change, Facebook ad costs also recently went up, but this still remains an extremely viable and affordable advertising option for most types of businesses.
YouTube not only has 1.5 billion monthly users but has demonstrated remarkable growth since its inception over 10 years ago. It’s the most popular website for good reason: people love video. They love making it; they love sharing it, they love watching it. There’s no sign of this platform slowing down soon, so if you’re an advertiser who hasn’t jumped on it, you should do so now.
800 million people use Instagram monthly, and there are many reasons why. On a personal or professional level, it really has it all, save for a lot of room for words or backlinking in the text and comment area. Instagram is less for chatting and more for building followers, and even though the rules and algorithms do keep changing, it remains one of the most fun and least invasive (from ads or trolls) platforms around.
Though at first, they weren’t quite sure why, 330 million people are now using Twitter every month – and it’s a great place to have a snappy conversation about anything newsworthy, especially the controversial stuff. People love it because it’s consistent and direct – and they don’t love it because it’s an open platform for trolls and abuse. It’s basic and has not changed much over the years.
300 million people a month use the popular photo-sharing platform Snapchat. People like it because it’s very private and is also great for video calling. It’s not just for Teens or Millennials, but it does have a high proportion of younger users and was originally geared towards them. First, kudos for making it this far. And second, I hope you have a better understanding of social media platforms, use, and demographics. I also hope you are inspired enough from this information to put one foot forward and make something happen with your social presence and strategy. It will be well worth the effort if done strategically, I can assure you. Break a leg!